Wests Tigers have made it back-to-back wins and kept their finals hopes alive with a determined 42-14 victory over the St. George-Illawarra Dragons today at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
After piling on the points last week against the Knights, Michael Maguire's side were made to work at times for the two points but a brilliant showing again from Benji Marshall proved the difference as Wests Tigers fought their way to the win.
With Canberra's thrilling Golden Point victory over Cronulla earlier in the day, the result means Wests Tigers can secure their first finals berth since 2011 if they can defeat the Sharks next Sunday afternoon at Leichhardt Oval.
On the ground where he made his first-grade debut nearly six years ago to the day, it was Luke Brooks who came up with the first attacking play of the game when he blocked a kick near his own line before racing up the other end of the field.
Off the ensuing play, Benji Marshall spun the ball wide to Paul Momirovski, who crashed over to give the visitors a 6-0 lead inside the opening five minutes.
The Dragons would hit back soon after when an error from Robert Jennings allowed Euan Aitken to ground a loose ball in the in-goal, with Gareth Widdop making no mistake from out wide to level the match at six-all after 15 minutes of play.
A second error in the in-goal from Wests Tigers would allow the Dragons to take the lead soon after with a penalty goal to Widdop giving the hosts a 8-6 advantage.
That would be short-lived, however, with Brooks again playing a crucial role in attack to send Luke Garner over for his second four-pointer in as many weeks.
Momirovski had no problems adding the extras to give Michael Maguire's side a 12-8 lead at the half-time break.
Having corralled an intercept last week, it was more of the same for Momirovski just three minutes in to the second half when he collected a cut-out to race away and score his second of the day, with a third goal taking his personal tally to 14.
The Dragons were continuing to find joy by putting the ball in the air, and they would again reap instant reward when Corey Thompson came up short from a bomb by Ben Hunt — allowing Widdop to stroll over for the simplest of tries.
The Englishman again no problems converting to cut the score to 18-14.
Momirovski's big day wasn't finished, however, with the centre producing his best finish of the afternoon off another Marshall pass to complete his hat-trick.
After producing a Man of the Match performance last week, Marshall put the icing on the cake with 10 minutes to go when he danced his way through the defence to score, with Momirovski continuing his perfect day with the boot to make it 30-14.
Brooks then added a final try with a length of the field effort in the final moments of the game to ensure Wests Tigers finished with a big win, before Elijah Taylor also bagged himself a try in the waning minutes to send the crowd in to raptures.
Momirovski made it a perfect afternoon with the boot to finish with 26 points to his name — the most by a Wests Tigers player since Brett Hodgson's 30-point tally against the Cowboys in the 2005 finals series.
The win sees Wests Tigers finish Round 25 in ninth position — setting up an enthralling contest against the Sharks next Sunday at Leichhardt Oval.
Wests Tigers 42 (Momirovski 3, Garner, Brooks, Taylor tries; Momirovski 7/7 goals) def. St. George-Illawarra Dragons 14 (Aitken, Widdop tries; Widdop 3/3 goals) at Sydney Cricket Ground
Match: Dragons v Wests Tigers
Round 24 -
Venue: Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney
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