A try to Jy Hitchcox after the siren has given Wests Tigers an incredible 28-22 victory over the New Zealand Warriors in their Round 22 clash at Kirkham Oval.
The hosts were forced to deal with a number of player changes before the game, with Tim Moltzen withdrawn due to injury, and NYC stars Dallas Graham and John Tohi both handed their NSW Cup debuts alongside Luke Williams.
However, it was the visitors who held the early advantage with field position and possession, and they soon made that count with the first points of the match.
Carlos Tuimavave attacked the short side to send Ken Maumalo over the line in the 20th minute, with Tuimavave’s conversion pushing the score to 6-0.
The visitors would soon extend that lead to 12-0, with a stepping run from Dominique Peyroux allowing David Bhana to collect his offload and crash under the posts in the 23rd minute as Wests Tigers struggled to win any possession.
Tuimavave continued to leave his influence on the game with a try himself in the 31st minute, with Sam Cook’s conversion taking the visitors’ lead to 18-0.
However, Wests Tigers would hit back soon after to reduce the margin to 18-4, with Jarred Farlow hitting Tohi in the 33rd minute out on the right wing.
Corey Brown then nailed the sideline conversion to take the score to 18-6, which is how it would read as the two teams went into the sheds at half-time.
After an error in their opening set, Wests Tigers gifted the Warriors good field position to start the second half and they soon took full advantage of it, with Jarrod Tua dancing down the left touchline to score in the 43rd minute.
Tuimavave couldn’t add the extras and the score remained 22-4.
The hosts refused to go away, though, and soon worked their way back into the match thanks to a double from Corey Brown on the left wing — scoring tries in the 55th and 59th minute to reduce the score to 22-16.
A brilliant run from Kyle Lovett in the 70th minute saw the lead taken away from the Warriors, with the forward (who played the match in the centres) linking up with Daniel Abou-Sleiman, who raced around to score under the posts.
Brown made no mistake with the conversion and the score read 22-22.
Both teams had chances to win the game late, but it appeared a draw was on the cards until Jy Hitchcox pulled off one of the greatest plays of the season — charging the ball down after the siren and then collecting it to score next to the posts and give Wests Tigers an incredible 28-22 victory!
Final: Wests Tigers 28 def. New Zealand Warriors 22