Wests Tigers forward Sauaso Sue will become the 20th player to play 100 first-grade games for the Club when he takes to Campbelltown Sports Stadium this Friday.
The Macquarie Fields Hawks junior has developed over time to be a vital cog in the Wests Tigers engine room with his versatility to play big minutes in the middle or edge.
However, what’s also developed in Sue’s game over the past year or so is the knack for finding the try-line. In his first 73 games, Sue had just two tries to his name, but has scored eight in his last 24 to sit with a tally of 10 career tries. More than that, however, has been the importance of his tries, with the big man crashing over on vital occasions.
And that’s what we’ll look at here — not necessarily the try itself, but the occasion and the importance of Sue crossing the try-line and what it meant for his Wests Tigers.
As always, the Top Five at Five is proudly brought to you by Share Care.
* * * * *
5. Wests Tigers v New Zealand Warriors — Round 25, 2016
Coming off a last start loss to the Penrith Panthers, Wests Tigers needed to win both of their remaining games in 2016 in order to have any shot at qualifying for their first finals appearance since 2011. What stood in their way was a high-octane New Zealand Warriors side desperate to deliver on the lofty expectations many had for them in 2016, and buoyed by a vocal Mount Smart Stadium crowd on the day. Rocked by sickness during the week, Wests Tigers quickly fell behind on the scoreboard as Bodene Thompson crashed over, and could have been forgiven for thinking their unlikely finals run was coming to an end. However, nobody told Sue that, as the big man combined with front rower Aaron Woods to crash over early in the first half and level the scores. It might not have seemed like a big moment at the time, but it certainly paved the way for a belief in Wests Tigers that day that they could indeed pull off the unlikely upset. More on how that ended up transpiring to come later in this Top Five at Five…
4. Wests Tigers v Canberra Raiders — Round 22, 2015
Heading to the nation’s capital needing to win to get off the bottom of the ladder, Wests Tigers came up against a Raiders outfit desperate to secure two points to keep their own finals hopes alive. In what was expected to be a showcase of two attacking teams, it didn’t take Wests Tigers long to get the scoring underway with the man of the moment, Sauaso Sue, crashing through Blake Austin and the Raiders’ defence to set the tone for the evening. Wests Tigers would go on to stun the home side 20-18, with the two points secured on that night the difference between Wests Tigers avoiding the wooden spoon.
3. Wests Tigers v New Zealand Warriors — Round 25, 2016
Back to our game before, and with Wests Tigers trailing by six points and time running out, something needed to happen for the Club to have any shot at making the finals. Up stepped Sue, running on to a short ball and barging his way through two attempted tackles, before beating Roger Tuivasa-Sheck on the line and rounding his way under the posts — giving the visitors a simple conversion to level the match and set up a dramatic finish with two late tries keeping Wests Tigers in the hunt for an unlikely finals finish.
2. Wests Tigers v Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles — Round 23, 2017
Down 20-6 at half-time, few gave Wests Tigers a chance to come back against the Sea Eagles when they met a fortnight ago at Leichhardt Oval. But thanks to a new belief instilled in the squad under Ivan Cleary, the home side rallied in the second half and soon stormed their way back in to the contest. Down by eight points with 10 minutes remaining, a determined run from Sauaso Sue took him through the tackle of former teammate Martin Taupau and two other defenders — beating fullback Tom Trbojevic to the line. With the conversion successful and the home side full of momentum following Sue’s try, the Club’s biggest comeback win in seven years would be complete moments later as Malakai Watene-Zelezniak crossed in the corner to ensure a 30-26 victory.
1. Wests Tigers v North Queensland Cowboys — Round 22, 2016
All but down and out of the finals race in 2016, wins against the Dragons and Eels the two weeks beforehand had given Wests Tigers a sniff of hope to still make the top eight, but standing in their way would be the defending premiers in North Queensland. Leichhardt Oval turned on a cracking Sunday afternoon and the footy soon followed, with both sides locked in an engrossing encounter. However, with the game in the balance and Wests Tigers holding on to a slender lead late on, it was Sue who popped up again close to the line — charging his way through the defence before planting it down under pressure from Lachlan Coote. Sue’s try send the home crowd in to a noise even Leichhardt Oval was surprised by — a voracious roar with the knowledge that Wests Tigers had won three in a row and were still alive in the hunt for a top eight finish.