Wests Tigers have recorded back-to-back wins for a second time this season with a 24-16 victory over the North Queensland Cowboys.
The eight-point win lifts Wests Tigers to within one win of the top eight, and regardless of other results across the NRL in Round 22, they’ll finish the weekend just two competition points outside a finals position.
Halfback Luke Brooks produced two try assists on a night Michael Maguire’s men scored four tries to three to seal their eighth win of 2021.
It wasn’t the most polished performance by Wests Tigers, although Maguire will be pleased with his side’s defensive efforts as they leave Townsville with two competition points.
Booming prop Stefano Utoikamanu was first to score when he stormed onto a ball from Luke Brooks to cross under the posts for a 6-0 lead after eight minutes.
Big Stefano crashes through for the first try
The visitors doubled their advantage after 20 minutes when Moses Mbye sent a cut-out ball to Ken Maumalo, who scored down the left edge for his fifth four-pointer in Wests Tigers colours.
The Cowboys were able to hit back just before the break when rookie Jeremiah Nanai scored after a bit of razzle-dazzle, including two kicks, from the home side.
It was a scrappy start to the second half, but Wests Tigers managed to be first to trouble the scorers when Brooks sent Kelma Tuilagi over the line for his first career try in just his third NRL match.
Kelma Tuilagi gets his first try in the NRL
Good footwork from Adam Doueihi sent Tommy Talau over for the game’s fifth try as Wests Tigers extended their lead to 18 points.
Halfback Tom Dearden and winger Ben Hampton scored late tries for the Cowboys to give the locals a glimmer of hope, but the away side held on for victory.
Wests Tigers will now be looking for three-straight wins when they face the Cronulla Sharks next Saturday afternoon.
Wests Tigers 24 (Utoikamanu, Maumalo, Tuilagi, Talau tries; Doueihi 4/4 goals) def. North Queensland Cowboys 16 (Nanai, Dearden, Hampton tries; Holmes 2/4 goal) at Queensland Country Bank Stadium.
Match: Cowboys v Wests Tigers
Round 22 -
Venue: Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Townsville