Wests Tigers Jersey Flegg side have drawn 28-28 with the New Zealand Warriors in thrilling circumstances in their first game of the season today at Campbelltown Sports Stadium.
Wayne Lambkin's side opened the scoring in the second minute of the game and never looked back, with a first half double to Liam Scolari paving the way for a comfortable lead at the break. The Warriors hit back in the second half, however, and looked to have stolen victory before Jock Madden ensured his team would walk away with at least one point with his second try moments before full-time.
Madden and Ben Stevanovic looked good to start the year, while hooker Rua Ngati and fullback Logen Dillon also added plenty around the ruck.
It was the damaging right edge combination of Tommy Talau and Scolari that combined to put Wests Tigers in front in their first attacking set of the game, with Madden converting from the sideline to give the hosts a 6-0 advantage.
The Warriors would hit back soon after, however, with a determined run from Isaiah Vagana seeing the forward crash over next to the posts to level the scores.
Stevanovic would put promising centre Zac Cini over in the 13th minute to put Wests Tigers back in front, before Madden doubled their lead shortly after with a clever run close to the line — converting from close range to take the score to 16-6.
Talau would grab his second try assist and Scolari his second try just before the break off the back of a towering bomb from Madden, with the halfback nailing his second sideline conversion of the day to take the lead to 22-6 at half-time.
A slow start to the second half for Wests Tigers saw a number of handling errors gift field position to the Warriors, who made the most of their chances with tries to Brody Tamarua and Casey Smith cutting the lead to 22-16 with 15 minutes to play.
Temple Smith would sensationally level the game with 10 minutes to play when a kick through was soccered twice before being dived on in the in-goal, with Tamaura adding his third conversion of the afternoon to take the scoreline to 22-22.
Full of running and with every bounce of the ball going their way, the Warriors would make it 22 unanswered second half points when a play that involved three kicks across field ended up with Tamarua diving over for his second try.
Madden would ensure that Wests Tigers' first half efforts didn't go unrewarded, however, with a brilliant bit of play alongside Stevanovic putting the halfback over for his second try of the day to level the game at 28-28 as time expired.
Wests Tigers Jersey Flegg will look secure their first win of the season when they take on the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs next Sunday as part of another triple-header with Canterbury Cup and NRL at Campbelltown Sports Stadium.
Wests Tigers 28 (Scolari 2, Madden 2, Cini, tries; Madden 4/5 goals) drew with New Zealand Warriors 28 (Tamarua 2, Vagana, C.Smith, T.Smith tries; Tamarua 4/5 goals) at Campbelltown Sports Stadium
Match: Wests Tigers v Warriors
Round 2 -
Venue: Campbelltown Stadium