Wests Tigers have started their 2021 campaign with a 28-22 loss to Sydney Roosters in a trial at Kirkham Oval.
The match was headed for a draw before Roosters youngster Naufahu Whyte crossed in the final minutes to give the visitors the upper hand.
Moments earlier, young winger Zac Cini crossed with nine minutes remaining to lock the scores in front of a capacity crowd at Kirkham Oval.
Although Wests Tigers weren’t able to record the victory, there were plenty positives signs for the side ahead of the start of the 2021 NRL season.
Daine Laurie looked promising in his time at five-eighth and fullback while new recruits Tuki Simpkins and Stefano Utoikamanu were both strong in their first stint.
2021 Match Highlights: Trial, Wests Tigers vs. Roosters
Jacob Liddle offered spark late in the first half when introduced for young rake Jake Simpkin, with the pair splitting time in the number nine jersey.
It wasn’t an ideal start for Michael Maguire’s men with the Sydney Roosters scoring in the opening minutes of the match through youngster Sione Hopoate.
It didn’t take long for the home side to hit back when Simpkins barged his way over to score his first try in Wests Tigers colours, locking the scores at six-all after 10 minutes.
Sydney Roosters took the lead back after 20 minutes with Ronald Volkman scoring following a swift chip-and-chase in the lead-up.
Young forward Alex Seyfarth showed everyone how to never give up on a kick-chase after he chased down a clever kick from Jock Madden that behind the line. With the defender slipping over, Seyfarth pounced on the ball to score the try and level the scores on the stroke of half time.
Ben Thomas and Allan Fitzgibbon traded tries to start the second half before the visitors one-upped the home side to take the win late on.
Wests Tigers will field a full-strength sided next Sunday when they take on the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles in an NRL trial match at Leichhardt Oval.
Sydney Roosters 28 (Volkman 2, Whyte, Thomas, Hopoate tries; Volkman 4/5 goals) def. Wests Tigers 22 (Simpkins, Seyfarth, Fitzgibbon, Cini tries; Madden 3/3, Field 0/1 goals) at Kirkham Oval