It was a dominant performance from Wests Tigers on Thursday night as Michael Maguire's side made it back-to-back wins with a 28-4 victory over the North Queensland Cowboys.
Playing in front of a small but voracious Leichhardt Oval crowd, Maguire's side led from start to finish to record their ninth win of the season and move — albeit temporarily — in to seventh spot on the Telstra Premiership ladder.
The win was a special night for Life Member Robbie Farah, who celebrated his 301st career appearance with his penultimate game at the suburban ground with one final fixture at Leichhardt Oval to come in Round 25 later this year.
After scoring a crucial try last week against the Knights, Paul Momirovski was back at it again on Thursday night with another four-pointer — this time finishing off a clever scrum move to put the home side up 16-0 in the first half. The try was Momirovski's third of the season and third in the past four weeks, with the winger producing a dominant performance all night to terrorise the Cowboys' right edge. Momirovski ran for a team high 173 metres in the win, with his 18 carries also the most from any player in Wests Tigers' side. David Nofoaluma (138 metres) and Ryan Matterson (126 metres) also finished with impressive individual totals, while Josh Aloiai (106 metres) continued his good form since starting up front.
With his second try in as many weeks, Robbie Farah made it 70 career tries and 250 try involvements for his career with another classy four-pointer against the Cowboys. Farah's record of 250 try involvements in 301 games is a fair record, and just shy of the one held by his close friend and teammate Benji Marshall, who moved to 260 try involvements from his 304 career games with a wonderful bit of play late on to send Esan Marsters over for his second try of the game.
Farah gets 70th career try
It's becoming one of the real bogey trips in the NRL with Wests Tigers again chalking up a win at Leichhardt Oval over North Queensland. The Cowboys have lost five of their last six games against Wests Tigers at all venues, but also eight in a row at Leichhardt Oval, having not tasted success at the suburban venue since 2000. The last time the visitors got a win at Leichhardt saw now Coach Paul Green running around at halfback — partnering a young Scott Prince in the halves.
Averaging just three linebreaks per game this season, Michael Maguire's side again flexed their attacking muscle with six linebreaks against the Cowboys — almost all of which directly lead to tries for the home side. Wests Tigers rank 13th in the competition for linebreaks this season but certainly gave their average a boost with the dominant performance, while the Cowboys (who rank last in the league for linebreaks with 2.6) saw theirs drop further with just two linebreaks on the night.
Thursday's game — while featuring sides outside the top four — certainly saw a coming together of two teams who can power their way through the middle with both Wests Tigers and the Cowboys sitting inside the top three for post-contact metres per game. With a whopping 547 post-contact metres on the night, Wests Tigers moved to the top of the league in this regard — now averaging 454 metres per game — while the Cowboys moved to third with 542 post-contact metres bumping their average up to 451. Despite leading the way as a team, Wests Tigers interestingly don't have a single player feature prominently in this statistic with Nofoaluma (23rd in league) and Matterson (25th in league) the side's best.
Sing the team song with the boys!
Michael Maguire said post-match that it was the side's best defensive performance of the season and it's hard to argue with that as Wests Tigers conceded their lowest total all year (four points) and missed just 24 tackles on the night. Incredibly, that number is above the team's season average of just 23.3 missed tackles per game which is by far and away the best in the NRL. Having ranked dead last in this statistic last season, it's certainly been a marked improvement from the side in 2019 and one they'll be hoping to continue with a big finish to the year ahead!
Match: Bulldogs v Wests Tigers
Round 21 -
Venue: ANZ Stadium, Sydney