Wests Tigers have suffered a 42-16 defeat to the Brisbane Broncos on Sunday in front of a 37,000-strong crowd at Suncorp Stadium for their Round 19 clash.
Trailing 26-0 at the half-time break, a spirited second half comeback from Wests Tigers saw the margin reduced to just 10 points mid-way through the second half, before a string of late tries saw the competition favourites emerge with a strong win in the end.
Despite start the match on the back foot following some sharp attacking play from the visitors, it was Brisbane who posted first points of the match after just six minutes against the run-of-play, with Lachlan Maranta finishing off a long run from Ben Hunt.
Corey Parker had no problems adding the extras to give his side a 6-0 lead.
Wests Tigers looked destined to hit back in the 12th minute when James Tedesco fed Tim Simona close to the line, but the centre was held up just short of the line.
That would prove costly for the visitors, as Brisbane worked the ball down field off the back of a penalty and extended their lead in the 17th minute as Andrew McCullough found Alex Glenn close to the line for his first try of the afternoon.
Parker’s missed conversion left the score at 10-0 in favour of the home side.
After Jordan Kahu denied Pat Richards a certain try on the left wing and a desperate cover tackle denied Nathan Milone his first career try in the space of 60 seconds, Jason Taylor’s side were made to may for their wayward attacking in the 26th minute when Adam Blair found Jarrod Wallace close to the line to crash his way over.
Parker conversion extended the Broncos’ lead out to 16-0.
Chris Lawrence had a try taken off him following a forward pass in the 30th minute, and like before, it would immediately result in points for the home side as Glenn raced through to collect his second try following a deft grubber from Anthony Milford.
Kahu’s conversion gave the Broncos a 22-0 lead, and it appeared the scoreline would remain as such heading into the break, but a sharp inside ball from Milford moments before half-time saw Reed dive over in the corner as the siren sounded for a 26-0 lead.
Despite an insurmountable lead seemingly against them on the scoreboard, Wests Tigers staged a spectacular comeback to start the second half — starting with Luke Brooks’ flat ball that put Ava Seumanufagai over next to the posts in the 44th minute.
Richards’ converted the forwards’ first try of the year to take the score to 26-6 and it was soon turned to 26-10 when a huge dummy from Manaia Cherrington in the 48th minute caught the Broncos’ defense out to give him the first try of his career.
The comeback appeared on in the 52nd minute when Wests Tigers scored arguably the try of the afternoon, starting with James’Tedesco’s flick pass to Kevin Naiqama on his own 20m line, before the Fijian international raced down field and linked up with Mitchell Moses on the inside to give the five-eighth his third try of the season.
Richards’ conversion took the scoreline to 26-16 with just under half an hour to play.
A great 40/20 kick from Moses in the 60th minute gave Wests Tigers the opportunity to reduce the margin even further, but they were unable to come away with any points; instead losing strike centre Simona to a nasty head knock from Matt Gillett.
That would prove to be the visitors’ last real attacking chance for the half as the Broncos ended their run of points in the 68th minute as Maranta dived on a loose pass knocked down by Naiqama to grab his second try of the afternoon and take the score to 32-10.
The winger would complete his hat-trick just four minutes later as the Broncos took advantage of some tired defenders, before a final try to Corey Oates — who crashed over Pat Richards — in the 78th minute ensured a commanding win for the Broncos.
Wests Tigers will look to end their run of four straight defeats when they take on the Sydney Roosters in their Round 20 clash on Friday night from ANZ Stadium.
Brisbane Broncos 42 (Maranta 3, Glenn 2, Wallace, Reed, Oates tries; Parker 4/6 goals; Kahu 1/3 goals) def. Wests Tigers 16 (Seumanufagai, Cherrington, Moses tries; Richards 2/3 goals).