Wests Tigers Holden Cup side have produced a strong attacking performance to upset the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 36-30 in their Round 23 clash this afternoon.
Leading 36-6 midway through the second half before dropping off to allow the visitors back in to the contest, it was a determined effort in the end to hold on by Chris Hutchison's side — recording just their fourth win of the season and their first home victory for season 2017.
Wests Tigers halfback Gus Garzaniti was the first try scorer of the game and a conversion from James Tautaiolefua started the game at 6-0 after 12 minutes of play.
The home side quickly extended their lead to 18-0 in as many minutes with Rhys Sciglitano and Peter Pakoti both proving too strong for the Sea Eagles' defence, before Jakob Giles took the lead to 24-0 with a determined run right on the half hour mark.
The visitors would pull one back in the 35th minute with Blake Andrews pushing past the defence to score, with Jade Anderson converting to give Wests Tigers a 24-6 half-time lead.
Buoyed by a vocal Leichhardt Oval crowd, the home side quickly continued their attacking ways in the second half with Daniel Peck grubbering close to the line for Sciglitano to score his second of the day, before linking up together on a short ball to complete his hat-trick.
James Tautaiolefua continued his perfect afternoon with the boot landing both conversions to give Wests Tigers a seemingly unassailable 36-6 lead with 20 minutes to go.
However, as they had done the week before, Manly continued to fight back in the match and turned the contest on its head. Tries to Manase Fainu, Jesse Martin and Tevita Funa in consecutive sets had the home side panicking, with the visitors cutting the lead to 36-18.
They continued their comeback with tries to Haumole Olakauatu and Semisi Kioa making it just a one score game, with Anderson's conversion taking the score to 36-30.
Inside the final five minutes of the match, the visitors had a chance to lock the scores up, but some smart defensive play from Toni Tali ensured the win — despite Jai Doolan missing a late penalty goal after the siren to leave Wests Tigers with a deserved 36-30 victory in the end.
NYC FULL TIME — Wests Tigers 36 (Sciglitano 3, Giles, Pakoti, Garzaniti tries; Tautaiolefua 6/6 goals) def. Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 30 (Kioa, Olakauatu, Funa, Martin, Fainu, Andrews tries; Anderson 3/6 goals) at Leichhardt Oval