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Young guns start strong en route to trial victory

A strong performance from young hooker Jake Simpkin has paved the way for a good win by Wests Tigers in their Jersey Flegg trial match tonight against the Penrith Panthers.

Playing in his first game for the club since arriving on a Development Contract to Wests Tigers this year, Simpkin scored the first try of the game and set up two others to help Wayne Lambkin's side to a 22-18 victory in wet conditions.

In a promising sign for the club ahead of the 2020 season, Wests Tigers chalked up a 22-0 lead over the Panthers midway through the second half before a number of positional changes allowed the home side to post some late points.

Starting props Mavoni Tuifua and Etuale Lui were extremely strong in their opening stint and paved the way for Wests Tigers to lead 10-0 at the break, with Josh Rizk also crossing for a superb 90m individual try down the right wing.

Lock Ray Jankovic got in on the try-scoring action shortly after half-time to take the score out to 16-0 for Wests Tigers before halfback Ben Stevanovic capped off a solid night out for the halfback with a determined finish late on — converting his own try to give him a tally of 10 points on the night.

With a number of late changes for the visitors, Penrith took advantage of several new combinations with several late tries out wide, but it was still a strong showing nonetheless from Wests Tigers ahead of their third and final trial match next week.

Wests Tigers 22 (Simpkin, Rizk, Jankovic, Stevanovic tries; Stevanovic 2/3 goals) def. Penrith Panthers 18 at Panthers Stadium