A rampagnt Wests Tigers have downed the New Zealand Warriors 34-26 in Round 1 of the 2016 NRL season on Saturday at Campbelltown Sports Stadium.
Despite missing the likes of Luke Brooks, Robbie Farah and Dene Halatau, Wests Tigers flew out of the blocks to lead 28-4 at the half-time interval and never looked back — holding firm against a strong Warriors side to emerge with an eight-point win in the end.
Wests Tigers began the match in the perfect fashion with Mitchell Moses putting Curtis Sironen into a yawning gap on the right edge after just six minutes of play.
His successful conversion gave the home side a 6-0 lead, but it wasn't long before that margin was extended, with Chris Lawrence combining beautifully with Kyle Lovett to allow the Club's 2015 Rookie of the Year to crash over next to the posts.
Another succession conversion from Moses made it 12-0 after just 15 minutes.
The home crowd would be on their feed moments later, with Moses throwing a superb cut-out ball for David Nofoaluma to cross out wide and take the score to 16-0.
After Kevin Naiqama was controversially denied a four-pointer following a knock-on at the back, the Warriors were able to get on the scoreboard in the 23rd minute through Solomone Kata, with Tuimoala Lolohea unable to change the score from 16-4.
It didn't take long for Wests Tigers to cross again, with James Tedesco capping off an incredible passage of play in the 28th minute that saw the ball move from one side to the other, with a chip-kick and a grubber all included in the masterful move.
Another conversion for Moses took the score out to 22-4 with 10 minutes to play.
It appeared the scoreline would remain as such as both teams approached half-time, before a moment of brilliance from Kevin Naiqama and Tim Simona saw the Samoan international race away to score his fifth try in four matches against the Warriors.
Moses' simple conversion took the scoreline to 28-4 at the half-time break.
After starting the second half strong, Wests Tigers soon found themselves under pressure when a flurry of quick tries to the Warriors saw them claw their way back into the contest.
It started with Simon Mannering going over under the posts in the 48th minute, and continuted with Bodene Thompson crashing over out wide in the 58th minute after a strong run from Roger Tuivasa-Sheck — reducing the hosts' lead to 28-14.
After a moment of magic from Shaun Johnson saw the halfback step his way over and take the score to 28-20, it was well and truly game on in the 68th minute as Kata grabbed his second try of the day — capping off a move started by the visitors in their own half.
With the scoreline locked at at 28-26 in the final ten minutes, both teams came up with several errors to keep the margin close, before Tedesco sealed the win when he plucked a Johnson chip-kick out of the air, racing 60m to score in front of a rousing crowd.
Moses' conversion after the siren took the score to 34-26, which is how it read at full-time.
Wests Tigers 34 (Tedesco 2, Sironen, Lovett, Nofoaluma, Simona tries; Moses 5/6 goals) def. NZ Warriors 26 (Kata 2, Mannering, Thompson, Johnson tries; Lolohea 3/5 goals)