Wests Tigers NYC side have battled out a hard fought 16-all draw against the New Zealand Warriors in an entertaining encounter at Campbelltown Stadium.
Trailing 16-10 with just four minutes remaining, Wests Tigers fullback Sione Alofi crossed to level the match and the home side had an opportunity to slot a field goal, but the Te Maire Martin attempt was charged down with the fulltime siren sounding.
The match lived up to expectations with just two competition points separating the sides heading into clash, with an intense forward battle and excellent skill shown across the park.
Earlier in the match, both sides enjoyed possession in the early stages of the game and matched it with some brutal defence.
The Warriors were first to score in the 15th minute through second rower Matiu Love-Henry, who carried defenders over the line after a short ball from playmaker Kauri Aupouri. Playmaker Ata Hingano converted for a 6-0 lead.
Momentum swung shortly after for the Wests Tigers, when hooker Jacob Liddle showed blistering pace to split the visitors up the middle, beating the fullback to dive over next to the posts. Matt Woods made no mistakes with the kick, and scores were locked up at 6-6.
Both sides were guilty of letting their opportunities slip for the opening stanza, with several tries being put down and turned away by the match officials.
With just four minutes remaining before half time, the Wests Tigers struck points to take the lead after a barnstorming run from prop forward JJ Felise.
Five-eighth Te Maire Martin capitalized on the run and delivered a perfectly placed cross-field kick out wide to centre Marion Seve, who did well to collect on the run and plant the ball down in the corner. Jeremy Marshall-King missed the conversion from out wide, but the Wests Tigers enjoyed a 10-6 lead heading into the break.
The four-point lead was short lived just three minutes into the second half, when Warriors winger Tomas Aoake finished off a swift backline movement to touch down in the corner.
Hingano missed from out wide, and scores were all locked up at 10-all.
Wests Tigers lock forward Tyler Cassel was placed on report in the 59th minute for a high shot, and the Warriors looked to take advantage with a long cut out pass, only for centre Obed Karwhin to pluck the ball out of the air and run 80 metres against the run of play before being brought down.
Another chance went begging a play later when Liddle lost the ball over the line in an attempt to reach across.
The Warriors took advantage of play just two minutes later, when Aupouri capatalised on an error from fullback Sione Alofi to dart over under the posts.
Higano converted to give the visitors a 16-10 lead with 15 minutes remaining until the final minutes of play until the Alofi try levelled the game and gave Wests Tigers a crucial point — guaranteeing their place in the 2015 Holden Cup finals series once again.
FULL TIME — Wests Tigers 16 (Liddle, Seve, Alofi tries; Woods 1/1, Marshall-King 1/2 goals) drew with Vodafone Warriors 16 (Love-Henry, Aoake, Aupouri tries; Hingano 2/3 goals)