Wests Tigers NYC side have suffered a devastating 20-18 loss to the Parramatta Eels in their Round 17 clash at ANZ Stadium on Monday night.
Trailing mid-way through the second half, Brett Kimmorley’s side stormed back into the match to trial by just two points with a conversion to come, but an unsuccessful kick at goal allowed the Eels to hang on and walk away with a two-point win on the night.
The match started in perfect fashion for the home side, who posted first points after just three minutes of the match when Obed Karwhin took advantage of an error from Abbas Miski to touch down in the corner, which Veiru Mapesone was unable to convert.
As both teams settled into a grind and struggled to gain any ascendency due to an array of handling errors, Parramatta finally leveled the match in the 28th minute when a spell of offloads close to the line allowed Dylan Izzard to dive over next to the posts.
Zach Dockar-Clay added the extras to give the Eels their first lead of the night, 6-4.
An accidental offside penalty moments later allowed the Eels to extend their lead even further, with Mason Cerruto scooting over down the short side to score.
Dockar-Clay missed with his conversion, leaving the score at 10-4 after 33 minutes.
It appeared destined that the Eels would take that six-point lead into the half-time sheds, but some enterprising play as the half wore down from Ryland Jacobs saw Watson Heleta score as the siren sounded to reduce the margin to 10-8.
Jayden Wheelhouse quickly put Wests Tigers back in front after the break when a sharp move to the right allowed him to dive over out wide, with Mapesone nailing the difficult sideline conversion to give the home side a 14-10 lead after 48 minutes.
Lamar Liolevave looked to have put his side further in front in the 54th minute when he scooped up a loose ball to cross the line, but a controversial decision by the referee to rule a strip saw the chance go begging. That call proved to be costly, with the Eels working the ball upfield fro the penalty and crossing soon after through Atini Gafa, who brushed away from a tackler before racing 20m to score next to the posts.
Dockar-Clay’s conversion gave the visitors a 16-14 lead, before Gafa crossed again soon after in the corner to extend the Eels lead to 20-14 with 20 minutes remaining.
Wests Tigers continued to press the visitors’ line and were rewarded for their efforts in the 71st minute when Lamar Liolevave crashed over. However, Mapesone would miss the conversion, leaving the score at 20-18, which is how it would read at full-time.
With the bye next weekend, Wests Tigers will take on one of the top sides in the competition in Round 19 when they face the Brisbane Broncos at Suncorp Stadium.
FULL TIME — Parramatta Eels 20 (Gafa 2, Izzard, Cerruto tries; Dockar-Clay 2/4 goals) def. Wests Tigers 18 (Karwhin, Heleta, Wheelhouse, Liolevave tries; Mapesone 1/4 goals).