Wests Tigers have recorded an important 23-8 victory over the Parramatta Eels tonight in the Round 21 clash at ANZ Stadium.
The victory puts Jason Taylor’s side in equal eighth on the ladder, with the Titans, Warriors, Panthers and Wests Tigers all caught in a log-jam of 22 competition points.
Mitchell Moses was strong in the 13-point victory, however the win was soured by a knee injury to Luke Brooks with an update on his condition still to come.
Parramatta were gifted first points in the match through a penalty against Aaron Woods for knocking the ball out of Isaac De Gois’ hands at hooker, with Michael Gordon slotting over the conversion for a 2-0 lead after six minutes.
Moses continued his red-hot form from last week to set up the opening try of the match, combining well with Josh Aloiai who got away nice offload back to the playmaker, who then sliced through and got a miracle pass away to David Nofoaluma who went over to score.
Moses converted the try from out wide as Wests Tigers went ahead 6-2 after 12 minutes of play.
On the very next set, Aloiai was back involved again, with the second-rower slicing through the Eels defence just before halfway, drawing the fullback and giving it back on the inside to a flying James Tedesco.
Moses nailed the easy conversion from in front of the sticks, taking his side’s lead out to 12-2 after just 14 minutes.
With the Eels slow around the ruck, Wests Tigers were awarded a penalty of their own within kicking range, however Moses narrowly missed the attempt from 30 metres out in the 24th minute.
On the back of a 60-metre line-break from Kevin Naiqama, Wests Tigers were awarded another penalty, this time in much easier range for Moses who slotted it over for a 14-2 lead after 29 minutes.
Following on from a string of penalties to the Eels, they eventually clawed their way back into the match with a try to winger Vai Toutai, who strolled over in the left corner on the back of quick hands out the back.
Gordon converted the try and put the Eels back within six points, with Wests Tigers leading 14-8 after 37 minutes.
Despite one last throw of the dice from Parramatta just before the break, Wests Tigers went into the sheds with a narrow advantage.
With news coming out of the half-time break that Brooks would not return due to a knee concern, Chris Lawrence shifted to the halves with Kyle Lovett filling his spot in the backrow.
The opening stages of the second half saw a number of chances go begging for both sides, most notably Tedesco getting pulled down inches from the line in the 58th minute after hitting a nice inside ball from Joel Edwards at speed.
The first points of the second stanza came in the 64th minute, with Moses showing great composure to convert a penalty goal from 35 metres out to extend Wests Tigers lead to 16-8.
Another gift two points were handed to Wests Tigers in the 69th minute, with Eels defenders offside while trying to field a kick 10 metres out from their goal-line.
Moses slotted his second penalty goal of the night, making it an 18-8 lead going into the final ten minutes of play.
With a wealth of possession and field position, Wests Tigers finally capitalised on their chances with Moses grubbering through for Naiqama, with the ball deflecting and sitting up nicely for Sauaso Sue who scored his first try of the 2016 season.
Moses was unable to convert the try, with Wests Tigers holding a 22-8 advantage with just five minutes of play remaining.
With Tim Grant held up over the line on the play before, Moses put the icing on the cake with a cheeky drop goal on the next play to make the final score line 23-8.
Wests Tigers 23 (Tedesco, Nofoaluma, Sue tries; Moses 5/7 goals; Moses field goal) defeated Parramatta Eels 8 (Toutai try; Gordon 2/2 goals)