Wests Tigers have overcome an eight-point half-time deficit to record a nail-biting 20-18 victory over the Canberra Raiders tonight at GIO Stadium in Canberra.
Going into the sheds 12-4 down at the break, second half tries to James Tedesco, Pat Richards and Luke Brooks sealed back-to-back wins for just the second time this season.
Both sides showed plenty of attacking flair in the opening stages, most notably a near chance for Wests Tigers in the 8th minute where Kevin Naiqama chipped in field to find Luke Brooks who was brought down just metres from the line on the last tackle.
Wests Tigers eventually opened the scoring in the 13th minute, with Sauaso Sue running a great line off Brooks short-ball to barge his way over on the left edge.
Pat Richards was unable to convert the try, with the score remaining at 4-0.
The next chance came in the 19th minute with Tim Simona making a burst down the sideline, running 50 metres down field and kicking back on the inside for Tedesco.
However it was ruled that he lost the ball over the line.
Continued pressure, primarily due to a 5-3 penalty count in favour of Canberra, eventually resulted in a Raiders try to prop forward Shannon Boyd. Jarrod Croker converted the try to give the home side a 6-4 lead after 28 minutes.
Enjoying a wealth of possession once again, the Raiders struck just minutes before the half time buzzer – once more through Boyd.
The prop forward barged over for his second of the night, however was spoken to by match officials for throwing the ball at Tedesco. Croker converted from in front of the sticks to give Canberra a 12-4 advantage at the break.
Wests Tigers needed to be first to score in the second half and that’s exactly what happened as David Nofoaluma took a quick 20-metre restart and linked up with a flying Mitchell Moses, who in-turn found Tedesco for 50 metre sprint to the try-line. Richards missed another tough conversion, with the Raiders’ lead cut to 12-8 after 49 minutes.
The visitors levelled the scores in the 63rd minute with what looked to be a simple shift through the hands on the left edge, with Simona eventually finding Richards who strolled over untouched. The ‘Iceman’ nailed the conversion, his 1000th career goal, to make it a 14-12 lead.
That lead was short-lived as the Raiders scored what looked to be a clone of Tedesco’s try in the first half – Wighton racing up field from a kick, finding Hodgson who gave it to Croker who crossed for the four-pointer. The Raiders skipper converted his own try to make 18-14 in his side’s favour after 67 minutes.
Tedesco was causing problems once again for the Raiders defenders, this time slicing through on the right edge and linking up with Simona who found Brooks on the inside. The long-range try was converted by Richards, with Wests Tigers holding a narrow 20-18 lead with eight-minutes remaining.
In an ugly end to the match, Raiders prop forward David Shillington was sent from the field with second remaining on the clock.
NRL FULL TIME — Wests Tigers 20 (Sue, Tedesco, Richards, Brooks tries; Richards 2/4 goals) defeated Canberra Raiders 18 (Boyd 2, Croker tries; Croker 3/3 goals)