Wests Tigers Holden Cup side has bounced back with a strong performance on Sunday to defeat the in-form St. George-Illawarra Dragons 36-16 at ANZ Stadium.
The Dragons came into the match having not been beaten since Round 7, but found themselves behind after just three minutes of play when a sharp right-edge move allowed fullback Daniel Roberts to stroll through the line with ease and score.
Veiru Mapesone hit the post with his conversion from out wide, leaving it at 4-0.
The five-eighth would soon make up for the error with a terrific cut-out ball in the 16th minute which allowed winger Obed Karwhin to touch down in the same corner.
This time Mapesone would convert from out wide, taking his side’s lead out to 10-0.
Jai Field would peg one back for the home side soon after when a clever inside play allowed the five-eighth to burst through the middle of the field and round Roberts to score. He then converted from in front to reduce the score to 10-6 after 30 minutes.
It wouldn’t take long for Wests Tigers to restore their two-try lead, with the visitors continuing to cause havoc down the right edge — this time with Toa Mata’afa proving too quick close to the line to crash over in the south-western corner after 33 minutes.
Mapesone’s tough afternoon with the boot continued, as he narrowly missed converting from the sideline to leave the score at 14-6, which would read as such at half-time.
An error off the second half kickoff from Wests Tigers would invite the Dragons back on the attack straight away in the second half, and it wouldn’t take long for the home side to cut the lead to 14-12, with Luciano Leilua burrowing his way over next to the posts.
The Dragons would take the lead for the first time in the match when Donte Efaraimo finished off a clever left side move to touch down in the corner and make it 16-14.
However, from there, Wests Tigers senior players would step up and finish the match off well to give the visitors their first victory since a Round 14 win over the Rabbitohs.
First it was Mark McCormack bullocking his way over through the middle after 61 minutes, with Mapesone’s conversion giving Wests Tigers the lead back at 20-16.
Young gun hooker Jacob Liddle would then put the match to bed with two classy bits of play; the first seeing him dart through the line to put Tony Tali over out wide after 66 minutes before sneaking over from dummy half himself to seal the win with 10 to play.
Successful kicking from Mapesone would make it 32-16 in favour of Wests Tigers, before Karwhin grabbed his second in the final minute of the match to ensure a dominant win.
NYC FULL TIME — Wests Tigers 36 (Karwhin 2, Roberts Mata’afa, McCormack, Tali, Liddle tries; Mapesone 4/6 goals) def. Dragons 16 (Field, Leilua, Efaraimo tries; Field 2/3 goals)