Wests Tigers Holden Cup have gone down in heartbreaking fashion to the Parramatta Eels today, with a try in the final minute ensuring a 24-20 defeat.
Coming in to the match sitting in 15th position, it was a brilliant attacking display from Chris Hutchison's side that paved the way for a commanding 16-4 lead at half-time, before the Eels stormed back with 20 unanswered points to snatch a 24-20 victory.
The match started in less than ideal fashion when Wests Tigers dropped the ball off the kickoff, with Greg Leleisiuao grabbing a try in the corner to give the visitors an early 4-0 lead.
After a shallow kick from the line, Oscar Tui leveled the match in the 20th minute when he soared highest to take the kick, with Tautaiolefua missing the conversion to leave it at 4-4.
In back to back tries, Jai Doolan was able to catch a high bombed ball and planted it just meters from the goalposts shortly after. Tautaiolefua converted, raising the score to 10-4.
A rare penalty goal in the 33rd minute saw Wests Tigers extend their lead to 12-4, before a try to Jamin Williams with a speedy run just before half-time took the lead to 16-4.
Again Tautaiolefua was unable to convert, leaving half-time lead at 12 points.
Wests Tigers extended their lead in the second half when Toni Tali showed great strength to cross, with another unsuccessful conversion from Tautaiolefua leaving the score at 20-4.
From there, the Eels began their second half comeback with Haze Dunster crossing twice, while Denzal Tonise also bagged himself a four-pointer to bring the margin to just two points.
Hanging on to a 20-18 lead late in the contest with Trent Pye helped off to injury, Wests Tigers would be dealt a cruel blow when Oregon Kaufusi charged on to an inside ball — giving the Eels a thrilling victory in front of a strong crowd at ANZ Stadium.
Parramatta Eels 24 (Dunster 2, Leleisiuao, Tonise, Kaufusi tries; Taipari 2/5 goals) def. Wests Tigers 20 (Tui, Doolan, Williams, Tali tries; Tautaiolefua 2/5 goals)