Wests Tigers Jersey Flegg have continued their late season push to the finals with another dominant attacking display on Saturday, running out 34-14 winners over the Sea Eagles.
Boosted by the inclusion of a number of players who had been featuring in the club's Canterbury Cup side in the last month, Wests Tigers took their time to find their rhythm against a gritty Manly-Warringah side, but a strong second in attack blew the home side away and gave the visitors another strong victory.
It was the right edge of Wests Tigers that caused all sorts of problems for the Sea Eagles at HE Laybutt Sporting Complex, with five of the six tries coming from breaks down that flank. And had the visitors kept their discipline, it could easily have been more than the 20-point win it was for Wayne Lambkin's side in the end.
NRL squad member Dylan Smith got the scoring going after six minutes when he finished off a move down the right from captain Curtis Wilson, before momentary lapses in defence would allow the Sea Eagles to hit back and take the lead.
With the visitors guilty of missing several chances, it appeared the home side would take their narrow 10-6 lead in to the sheds before a break from Jock Madden right on the stroke of half-time would see the halfback send his fullback Smith over for his second and ensure Wests Tigers went to half-time with a 14-10 lead in tow.
Madden kept his fine form going shortly after the break when he took it himself from the scrum and kept the Sea Eagles napping down the short side, before Wilson broke through again down the right to score from the ensuing kickoff.
When Wilson put Shondre Lee-Silva over untouched for his side's fourth try in 15 minutes, the game had well and truly been blown open with Wests Tigers threatening to amass a strong total and reduce their for-and-against.
The home side wouldn't stop trying, however, and were rewarded for their efforts when Max Lehmann bagged his second after some good second-phase play.
Wests Tigers would have the final say when Mavoni Tuifua crashed over inside the final two minutes of the game, with Madden landing his fifth conversion of the afternoon to put the visitors back up by 20 and inside the winners circle again.
With two big wins in their past two outings, Wests Tigers have climbed to equal ninth on the Jersey Flegg ladder and now sit just one point behind the New Zealand Warriors, with a crucial clash coming up next week against the fifth-placed Bulldogs.
From there, the young guns then take on the Panthers (3rd) at Penrith before ending the season with matches against the Thunderbolts (12th) and Warriors (8th).
Wests Tigers 34 (Smith 2, Madden, Wilson, Lee-Silva, Tuifua tries; Madden 5/6 goals) def. Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 14 (Lehmann 2, Titmuss tries; Birt 1/3 goals) at HE Laybutt Sporting Complex
Match: Sea Eagles v Wests Tigers
Round 20 -
Venue: HE Laybutt Field, Sydney