Wests Tigers’ NYC side have produced a controlled attacking performance in wet conditions to defeat the Cronulla Sharks 30-10 in their Round 26 clash.
The win means Andrew Webster’s side will likely finish fifth or sixth at the end of the 2014 regular season, and will take plenty of momentum and confidence heading into the first round of the semifinals next weekend.
The Sharks appeared to have scored the first points of the match in the sixth minute when Jake Lawrence picked up the crumbs from a grubber — only for a challenge to overturn the decision following a knock on from Paul Simona.
However, on the back of good field position, the visitors would eventually pull in front in the ninth minute when Joshua Addo-Carr scored in the corner.
Jamayne Isaako’s unsuccessful conversion left the score at 4-0 to the Sharks.
Wests Tigers quickly hit back, though, with a sustained period of attacking pressure ending with a try to Mason Farrell in the 16th minute, who slid in from 10m out following a good short ball from Te Maire Martin.
The wiry five-eighth — who was recently named in the NYC Team of the Year — was quickly at it again moments later to put Wests Tigers in the lead, with his sharp footwork beating three on halfway, before he linked up with Farrell further down field, who crossed for his second try in the 19th minute.
Levido added the extras to give the hosts a 10-4 lead in wet conditions.
After defending their line with great energy and enthusiasm, Wests Tigers continued to pile on the points, with a great right to left move seeing Watson Heleta step inside his man and then offload to John Ogden out wide.
Levido couldn’t convert from the sideline, but he would soon make up for that as he dived over for a try himself in the 38th minute out in the right corner.
His conversion pushed the score to 20-4, which is how it would read as the two teams went into the half-time sheds at Leichhardt Oval.
Webster’s side quickly continued where they left off after half-time, with Salesi Funaki darting down the right edge and releasing John Tohi to score out wide.
Levido’s unsuccessful conversion left the score at 24-4.
Cronulla would soon hit back, though, with Isaako scooping up a loose ball following a Farrell error, and then converting his own try to reduce the margin to 24-10 with just over half an hour remaining in the match.
However, Levido quickly made sure that the hosts were back on the front foot, with his great darting run allowing Delouise Hoeter to cross in the right corner.
Levido added the extras to extend Wests Tigers’ lead to 30-10 after 58 minutes.
Both teams would trade chances in the final 20 minutes but would come undone due to a mix of gritty defence and poor handling, which would leave the score at 30-10 as the full-time siren sounded at a rain-sodden Leichhardt Oval.
Final: Wests Tigers 30 def. Cronulla Sharks 10