Wests Tigers have suffered a narrow 32-18 loss to the Sydney Roosters in torrid conditions today at Allianz Stadium.
The field was battered by rain in the 48 hours leading up to the match, making for very tough conditions, which was highlighted by the Holden Cup match being postponed in the lead-up.
Wests Tigers went into the Round 13 game searching for three consecutive victories, after narrow wins against Newcastle and Brisbane, however the Roosters came into the match fresh from a bye and handled the wet conditions well.
The home side were first to cross with fullback Latrell Mitchell on the end of second-man play to slide over in the left corner after just six minutes of play.
Sio Taukeiaho converted the try from out wide, giving the Sydney Roosters a 6-0 lead after 7 minutes of play.
With Wests Tigers winger Josh Addo-Carr trapped in the in-goal, the Roosters went on the attack again and were quick to capatlise with Jake Friend throwing a cut-out pass to his centre Dale Copley who put Daniel Tupou over in the corner.
Taukeiaho landed an even tougher conversion from the sideline, making it a 12-0 advantage after as many minutes.
Wests Tigers clawed back into the contest with a brilliant piece of play that started on their own 20-metre line, with Kevin Naiqama, Mitchell Moses and James Tedesco all playing a role in the lead-up to Tim Simona’s try.
Mitchell Moses was handed back the goal-kicking duties this week and nailed the tough attempt from the sideline, with Sydney holding a 12-6 lead after 16 minutes.
Tedesco departed the field in the 19th minute after suffering a concussion in the lead-up to Wests Tigers’ try, shuffling Simona to fullback and Michael Chee Kam on to the field at centre.
The Roosters were next to cross after a host of field territory and possession, eventually cracking the defensive line through Blake Ferguson who hit a nice short pass from Ryan Matterson.
Taukeiaho converted from next to the sticks, making it an 18-6 advantage just eight minutes out from half-time.
Wests Tigers were granted a golden opportunity just before half-time with Ferguson making an error on his 20-metre line, giving the visitors 50 seconds to edge back into the match.
They did just that, with Elijah Taylor throwing a crisp ball out the back to Moses, who gave it to Tedesco to juggle and eventually send David Nofoaluma over in the right corner.
Moses had another tough ask with the conversion from exactly the same spot as the last, however the young playmaker nailed the kick to make it and 18-12 deficit for his side going in the sheds.
Nofoaluma was denied his second try of the afternoon in the 40th minute, losing control of the ball in the motion of grounding it, as the Roosters maintained a one-try advantage.
The home side marched down the field, despite looking to have played the advantage from Nofoaluma’s mistake, and eventually scored a try of their own when Aidan Guerra reeled in a grubber from Jake Friend.
Taukeiaho converted another easy conversion to make it a 24-12 lead after 55 minutes.
Roosters forward Jared Waerea-Hargreaves was placed on report in the 56th minute, however from the penalty it was ruled that Moses had not found touch despite Tupou looking to have a foot in touch when he tapped it back in.
With plenty of territory and possession, Wests Tigers eventually capitalised with halfback Luke Brooks rolling the dice on the last tackle and finding Tedesco back on the inside who crossed for his 10th try of the season.
Moses kept his perfect record with the boot intact, slotting the extra two points to lessen the gap to 24-18 with 16 minutes to play.
Dene Halatau was ruled to have stripped the ball in a two-man tackle in the 66th minute, gifting the Roosters two-points from the penalty goal to Taukeiaho.
The Roosters took advantage of a number of errors from Wests Tigers, with Connor Watson sliding over out wide from a huge overlap on the left edge.
Taukeiaho all but sealed victory with another sideline conversion, taking his side’s lead out to 32-18 with just under six minutes remaining.
The Roosters held the 32-18 advantage through until the final siren, with Wests Tigers now focussed on bouncing back against South Sydney on Friday night in front of a home crowd at ANZ Stadium.
Sydney Roosters 32 (Mitchell, Tupou, Ferguson, Guerra, Watson tries; Taukeiaho 4/4 goals) defeated Wests Tigers 18 (Simona, Nofoaluma, Tedesco tries; Moses 3/3 goals)