Wests Tigers Under 20s have scored an amazing 28-12 come from behind victory in today’s trial match against the Cronulla Sharks at Campbelltown Sports Stadium.
Trailing 12-4 at half time, Wests Tigers scored five unanswered tries in the second stanza in a victory that will no doubt give the Brett Kimmorley coached side plenty of confidence leading into their Round 1 clash with the Gold Coast Titans on March 7.
Wests Tigers were put under pressure early when winger Te Kapua Murray dropped a towering kick-off, giving Cronulla a scrum feed 10 metres out. Just two plays later Ashleigh Nisbet hit a nice short ball and followed it up with a quality offload to Josh Addo-Carr who crossed out wide for a 4-0 lead after two minutes.
With the home side’s first venture in to attacking territory, five-eighth Te Maire Martin gave a perfect cut-out pass on the left edge to winger Obed Karwhin who grounded the ball for the opening try for Wests Tigers. With no conversions being attempted, the scores were locked up at 4-all after six minutes.
Cronulla were back down the other end of Campbelltown Sports Stadium soon after, with halfback Connor Tracey throwing a dummy and beating two defenders to speed over for a classy try. The visitors were back in front 8-4 after 10 minutes.
Earning plenty of possession and territory mid way through the first half, Wests Tigers were unable to capitalise on a number of chances, with the Sharks showing some great defence to keep their line intact- including a period of four consecutive sets on their line.
Sharks winger Addo-Carr took the pressure off his team with a 60-metre line-break, which subsequently resulted in Wests Tigers fullback Mason Cerruto being sin-binned for a professional foul in the 29th minute.
Cronulla took full advantage of their extra man in the 36th minute with Addo-Carr once again showing his class with a dummy close to the line and crossing for his second of the day close to the left corner. Sharks now held a 12-4 lead, with that scoreline remaining the same going into the half time break.
Both sides looked strong defensively in the opening stages of the second half, however interchange prop forward Thomas Grealy managed to barge his way through three defenders close to the line and put Wests Tigers back within striking distance. The Sharks lead was cut to 12-8 after 49 minutes.
With plenty of pressure applied to the Cronulla Sharks line, Martin took full advantage, throwing a big dummy and crashing over out wide in the 65th minute. It made for an exciting finish to the game, with scores all level at 12-all.
Off the ensuing set, Wests Tigers were making huge metres off each play, with a strong run from JJ Felise setting up a scoot from dangerous hooker Jacob Liddle who went himself from 30 metres out and scored a great try under the posts. The try put Wests Tigers in front for the first time 16-14 after 66 minutes.
Soon after the Wests Tigers were back on the attack with halfback Eli Levido giving a perfect cut-out pass to Jamian Iroa who went over untouched – once again on the left side of the park. Wests Tigers were finishing the game strong, now holding a 20-14 lead with 10 minutes remaining.
It was no surprise to see the home side attack the Sharks right edge once again, with Levido putting up a towering kick which the opposition were unable to gather and was scooped up by Watson Heleta who scored the try. The flurry of points for Wests Tigers looked unstoppable with the side now in front 24-12 after 72 minutes.
It was on again Wests Tigers hit top gear, with Liddle throwing a no look flick pass to Levido who juggled the ball 40 metres out and eventually gave it back on the inside again to Cerruto who raced over for an exciting try. It resulted in a commanding 28-12 lead for the home side, which would remain as the final scoreline.
Wests Tigers 28 (Karwhin, Grealy, Martin, Liddle, Iroa, Heleta, Cerruto tries) def. Cronulla 12 (Addo-Carr 2, Tracey tries).