Wests Tigers bow out in Grand Final qualifier

Wests Tigers Tarsha Gale side have seen their incredible season come to a close today, going down to 26-16 to the Newcastle Knights in their Grand Final qualifier.

Having gone through the 2017 season without recording a single victory, to fall just one game shy of the Grand Final remains one of the more incredible transformations seen at the club and leaves the team in good stead to further build on their success in the womens game in the near future.

Newcastle will face Cronulla at Leichhardt Oval next Saturday in the 2018 Tarsha Gale Cup Grand Final.

After a penalty in the opening set of the match, Newcastle would post first points after just three minutes when Jasmine Strange crashed over out wide, before Tazmyne Luschwitz doubled the Knights' lead soon after with a clever step — giving the Novacastrians a 10-0 lead after as many minutes of play.

With the Knights on top, a clever one-on-one strip would put Wests Tigers on the attack for the first time in the game and it wouldn't take long for that to translate in to points for the home side.

The match-winner in the Qualifying Final, Emily Curtain would dive her way over from close range to cut the Knights' lead to 10-4, with the unsuccessful conversion leaving the score as such at the first break.

Despite an array of attacking opportunities, Wests Tigers were unable to convert their dominance in to points and would soon be made to pay for their wayward attack with Newcastle working the ball down field and restoring their two-try lead as Strange crossed for her second try of the day.

After some clever work down the right, Litiana Smith-Warwick would cross before half-time to keep Wests Tigers in the contest, with Curtain's missed conversion leaving the score at 14-8 at the main break.

Wests Tigers would cut the lead to just two points when captain Natalina Suaalii produced a brilliant individual effort from inside her own half, but Olivia Glanville hit back quickly for the Knights.

Treiahana Lake's diving effort shortly before the three-quarter break again brought Wests Tigers within two points, but a tough sideline conversion for Curtain was waved away once more.

However, the Knights would land a killer blow right on the stroke of three-quarter time, with Emily Hartman going over in the corner to keep Newcastle's lead at 22-16.

The killer try would come nine minutes from full-time when a wayward pass somehow ended up in the hands of Pullman, who sprinted away down the sideline to push the Knights' lead beyond a converted try.

Sophie Curtain looked to have set the match up for a grandstand finish when she burrowed over with four minutes on the clock, but she was adjudged to have knocked it on — seeing the Knights home in a thriller.

Newcastle Knights 26 (Strange 2, Luschwitz, Glanville, Hartman, Pullman tries; Pullman 1/6 goals) def. Wests Tigers 16 (E.Curtain, Smith-Warwick, Suaalii, Lake tries; E.Curtain 0/4 goals)