Wests Tigers go down in top-of-the-table clash
Wests Tigers Tarsha Gale side have suffered their first defeat of the season this weekend, going down 46-16 to the top-of-the-table Cronulla Sharks.
Despite the heavy defeat to a Sharks side that has been dominant all year, Wests Tigers are guaranteed a finals berth as they currently sit in third position with one game remaining in the regular season.
With Illawarra (currently second) still yet to play defending premiers Penrith and then Cronulla next week, a win in the final round could see Wests Tigers end the year in second position — a remarkable achievement given the team ended the 2017 season last and winless in every match.
Friday's game was always going to be a tough ask against the Sharks, who raced to a 16-0 lead in as many minutes before Emily Curtain crossed just after the first quarter to cut the hosts' lead to 16-6.
That try didn't dent the momentum of the home side, however, with Sariah Paki grabbing a first half hat-trick and Temukisa Ioane also crossing to take the scoreline to 32-6 at half-time.
Natalina Suaalii and Curtain both crossed for tries shortly after the break to take the score to 32-16 with an incredible comeback brewing, but there would be no stopping the competition favourites, who scored three tries in the final 10 minutes to ensure another dominant victory and with it, the minor premiership.
Wests Tigers will look to bounce back and secure a top two finish next Saturday when they take on South Sydney at Leichhardt Oval, with the finals series to commence the weekend of April 14-15.
Cronulla Sharks 46 (Paki 3, Nathan 2, White 2, Ioane, Dodd tries; Dodd 5/9 goals) def. Wests Tigers 16 (E. Curtain 2, Suaalii tries; E. Curtain 2/3 goals) at Sharks Academy Field