Wests Tigers have played out an entertaining 22-22 draw with Newtown Jets in their Round 22 NSW Cup clash on Saturday morning at Leichhardt Oval.
Trailing 12-6 mid-way through the first half, both teams were unable to find their attacking rhythm and turn their chances into points in the first half, before a stronger second period saw the visiting Jets take the lead in the second half. However, a late try to Kurtis Rowe would see the home side level the match and snare a point from the match.
After defending several early attacking sets from Wests Tigers, it was Newtown who produced first points of the day when a quick raid down the left caught out Delouise Hoeter, with Sami Sauiluma releasing Nathan Gardner to dive over out wide.
Todd Murphy added the extras to give us side an early 6-0 lead after eight minutes.
The Jets would give Wests Tigers the opportunity to claw their way back into the match with an error on their own line shortly after, and Paul Fletcher’s side would quickly level the match in the 12th minute when Lamar Liolevave put Nathan Milone over out wide.
Josh Drinkwater nailed the sideline conversion to level the match at 6-6.
Another Jets error would see Wests Tigers take the lead in the 16th minute, when a lovely chip from Drinkwater found Chance Peni unmarked on his right wing.
The halfback then nailed the sideline conversion to give Wests Tigers a 12-6 lead.
Both teams would threaten to post more points with an array of attacking opportunities falling in the remainder of the first half, but neither could the final pass needed as errors and poor options saw the scoreline remain the same heading into the half-time break.
After Wests Tigers went close through Hoeter to start the second half, Newtown posted first points of the half in the 48th minute through Gardner, who finished off some sharp handling from Saulala Houma and Sauiluma, but Murphy was unable to add the extras.
A superb 40/20 from Drinkwater would put his side back on the attack in the 52nd minute, and just two plays later, the halfback would combine with Liolevave and Milone on the left edge to put Peni over in the corner for his second try of the morning.
Drinkwater couldn’t convert, however, leaving the home side’s lead at 16-10.
Newtown would quickly restore parity in the 59th minute when Daniel Abou-Sleiman ducked under a tackle to score next to the posts, before Pat Politoni’s short side raid found Tarek Elmasri close to the line in the 62nd minute to put the Jets back in the lead.
Murphy’s successful conversions gave the Jets a 22-16 lead with 15 minutes left to play.
The Jets appeared destined to take a victory from the match, before a late try to Rowe — showing great individual strength close to the line to beat a few tacklers — gave Wests Tigers the opportunity to level the match with Drinkwater’s 79th minute conversion.
That would see the two sides finish the match locked at 22-all as the full-time siren sounded, with Wests Tigers now desperately needing a win next weekend to keep their finals hopes alive when they take on the Warriors at Campbelltown Stadium.
NSW CUP FULL TIME — Newtown Jets 22 (Gardner 2, Abou-Sleiman, Elmasri tries; Murphy 2/4 goals) drew Wests Tigers 22 (Peni 2, Milone, Rowe tries; Drinkwater 3/4 goals).