The last time Wests Tigers ventured across the ditch to Mount Smart Stadium to take on the New Zealand Warriors, they walked away with nothing short of a miracle.
The Warriors, playing in front of a strong home crowd, had dominated Wests Tigers for 64 minutes of the match, and led 22-4 as a result. Costly errors had allowed the hosts to build a commanding 18-point lead, and they seemingly had the two points locked up.
Yet with a flamboyant Wests Tigers side on the field, no lead seemed safe.
The visitors struck their first blow in the 64th minute when an incredible run and improbable flick pass from back-rower Gareth Ellis put Benji Marshall across the line, with the playmaker scooting over to give his side a sniff of victory.
Wests Tigers were in again the following set when fullback Wade McKinnon soared highest to snatch a Marshall bomb from the skies and score under the posts.
Suddenly, a strong 18-point lead had been reduced to just six in a matter of minutes.
A strong run from Blake Ayshford had the visitors sniffing for more points soon after, and they found it again through Marshall, who was very quickly leaving his mark on the match. The Kiwi international backed up on the inside to receive a pass from Ayshford and score next to the posts, with his conversion leveled the match at 22-22.
“It was unreal,” Liam Fulton recalled of the match. “We just felt we could do anything in the final 20 minutes of the match, and it was going to turn into points.”
He was right.
Another moment of magic from Marshall came in the 74th minute when, after dancing away from two defenders, he lobbed the ball basketball-style to Beau Ryan, who dived planted the ball down in the corner despite heavy pressure from Simon Mannering.
That would give Wests Tigers the most unlikely of leads — having scored four tries in 10 minutes — and they would hold that lead until the very end to leave Mount Smart Stadium with one of the most incredible of come-from-behind victories.
Wests Tigers 26 (Marshall 2, Ayshford, McKinnon, Ryan tries; Marshall 3/5 goals) def. New Zealand Warriors 22 (Vatuvei 2, Inu, Johnson, Locke tries; Maloney 1/5 goals)