Wests Tigers have gone down to the Sydney Roosters in an entertaining contest today at Allianz Stadium, with the home side running out 16-14 victors in the end.
The result sees Wests Tigers end Round 13 outside the top eight for the first time this season, with an important clash against the Cronulla Sharks next Sunday at Southern Cross Group Stadium.
It was all Wests Tigers inside the opening 20 minutes as the visitors took the game to the Roosters, and were considerably unlucky not to find themselves in front when Benji Marshall got on the end of a kick from Luke Brooks — only for the ball to come loose in the in-goal as he went to score.
The Roosters would have their opportunities too, but sturdy goal-line defence kept the home side at bay on a number of occasions, and the score unchanged despite what as a high-quality start to the game.
Esan Marsters would finally put Wests Tigers on the board when repeated infringements gifted the centre two points from in front of the posts, giving the visitors a deserved 2-0 lead after 26 minutes of play.
An injury to David Nofoaluma would put a dampener on the first half for Wests Tigers, with a knee issue to the winger forcing a shift that saw Chris Lawrence move out wide and Mahe Fonua switch sides.
That would prove to be a crucial decision in the context of the match too, as an error from Fonua off a cross-field kick from Cooper Cronk allowed Daniel Tupou to cross for the simplest of tries — taking the Roosters winger's strike rate to an incredible 11 tries in six games against Wests Tigers.
Blake Ferguson showed good touch to convert from out wide and make amends for his earlier errors, before slotting a penalty goal after the siren to give the Roosters a surprising 8-2 lead at the break.
Wests Tigers came out strong again in the second half and had chances to level the match, but once again couldn't take advantage of their opportunities — allowing the Roosters to work the ball down field and extend their lead further through a second try to Tupou and a penalty goal to Sio Siua Taukeiaho.
Taukeiaho was unable to add the extras from the sideline, though, giving Wests Tigers a sniff of a comeback with the lead at just two converted tries heading in to the final 20 minutes of the game.
A desperate play from Tim Grant would keep Wests Tigers in the contest with 15 minutes to play — somehow getting on the end of a kick from Josh Reynolds to cut the Roosters lead to just six points.
The visitors were finishing the stronger of the two sides and looked to go on the attack inside the Roosters 10m line once again, only for a controversial penalty call against the home side negating a knock on. That would see the Tricolours work the ball down field and once again push their lead beyond a converted try, with a penalty goal to Taukeiaho taking the score to 16-8 inside the final 10 minutes of the game.
Reynolds would set Allianz Stadium up for a grandstand finish when he crashed over from marker inside the final five minutes of play, with Marsters converting to cut the score to just 16-14.
Corey Thompson would go agonisingly close to stealing the win over the Roosters for the second time this year with a diving effort in the corner, only for Tupou to roll him over and save the four-pointer.
Sydney Roosters 16 (Tupou 2 tries; Taukeiaho 2/3, Ferguson 2/3 goals) def. Wests Tigers 14 (Grant, Reynolds tries; Marsters 3/3 goals) at Allianz Stadium