Wests Tigers’ Holden Cup side have kept their 2015 season alive with a 24-22 win over the Canberra Raiders in an Elimination Final today at Allianz Stadium.
Finishing the season in fifth position, Brett Kimmorley’s side came up against the eighth-placed Raiders side who had defeated them twice during the regular season.
Halfback Jeremy Marshall-King was instrumental in the Wests Tigers victory, with the playmaker scoring two individual tries during the match.
Wests Tigers got off to a strong start in the match after receiving a penalty in their very first set, with Marion Seve cleaning up a loose ball to score from a Te Maire Martin cross-field kick. Matthew Woods couldn’t convert from out wide and it remained 4-0 advantage after three minutes.
The Raiders were able to strike back quickly though with Zac Woolford providing a quality grubber from dummy-half for Lachlan Lewis who scooped it up to score. Woolford missed the conversion from close to the goalposts to keep it locked up at 4-all after seven minutes.
Wests Tigers lock forward Tyler Cassel was placed on report in the eighth minute for a dangerous throw.
Canberra crashed over the line soon after with winger Cameron Booth taking advantage of the numbers on their left edge, however Woolford was again unsuccessful with the kick leaving the scores at 8-4 after 12 minutes.
Marching down the field quickly, the Raiders came close to extending their lead in the very next set with Tevita Pangai losing the ball over the line.
It was the exact same story for Wests Tigers in the 16th minute with Jayden Wheelhouse showing great footwork to get over the line but was unable to ground the ball.
Jeremy Marshall-King broke the point-scoring drought in the 32nd with a piece of individual brilliance, throwing a dummy and racing away down the right edge to score. The number seven missed the conversion and the scores were back even at 8-all.
The score would remain that way going into the half time break, a great effort from the Wests Tigers considering the Raiders enjoyed 57% of possession and led the penalty count 6-5.
The Raiders were first to score in the second half, with fullback Sione Alofi dropping a fairly easy kick and putting the opposition deep on the attack. Pangai was again looking dangerous and carried four defenders and gave an offload to Booth who crossed for his second of the day. Dylan McGrath missed the conversion from touch and Canberra hit the lead 12-8 after 47 minutes.
Both sides had a number of chances in the next period, however it wasn’t until the 60th minute when Martin took the line on with a great dummy and sliced straight through for the 12-all equaliser. Woods kept the run of missed conversions going as he sprayed the kick to the right.
Veiru Mapesone showed great speed in the very next set, only to be pulled down by the Raiders fullback close to the line. Canberra were penalised on the next play and Woods slotted the first goal of the match to make it a 14-12 advantage after 64 minutes.
Marshall-King produced another piece of brilliance in the 67th minute, throwing a dummy on the inside and going over for his second of the day. Woods gave his side an eight-point buffer with the conversion making it 20-12.
The Raiders ensured it would be a tense finish to the match as centre Jack Williams forced his way through the defence to score. Woolford missed his third conversion of the day, with his side trailing 20-16 after 71 minutes.
Mapesone all but sealed it for his side in the 73rd minute, running though a massive hole in the Raiders defence line. The score remained at 24-16 with Woods missing the conversion.
A late try to Kalani Going in the 78th minute kept the Raiders in it, however it wasn’t to be with the Wests Tigers running out 24-22 winners.
Wests Tigers will face Manly-Warringah next weekend in a semi-final, with the venue still to be confirmed.
NYC FULL TIME — Wests Tigers 24 (Marshall-King 2, Martin, Seve, Mapesone tries; Woods 2/5, Marshall-King 0/1 goals) defeated Canberra Raiders 22 (Booth 2, Williams, Lewis, Going tries; Woolford 1/4, McGrath 0/1 goals)