Wests Tigers have stormed home to defeat the Newtown Jets 31-18 in their Round 2 NSW Cup clash on Saturday afternoon at Leichhardt Oval.
The final score didn’t reflect the close nature of the match, with a field goal from Josh Drinkwater giving the hosts a 19-18 lead in just the 75th minute of the match, before two late tries sealed the result for Paul Fletcher’s men and made it back-to-back wins for the side.
It was Wenty who crossed for first points of the day after just three minutes when Luke Kelly sent Ryan Morgan through a hole close to the line.
The halfback had no problem adding the extras either, and pushed their lead to 6-0.
Wests Tigers would soon hit back, though, with Shannon McDonnell finishing off a strong back-line move by throwing a cut-out ball for Kurtis Rowe to score in the corner.
Drinkwater converted from out wide to level the scores at 6-6 after 10 minutes.
Wenty would regain the lead in the 14th minute when Ben Crooks batted back a cross-field kick from Kelly, leaving John Folau with a simple finish. Kelly’s conversion from out wide saw the visitors take back the lead and lead 12-6 after 15 minutes of play.
After some back-and-forth play and weight of possession for the home side, Delouise Hoeter grabbed himself a try in his NSW Cup debut to reduce the margin to 12-10 — streaking down the sideline and doing well to plant the ball down inside the cornerpost.
Drinkwater was unable to convert and the score remained 12-10 after 25 minutes.
Wests Tigers would take their first lead of the match not long after, with some enterprising play in their own half by Lamar Liolevave and Chance Peni seeing Rowe break in the clear, with the winger fooling the fullback to sprint away and score under the posts. Drinkwater’s easy conversion saw Wests Tigers lead 16-12 after 32 minutes.
The halfback would have one final chance for points right on the stroke of half-time, with a good run from Dallas Graham drawing a penalty 45m out — an easy kick for Drinkwater as he added the penalty goal to push the half-time score to 18-12.
A gritty opening start to the second half saw few chances for either team, before Wenty leveled the match in the 62nd minute as he chased through his own grubber to narrowly beat McDonnell to the ball. Wests Tigers threatened to hit back though as both Graham and Rowe crossed the line, only for both tries to be called back to controversial refereeing decisions — ruled to be a knock-on and a forward pass respectively.
They would eventually take back the lead in the 75th minute when Drinkwater slotted a 20m field goal to give the hosts a 19-18 lead. Wenty would send the subsequent short kick-off out on the full, giving Wests Tigers great field position to seal the match, which they did through debutant Wes Lolo as he crashed over in the 77th minute.
Another short kick-off from Wenty to close the match would result in another try for Wests Tigers — this time through McDonnell as he darted down the sideline following Peni’s darting run and quick play the ball close to the right hand cornerpost.
Drinkwater had no problems adding the conversions for both kicks, giving Wests Tigers a 31-18 victory and ensuring they continued season 2015 with a perfect winning record.
Wests Tigers’ next NSW Cup game will be against the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs on Saturday, March 21 at Leichhardt Oval, with kickoff at 3:00pm.
FULL TIME — Wests Tigers 31 (Rowe 2, Hoeter, Lolo, McDonnell tries; Drinkwater 5/6 goals) def. Wenty Magpies (Morgan, Folau, Crooks tries; Kelly 3/3 goals)