Wests Tigers NSW Cup side have suffered a 26-8 defeat to the North Sydney Bears in their Round 16 clash on Sunday afternoon at North Sydney Oval.

The Club’s second loss to the Bears this year leaves Paul Fletcher’s side narrowly outside the top eight, with their first bye of the year scheduled for next weekend.

Losing Lamar Liolevave to first-grade commitments before kickoff, Wests Tigers opened the scoring after just three mintues of play when Kurtis Rowe touched down out wide — his fourth consecutive week of crossing the white line. Halfback Josh Drinkwater was unable to add the extras though, leaving the score 4-0 in favour of Wests Tigers.

North Sydney would regain the lead shortly after, however, with two tries to South Sydney winger John Olive in the space of four minutes — both of which went unconverted from out wide by Darren Nicholls — giving the Bears an 8-4 advantage.

Olive would continue to cause havoc down the left wing, and his strong run would set up Cody Walker for another North Sydney try after 24 minutes of play.

Nicholls added the extras to extend the Bears’ lead to 14-4.

It appeared that the scoreline would remain that way heading into half-time before a crucial error early in the tackle count gave North Sydney one final chance for points before the break, and they would take advantage of it through Rabbitohs hooker Cameron McInnes, who dived over in the 38th minute to give the Bears a 20-4 half-time lead.

Wests Tigers started the better of the two sides after the break, and pegged back the margin slightly in the 48th minute when Wes Lolo put Keith Lulia over out wide.

Drinkwater was unable to add the extras, leaving the score at 20-8.

That would be as far as the comeback went, though, with a second try to Walker in the 65th minute resorting the home side’s 16-point lead, with Nicholls’ third conversion of the day extending their advantage to 26-8, which is how it would finish at full-time.

Wests Tigers will pick up two competition points next weekend with a bye, before returning to action on July 11 when they take on the Sea Eagles at Brookvale Oval.

NSW CUP FULL TIME — North Sydney Bears 26 (Olive 2, Walker 2, McInness tries; Nicholls 3/5 goals) def. Wests Tigers 8 (Rowe, Lulia tries; Drinkwater 0/2 goals).