Wests Tigers have battled bravely but ultimately come up short against Parramatta Eels in Round 17 as the visitors fought their way to a 30-18 win on Sunday at Bankwest Stadium.
In a game highlighted by Benji Marshall's 300th NRL appearance, it was the visitors who rode their luck and some critical calls in the first half to lead by 12 points at the break, before doing enough in the second half to get the job done.
The loss leaves Wests Tigers two points outside the top eight and with work to do in order to secure a finals finish, with a crucial trip coming up next week to the nation's capital as they face the top-four Canberra Raiders.
After a tight start broken only by a Mitchell Moses penalty goal, it was fitting that Marshall would turn provider for the opening try of the game — creating space out wide for Corey Thompson to crash over for his seventh try of the season.
A second penalty goal to Moses shortly after would level the game once again, before a series of tight calls put the visitors on the attack and in to the lead as Brad Takairangi bagged a double to take the score to 16-4 at the break.
Needing to start the second half on top if they were any hope of hitting back in the match, Wests Tigers did just that with a win against the scrum feed, before David Nofoaluma crossed in the corner to cut the deficit to single figures.
The hosts looked to have made it a second in as many minutes when Nofoaluma and Thompson combined for the fullback to score under the posts, only for the try to be overturned by the Bunker upon review for an offside penalty.
Off the back of their lucky break, Parramatta would extend their lead through Blake Ferguson after Takairangi's bat back put the winger over out wide, with Moses' sideline conversion pushing the lead back beyond two converted tries.
Wests Tigers wouldn't go away, however, and after a clever cut-out from Marshall put Moses Mbye away down the left edge, the visitors were back in the contest once more with Robert Jennings atoning for his earlier error to touch down out wide.
Takairangi would put the result beyond doubt with eight minutes to play when he crossed for his third try of the day off a clever pass from Nathan Brown, with Moses converting to take the scoreline out to 28-12 to ensure the win.
Nofoaluma would cross late to cap off a strong afternoon for the winger, but it would be too little too late for Michael Maguire's side with the result confirmed.
Parramatta Eels 30 (Takairangi 3, Ferguson tries; Moses 7/7 goals) def. Wests Tigers 18 (Nofoaluma 2, Thompson, Jennings tries; Mbye 1/2, Marsters 0/2 goals) at Bankwest Stadium
Match: Wests Tigers v Eels
Round 17 -
Venue: Bankwest Stadium, Sydney