A determined effort from Wests Tigers Holden Cup side was enough to take down the Sydney Roosters today, falling 42-28 on Sunday afternoon at Campbelltown.
Despite leading the highly-fancied Roosters 16-12 at the break and mounting an impressive comeback despite losing a man to the sin-bin, Chris Hutchison's side showed plenty of resilence and heart against the Roosters, and should take plenty of confidence into next Saturday's clash against the high flying Sharks.
Both sides were close to scoring within the first 10 minutes but it was Wests Tigers' James Tautaiolefua who posted first points. Intercepting the ball five metres away from his own line, he ran the length of the field to score under the posts and followed his outstanding effort with a conversion to give his side a 6-0 lead.
The Roosters would get their first try of the game in the 21st minute when Bernard Lewis pushed past Wests Tigers defence to get over the line with a missed conversion from Jesse Marschke. Soon after they were in again with Nick O’Meley getting over the line, with Marschke's second missed conversion leaving it at 8-6.
Peter Pakoti put Wests Tigers back in front with a good finish in the 31st minute, before Trent Pye grabbed a crucial four-pointer to take Wests Tigers' lead out to 16-8 just before the break.
However, seconds from half-time, the Roosters hit back through Reuben Porter, with Marschke's third missed conversion leaving Wests Tigers with a 16-12 lead at the break.
The visitors come out firing in the second half, and quickly took back the lead with Lyndon Hills, Marschke and Jackson Frei all crossing within the opening 10 minutes of the half.
With the Roosters leading 26-16, Wests Tigers looked to hit back through Tautaiolefua as he crossed in the corner, but the play was called back after a forward pass through Jai Doolan.
That wouldn't stop the momentum of the Roosters, however, with Frei grabbing his second try of the game shortly after before Victor Radley also crossed to extend the lead to 36-16.
With Oscar Tui sent to the sin-bin for 10 minutes following a coming together between both sides, Wests Tigers continued to rally and began to cut away at the deficit with Daniel Peck and Max Burey both crossing for tries within quick succesion — cutting the visitors' lead to 36-28 with 10 minutes remaining in the match.
The gap could have been reduced further when Tony Tali came within a whisker of capping off an incredible team try, but was ruled to have lost the ball over the line instead.
And instead of the gap being down to just two points, the Roosters were able to preserve their eight-point lead and eventually work the ball down field in the final minutes — crossing in the corner through O'Meley again to ensure a 14-point win for the visitors that didn't truly reflect how close the game really was!
Wests Tigers will look to turn around their form next Saturday afternoon when they take on the top-of-the-table Cronulla Sharks at Southern Cross Group Stadium, with kickoff at 5:15pm.
Sydney Roosters 42 (Frei 2, O'Meley 2, Radley, Marschke, Hills, Porter, Lewis tries; Marschke 3/7, Frei 0/1, Cooper 0/1 goals) def. Wests Tigers 28 (Burey, Peck, Pye, Pakoti, Tautaiolefua tries; Tautatiolefua 4/5 goals) at Campbelltown Sports Stadium