Wests Tigers have stormed back against the Wentworthville Magpies to produce a thrilling 29-28 win in their Round 8 clash on Sunday afternoon at Ringrose Park.
Josh Drinkwater was the hero of the day, nailing the match-winning field goal in the final two minutes to go to give Wests Tigers their first win in their past five matches.
Despite running into a strong breeze in the first half, it was Wests Tigers who crossed for first points through Drinkwater, who picked off a pass from Wenty early in the tackle count to race 30m and score next to the posts after 10 minutes of play.
He had no problems converting his own try to give his side a 6-0 lead.
With repeat sets on the visitors line, the Magpies hit back soon after through Fabian Goodall, who crashed over in the left corner following some sharp hands.
Kelly couldn’t add the extras and the score remained 6-4 after 16 minutes.
The home side would take the lead soon after, with tries to Ryan Morgan and Tepai Moeroa in the space of five minutes — both of which were set up and converted by Luke Kelly — pushing their lead to 16-6 after 25 minutes at Ringrose Park.
Wests Tigers would hit back not long after, though, with some sharp hands to the left from Penani Manumalealii and Nathan Milone seeing Keith Lulia score out wide.
Drinkwater narrowly missed the sideline conversion, but he soon made up for it with a cross-field kick that was brilliantly taken in the air by Kurtis Rowe after 31 minutes.
The halfback added the extras from out wide to lock the score up at 16-16.
Wenty would cross for a crucial try just seconds before the half-time siren, with Vai Toutai getting on the outside of Salesi Funaki to score out wide. Kelly added the extras to give the home side a 22-16 lead over Wests Tigers at the break in their Round 8 clash.
The second half began in less than ideal circumstances for Paul Fletcher’s men, with an error in the second tackle seeing Wenty fullback Adam Quinlan scoop up the ball and burst through two attempted tackles to score under the posts.
Kelly’s easy conversion gave Wenty a 28-16 lead after 42 minutes of play.
A darting run from Milone in the 44th minute saw the centre score in his first game back from injury, with Drinkwater’s conversion reducing the margin to 28-22.
As the second half swung back-and-forth, it was the visitors who eventually crossed the line in the 66th minute, with some enterprising play from Drinkwater seeing McDonnell chase through a kick and grubber again for Rowe, who scored in the corner.
Drinkwater was unable to convety, though, leaving Wenty with a 28-26 lead.
An infringement off the ball in the 73rd minute gave Wests Tigers a chance to level the match, with Drinkwater locking the match up at 28-28 with his penalty goal.
As Kelly kicked the ball out on the field, Wests Tigers would have one final chance to win the match, and thanks to strong runs from Milone and Joel Luani, they would do just that as Josh Drinkwater banged over a field goal from 20m out in the 78th minute of play.
That would see the visitors pull back in front 29-28 and end a run of four straight defeats heading into the representative break next weekend.
NSW CUP FULL TIME — Wests Tigers 29 (Rowe 2, Drinkwater, Lulia,, Milone tries; Drinkwater 4/6 goals; Drinkwater field goal) def. Wentworthville Magpies 28 (Goodall, Morgan, Moeroa, Toutai, Quinlan tries; Kelly 4/5 goals)