Wests Tigers NSW Cup have won a strikingly similar victory to the Under 20s side earlier today, winning in a come from behind effort over the Newtown Jets 36-22 tonight at Campbelltown Sports Stadium.
Down 22-6 at the break, Wests Tigers scored 30 unanswered points to claim victory in their final hit-out before the competition officially begins in two weeks.
New recruit Josh Drinkwater was impressive in the triumph over Cronulla’s feeder side, as was fullback Kurtis Rowe who crossed for two tries in his return from injury.
Newtown were first to strike with centre Sami Saulima getting on the outside of Asipeli Fine for a try in the left corner. Todd Murphy couldn’t convert from near the sideline, with the Jets leading 4-0 after seven minutes.
Once Wests Tigers finally got their hands on the ball, Josh Drinkwater threw a nice short ball to Salesi Funaki who was running a great line and scored the home side’s first try of the day. Drinkwater added the extras and put his side in front 6-4 after 12 minutes.
The Jets were back on the attack in the 23rd minute and found an unmarked winger Dallas Wells on the left who did extremely well to get the ball down just inside the corner post. Murphy made no mistake with the kick to make it 10-4 in favour of the Jets.
On Newtown’s next chance, Saulima was causing trouble on the left edge again, stepping his way through the defence and he found Wells on his outside who went over for his second try of the match in the 27th minute. The kick was successful again from Murphy which made it 16-6.
Four minutes later, Nathan Gardner was at first receiver 10 metres out from the line and stepped back off his left foot and went over for a classy try. Murphy couldn’t miss from the left side and made it 22-6 after 33 minutes.
Despite a late chance for Wests Tigers, Newtown went into the half time break with a commanding 22-6 lead.
Wests Tigers had a great opportunity early in the second half with Drinkwater spreading it to the right and finding five-eighth Sitaleki Akauola who palmed off one and burrowed over for a try. Drinkwater converted the try and the Jets lead was cut to 22-12.
It was soon to be quick back-to-back tries as Drinkwater grubbered through for fullback Kurtis Rowe who did spectacularly well to ground the ball just before the dead ball line. Another goal from Drinkwater cut the lead again to just four points after 50 minutes.
Under 20s player Te Kapua Murray came on and made an immediate impact on the wing, finishing off a nice shift on the right edge to lock up the scores at 22-all. Drinkwater kept his perfect record alive with a goal from the sideline to make it 24-22 after 63 minutes.
The comeback continued with Drinkwater leading the side around nicely, this time giving a short ball to Rowe who sped away for his second try of the match. A fifth goal to Drinkwater extended the lead to eight points with a 30-22 lead after 66 minutes.
Kurt Dillan was sin-binned for a second shoulder charge in the 73rd minute and hooker Manaia Cherrington was soon to take advantage of the one-man overlap – making a line-break in the 76th minute to score a great try from 30 metre out. Substitute Te Maire Martin converted the try to make it 36-22, a scoreline that would stand until the final siren.