Wests Tigers stormed home to defeat Sydney Roosters 16-8 in Friday night's pre-season trial at Gosford Stadium.
The Tigers trailed 8-0 early as Roosters halfback Sam Walker caused havoc but coach Michael Maguire would have been pleased by his side's defensive resolve before they piled on two late tries to snatch victory.
Rival props James Tamou and Lindsay Collins were placed on report for dangerous contact and are in doubt for the opening round.
However, there were no major injury concerns in an entertaining yet low scoring match, in which Walker, Joey Manu and Victor Radley impressed for the Roosters, while Jackson Hastings made a strong debut for the Tigers.
Hastings creates for Seyfarth
Hastings, his former Wigan team-mate Oliver Gildart, fellow recruit Tyrone Peachey and North Queensland-bound Luciano Leilua all had an impact on the game for the Tigers.
A try saving tackle and strip by winger David Nofoaluma on Paul Momirovski, who scored in the fourth minute, was a turning point in the second half.
Walker was forced from the field for a HIA just before halftime as the Tigers got on the board through a Zane Musgrove try and the Roosters hung on to an 8-6 lead until late in the match when Leilua and Alex Seyfarth scored.
Match: Roosters v Wests Tigers
Round 2 -
Venue: Central Coast Stadium, Gosford
- Tigers prop James Tamou was placed on report in the third minute for a dangerous challenge on Sam Walker after the first kick of the game by the Roosters halfback.
- Paul Momirovski celebrated his return to the Roosters after stints with the Tigers, Storm and Panthers by scoring a fourth minute try after Victor Radley combined with Sam Walker and Lachlan Lam to create an overlap.
Momirovski scores the opener
- Walker showed that he had suffered no ill effects from Tamou's tackle with a long break that resulted in Kevin Naiqama scoring on the next tackle after a cut out pass from Sam Verrills.
- The Tigers overcame their poor start to trail just 8-6 at halftime after prop Zane Musgrove crossed in the 37th minute.
- Tigers winger David Nofoaluma showed that he can not only score tries but can save them as well when he stopped Momirovski short of the line and stripped the ball from him early in the second half.
Nofoaluma strips to save a try
- Roosters prop Lindsay Collins was placed on report for a cannonball tackle on Tigers recruit Jackson Hastings in the 50th minute.
- Luciano Leilua put the Tigers ahead in the 67th minute when he swooped on a grubber from Jock Madden grubber to score under the posts.
- Alex Seyfarth sealed the win in the 74th minute after Tyrone Peachey and Hastings combined to put him over for a try in the corner.
Verrills puts Naiqama over
Play of the game
Strike second-rower Luciano Leilua put the Tigers ahead for the first time just 13 minutes from fulltime and he not only scored the try but put his side in position for five-eighth Jock Madden to put an attacking grubber behind the Roosters' defence.
Leilua stepped and fended his way through the middle of the field before sending hooker Rua Ngatikaura racing towards the try-line. Ngatikaura was stopped short of the line but Leilua chased hard after Madden grubbered and picked up the ball to score untouched.
Madden places it perfectly for Leilua
What they said
"Sam [Walker] is such a good footy player and you can see that but the reason he is not on the field is why he has got to get better at the tackling part of it. He is going to cause a lot of problems for defensive teams, he kicked beautifully tonight and I thought he attacked square, he attacked sideways so that was a really good start but we need him on the field for longer": Roosters coach Trent Robinson.
Musgrove scores as Walker injured in defence
"I was really pleased with Jacko [Hastings]. I think that the connections and the cohesion of our spine with Daine [Laurie] and Brooksy and Lids [Jacob Liddle] is looking good now. We have seen what they are capable of but it is about doing it week in and week out": Tigers coach Michael Maguire.
The Roosters host the Knights at the SCG on Saturday, March 12, and the Tigers meet the Storm at CommBank Stadium on the same evening.
With Luke Keary in doubt for the opening round, Roosters coach Trent Robinson used Joey Manu at five-eighth in his return from the fractured cheekbone that ended his 2021 season and he had a strong game.
Tigers coach Michael Maguire was happy with the resolve shown by his side after a poor start to the match and performances of Super League signings, Oliver Gildart and Jackson Hastings.
Tamou charged for contact on Walker
Both teams will be sweating on the match review charges, with Tigers prop James Tamou and Roosters front-rower Lindsay Collins on report, while Tigers hooker Jacob Liddle will undergo scans for a knee injury.