Wests Tigers have moved into the top four of the Intrust Super Premiership with a commanding 28-6 victory over the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium today.
Paul Stringer’s men put in a grinding display, holding strong in defence on their own goal-line on numerous occasions to score an important five tries to one victory.
It was a tight contest for much of the match, with Wests Tigers scoring three tries in the last 13 minutes to take the final deficit out to 22 points.
Wests Tigers got off to a strong start with Curtis Sironen showing his class, sneaking away an offload 40-metres out to Jeremy Marshall-King who in turn sliced his way through the defence, linked up with Watson Heleta who then gave it on to Jack Litttlejohn to score.
Justin Hunt added the easy two points from near the sticks, taking it out to a 6-0 lead from as many minutes.
The Bulldogs were quick to strike back, receiving a lucky bounce of the ball from an attacking grubber as Wests Tigers fullback Watson Heleta lost his footing on the slippery surface, resulting in his opposite number Brad Abbey diving on the loose ball to score.
Sharp-shooter and late inclusion Kerrod Holland slotted the conversion, making it 6-all after 12 minutes.
In his first game in the halves this season, Hunt challenged the line and got his arm free to find Heleta who raced 30 metres untouched to score.
Hunt was unable to convert from the sideline, leaving it at a 10-6 advantage after 27 minutes.
Both sides tested each other in the period before half-time, however Wests Tigers went into the sheds with two tries to one advantage.
It was a similar start to second stanza to the finish of the first, with Wests Tigers forced to defend their line on numerous occasions and holding strong on each challenge.
It wasn’t until the 67th minute that the first points of the second half would come, with Heleta involved once more, scooting around the edge and linking up with his winger Charlie Taylor who went over untouched.
It was Taylor’s first game for the Club after joining Wests Tigers a fortnight ago, with Hunt adding the easy conversion for a commanding 16-6 lead with just 12 minutes to play.
Soon after, Chance Peni made it look too easy, stepping off his right foot to beat the defence and score the simplest of tries.
Hunt put away another easy conversion, all but sealing victory for his side with the scoreline out to 22-6 with six minutes remaining.
A bit of controversy came late in the match, with Hunt and his opposite number Harry Siejka coming to blows with the Bulldogs playmaker throwing a punch.
The penalty ended up going against Hunt, however he had the last laugh as he took an intercept of the next set and ran 85 metres to score just before full-time.
Hunt landed his fourth conversion of the night, taking the final score out to 28-6.
It was an important victory for Wests Tigers’ Intrust Super Premiership side, who enjoy the bye next weekend and now sit inside the top four.
Wests Tigers 28 (Littlejohn, Heleta, Taylor, Peni, Hunt tries; Hunt 4/5 goals) defeated Canterbury-Bankstown 6 (Abbey tries; Holland 1/1 goals)