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Throwback Thursday: Wests Tigers vs Cronulla Sharks

After a tight defeat to the Gold Coast Titans in Round 4, Wests Tigers will travel to Pointsbet Stadium in search of their first win of the 2022 season.

Dating back to 2000, Wests Tigers have played thirty-three matches against the Cronulla Sharks and come out victorious on eighteen occasions.

The joint-venture has often found success in the Sutherland Shire, chalking up eight wins and one draw in their fifteen appearances at Shark Park.

Ahead of Sunday afternoon’s match, we’re partnering with Boomer Home Loans to go back and revisit three of the most memorable clashes between Wests Tigers and the Cronulla Sharks.

Round 1, 2012

After a heartbreaking loss to the Warriors in the 2011 semi-final, Wests Tigers entered the 2012 season with a squad that appeared well-balanced with youth and experience. 

Their first assignment saw the club host the Cronulla Sharks at Leichhardt Oval, with former Wests Tigers Bryce Gibbs and Andrew Fifita making their club debuts for the away side.

It took less than two minutes for the hosts to get their account underway, with Benji Marshall placing a pinpoint kick for winger Beau Ryan to score in the second set of the match.

Marshall soon extended the lead with his trademark sidestep, weaving past Paul Gallen and Nathan Gardner to score his first try of the new season.

Future Blues captain James Tedesco made a positive start to his NRL debut, but it was unfortunately cut short by a season-ending ACL injury before halftime.

Back-to-back tries to Colin Best and Todd Carney gave the Sharks the lead in the second half, but a late left-to-right shift provided Wests Tigers with the opportunity to equalise in the 77th minute.

After tip-toeing down the sideline, Beau Ryan regathered his own grubber kick to level the scores at 16-all, sending the game to golden point and giving Benji Marshall the opportunity to become the hero.

Receiving the ball thirty-five metres out, the ‘King of Leichhardt’ calmly slotted a field-goal to send the home crowd into raptures and provide his side with their first win of the season.

Round 23, 2009

In one of the tightest finishes to an NRL season on record, just two points separated the teams placed in fifth and twelfth at the start of Round 23, 2009.

Sitting in seventh, Wests Tigers travelled to Toyota Stadium in search of a much needed two points against the struggling Cronulla Sharks, who had only chalked up five victories across the year.

What followed was an emphatic statement from the away side, who racked up 56 points to break the club record for the most points scored as a team in a match.

Benji Marshall, Blake Ayshford and Beau Ryan each scored two tries, while winger Taniela Tuiaki crossed on three occasions to break the club’s all-time record for most tries in a season.

It was also a memorable 100th career match for Marshall, who slotted eight conversions to go with his two tries. This gave him 24 points, the third-highest single match total for any Wests Tigers player.

The win propelled the club into fifth place, although they would ultimately fall just one point short of making the finals for the first time since 2005.

Round 25, 2019

The penultimate match of the 2019 season was full of storylines as the Wests Tigers and Cronulla Sharks faced off at Leichhardt Oval with a finals spot on the line.

Both clubs entered the match on 24 competition points, but most of the headlines were centred around the status of hooker Robbie Farah, who was in doubt for the clash after breaking his leg just four weeks prior.

Despite not being named for the clash, Farah was a dramatic late inclusion following an injury to Corey Thompson pre-game.

Unfortunately, Farah’s fairytale ending was not to be as tries to Briton Nikora, Josh Morris and Sosaia Feki provided the Sharks with a sizeable early lead.

Luke Brooks sent second-rower Luke Garner through the line and away to score with twenty minutes to go to keep the home side in the game, but a Paul Gallen field goal would cruel the hopes of Wests Tigers supporters.

The match would prove to be Farah’s 303rd and final NRL match, with the premiership-winning hooker retiring as a life member of the club and the most-capped player in Wests Tigers history.

Acknowledgement of Country

Wests Tigers respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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