Wests Tigers NYC side have hung on to win a thrilling contest 34-32 over the Gold Coast Titans in their Round 13 clash at Leichhardt Oval.
A back-and-forth contest that saw a number of lead changes throughout the second half, a double to winger Obed Karwhin was enough to get Brett Kimmorley’s side over the line and take them in to the competition’s top eight.
After losing fullback Jeremy Marshall-King and co-captain Matthew Woods as late withdrawals for the match, Kimmorley’s side went behind early when Shaun Hudson capitalised on a weight of early possession for the visitors to score.
Jed Cartwright nailed the sideline conversion for a 6-0 lead after four minutes, but it wouldn’t take long for the home side to hit back through Karwhin after some wonderful lead-up work from captain Martin on the last tackle.
Veiru Mapesone converted the try for a 6-6 scoreline after eight minutes.
Some strong attacking play from Wests Tigers saw the home side pull in front after 22 minutes when Bayley Sironen crashed over off a good short ball. And after several repeat set on the visitors’ line, that lead was pushed to 18-6 when a scrum move allowed Watson Heleta to cross the line out wide after 31 minutes.
A penalty infringement in the ruck from the visitors gave Mapesone the chance to push the score to 20-6, which is how it seemed the half-time score would read before a try right on the bell to Daymeric Pelo took the score to 20-12.
The visitors reduced the margin to 20-18 shortly after the break when Cartwright crossed out wide and subsequently converted his own try in the 45th minute, before a penalty from Hudson soon after locked the score up at 20-all.
Wests Tigers would hit back in the 65th minute with some sharp hands to the left allowing Ryland Jacobs to cross out wide, with the winger improving the angle to allow Mapesone to convert the try and push the their lead to 26-20.
That quickly became 30-20 in the 66th minute when Jayden Wheelhouse showed a clever head to set up Karwhin for his second try of the afternoon, which Mapesone was unable to convert from the sideline in windy conditions.
The visitors refused to go away, and struck back in the 71st minute when Lawton crashed over from dummy half, reducing the margin once more back to 30-26.
However, Mapesone would seal the win for the home side with a strong individual try just moments later — taking on the line and finding some space before showing great strength to get the ball down out wide after 73 minutes.
Greg Lelesiuao would cross in the dying moments of the match to peg the scoreboard somewhat in the visitors’ favour, but it wouldn’t be enough to get the better of Wests Tigers who hung on for a thrilling 34-32 win at Leichhardt Oval.
NYC FULL TIME — Wests Tigers 34 (Karwhin 2, Sironen, Heleta, Jacobs, Mapesone tries; Mapesone 5/7 goals) def. Gold Coast Titans 32 (Hudson, Pelo, Cartwright, Lawton, Lelesuiao tries; Cartwright 3/3 goals, Hudson 2/2 goals).