Wests Tigers have set up a winner-takes-all clash with the Cronulla Sharks at Leichhardt Oval on Sunday after keeping their season alive with a big win over the Dragons in Round 24.
Needing to win in order to stay in touch with the top eight, Michael Maguire's side started slow against the Red V but soon clicked in to gear — running in five second half tries to one to emerge with a 42-14 win in the end.
Paul Momirovski was the standout for Wests Tigers — bagging his first career hat-trick and a personal points tally of 26 points — while evergreen Benji Marshall laid on two try assists and a try of his own to help his side over the line.
With Cronulla falling to Canberra earlier in the day in Golden Point, the result sees Wests Tigers move level with the eighth-placed Sharks on 24 points heading in to the final game of the regular season next Sunday at Leichhardt Oval.
2019 Match Highlights: Rd.24, Dragons vs. Wests Tigers
The winner of that game will finish the year in eighth, while the loser will likely finish ninth (depending on the result of Penrith v Newcastle later that day).
There's also a chance that the winner could end up in seventh, but that would require Brisbane to lose to the Bulldogs on Saturday night.
Remarkably, Sunday's game against the Sharks will be the first meeting between the two sides this year and the first time Cronulla will face Wests Tigers at Leichhardt Oval since the early rounds of the 2017 season.
The Sharks have won just five games at Leichhardt Oval since 1985.
Maguire provides update on Farah availability for Leichhardt showdown
In other grades, it was a disappointing end to the season for the club's Jersey Flegg side — who staged an incredible comeback against the New Zealand Warriors despite falling behind early. Needing to win to finish the year in eighth, the visitors clawed their way back to within two points before scoring after the siren — only for the try to be called back for a forward pass that handed the Warriors the win.
The club's Canterbury Cup side, Western Suburbs, were also unable to end the year on a winning note as they went down to the Warriors in their final game of 2019, with the hosts holding on for a nervy 24-20 win at Mount Smart Stadium.
Wests did secure a finals berth in the Ron Massey Cup, however, with the Magpies posting a 40-22 win over Brothers to end the regular season in sixth position.
They will face Cabramatta in an Elimination Final next Saturday.
WESTS TIGERS RESULTS: ROUND 24
NRL — Wests Tigers 42 def. St. George-Illawarra Dragons 14 (Details)
Canterbury Cup — NZ Warriors 24 def. Western Suburbs Magpies 20 (Details)
Jersey Flegg — NZ Warriors 22 def. Wests Tigers 18 (Details)
Ron Massey Cup — Western Suburbs Magpies 40 def. Brothers 22 (Details)
WESTS TIGERS FIXTURES: ROUND 25
Saturday, September 7 at St. Mary's Leagues Stadium
5:00pm — Ron Massey Cup, Western Suburbs (6th) vs. Cabramatta (7th)
Sunday, September 8 at Leichhardt Oval
2:00pm — NRL, Wests Tigers (9th) vs. Cronulla Sharks (8th)
Match: Wests Tigers v Sharks
Round 25 -
Venue: Leichhardt Oval, Sydney