Wests Tigers NSW Cup have rounded out an impressive weekend of trial matches for the Club with a 22-8 victory over the Penrith Panthers tonight at Windsor Park.
The win comes on the back of the NRL side’s defeat of Parramatta in Alice Springs and the Under 20s 16-14 triumph over Penrith earlier in the program today.
The defensive efforts from Wests Tigers were a highlight of the match, with Asipeli Fine, Joel Luani and Andy Fiagatusa very impressive in the clinical performance.
Wests Tigers couldn’t capitalise on an early opportunity, with a promising shift to the left finding centre Marion Seve who stepped around one defender but lost control of the ball four metres from the line.
It was tough opening quarter to the game, with both sides putting on plenty of heavy tackles; however the scoreboard would remain untouched until the 27th minute when skipper Andy Fiagatusa ran a great line at speed and scored under the posts. The sharp passing game of Te Maire Martin was on show in the lead-up, with the playmaker converting the try for a 6-0 lead.
Soon after hooker Jacob Liddle, who impressed in the earlier match with the Under 20s, split the defence and found Te Maire Martin who threw a looping pass to John Sila, with the winger drawing in three defenders and offloading to Marion Seve who crossed in the corner for an exciting try. Martin couldn’t add the extras from the sideline; however Wests Tigers held a 10-0 lead after 34 minutes.
Penrith stuck back right on the stroke of half time with a slick backline move finished by winger Ratu Luke Nadurutalo who put the ball down acrobatically in the right corner. The conversion was waved away and Wests Tigers went into the sheds at half time leading 10-4.
Wests Tigers came out of the sheds fired up, getting on the front foot early in the half. Hooker Joel Luani showed a touch of class, finding Jordan Grant with a crisp ball and the prop forward crashed over for a try under the sticks. Martin made no mistake with the easy conversion, extending the lead to 16-4 after 47 minutes.
Penrith applied plenty of pressure to the Wests Tigers defence in the ensuing plays, however the line held strong for three consecutive sets of six in what was an impressive period of play defensively from Paul Fletcher’s side.
Tries weren’t coming through the middle for Penrith, so attempted the alternative with success, kicking cross-field to a flying Tala Mapesone who was able to get his side back into the game with a crafty four-pointer. The conversion was unsuccessful but Penrith were back in the match with Wests Tigers’ lead now cut to 16-8 after 59 minutes.
Points were hard to come by in the opening stages of the final quarter, that was until replacement halfback Eli Levido got away a nice offload to a barnstorming Salesi Funaki 35 metres out and the backrower went over for a quality four-pointer. Levido then added the conversion and Wests Tigers held a commanding 22-8 lead in the dying stages of the game.
Wests Tigers would hold that scoreline for the remainder of the game and will now look forward to a clash with Newtown next weekend at Campbelltown Sports Stadium.
Tickets for that match are $12, with Wests Tigers Members gaining free entry on the day.