A resilient Wests Tigers have gone down 20-6 to the South Sydney Rabbitohs in their Round 3 clash on Sunday afternoon at ANZ Stadium.
Despite spending the vast majority of the second half in their own defensive end and asking most of the attacking questions in the opening 30 minutes of the match, Wests Tigers were unable to find their potency and composure in attack as Souths finished the better of the two sides in each half to post a 14-point win in the end.
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Wests Tigers looked to have crossed for points in their opening set of the game as a Luke Brooks bomb was eagerly chased by Martin Taupau — resulting in an error which allowed Pat Richards to score in the corner. However, after several video replays, the winger was adjudged offside and Souths dodged an early bullet.
Jason Taylor’s side nearly went in front again through Kevin Naiqama moments later, but the Fijian international just didn’t manage to ground the ball in the field of play.
As errors plagued the attacks of both sides, Wests Tigers finally broke the deadlock in the 30th minute through captain Robbie Farah, whose grubber close to the line rebounced off Isaac Luke and into his arms next to the uprights.
Richards had no problems with the extras and extended the lead to 6-0.
Wests Tigers looked to add more points as they moved the ball down the left, but despite Mitchell Moses appearing to have been taken out on the inside as a support runner, Souths were able to retrieve the ball and work their way upfield. That call would prove costly for the visitors, with Greg Inglis putting away Alex Johnston down the short side to level the match following Adam Reynolds’ conversion after 37 minutes.
A rare error inside their own half from Wests Tigers gave Souths one last chance for points, and they would take full advantage of the opportunity as Dyaln Walker raced through to ground a Reynolds grubber as the half-time siren sounded.
The halfback was unable to add the extras, though, and the score remained 10-6 in favour of South Sydney as the teams went to the half-time sheds at ANZ Stadium.
After losing back-rower Curtis Sironen to concussion shortly after the break, Souths crossed following a sweeping back-line move to the right, with Inglis charging over for his try of the match in the 47th minute to extend Souths’ lead to 16-6.
As both sets of forwards started to give away penalties and be drawn into physical confrontations, Wests Tigers were unable to take advantage of the chances they had in their opponents’ end, as Farah and Naiqama again went close but to no avail.
In the end, it was a second try to Walker with three minutes remaining that sealed the result for the hosts, with Reynolds again proving the difference with his kicking game.
The halfback pushed his conversion attempt wide, but it didn’t make any difference to the result, as Souths ensured their perfect start to the year remained in tact — emerging from ANZ Stadium with a 20-6 victory over a gutsy and resilient Wests Tigers outfit.
Jason Taylor’s side will look to get back in the winners circle when the take on the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs on Friday, March 28 at ANZ Stadium.
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NRL FULL TIME — South Sydney Rabbitohs 20 (Walker 2, Johnston, Inglis tries; Reynolds 2/4 goals) def. Wests Tigers 6 (Farah tries; Richards 1/1 goals).