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Wests Tigers vs St George Illawarra Dragons

After a dramatic, last-gasp victory against the South Sydney Rabbitohs, Wests Tigers have turned their attention to Sunday’s clash against the St. George Illawarra Dragons.

The two joint-ventures have played forty matches against each other, with each club winning on twenty occasions.

Michael Maguire’s side has had the better of the Dragons in recent years, winning the past four encounters dating back to 2019.

Ahead of Saturday’s match at WIN Stadium, we’re partnering with Boomer Home Loans to revisit three of the most memorable matches between Wests Tigers and the St. George Illawarra Dragons.

Preliminary Final, 2005

Excitement was high as Wests Tigers continued their march through the finals in 2005 and only Nathan Brown’s Dragons stood in the way of a maiden grand final berth.

In front of a capacity crowd of 41,260 at the Sydney Football Stadium, Benji Marshall got his side away to the perfect start by scoring off a scrum in the fourth minute.

Marshall received a pass from Brett Hodgson, skipped past Mark Gasnier and threw two dummies to Pat Richards before strolling past Colin Best to score a famous try.

Dene Halatau soon extended the lead, barging past three defenders to score underneath the posts.

Tries to Wes Naiqama and Trent Barrett kept the Dragons within striking range, but Wests Tigers continued to push ahead in attack.

Playing on the wing for the injured Pat Richards, Halatau finished a slick right-to-left passing movement that put his side ahead by eight points with twenty minutes remaining.

The black-and-gold held on to claim victory and book their spot in the decider, where they defeated the North Queensland Cowboys to win the club’s first premiership as a joint-venture.

Round 1, 2006

Months after their thrilling preliminary final victory, Wests Tigers faced off against the Dragons to open the 2006 NRL Season.

The defending premiers started quickly once again by scoring a try within the first five minutes, as Paul Whatuira crossed for the first try of the season.

 

Mark Gasnier tied the scores in the 11th minute, but Anthony Laffranchi soon put Tim Sheens’ side back in front with a barnstorming run towards the tryline.

Back-to-back tries to Mark Gasnier gave the Dragons a six-point lead with twenty minutes remaining, but the resilient Wests Tigers refused to go away.

Receiving an offload from Scott Prince, Paul Whatuira scored his second try of the evening before Michael Crockett benefitted from a piece of Benji Marshall wizardry to steal the lead with just five minutes to play.

Marshall then set up Whatuira to complete his hat trick in the final minute of the game as Wests Tigers secured a 24-15 victory to kick off their campaign in style.

Qualifying Final, 2011

After a heartbreaking one-point loss to the Dragons in the previous year’s Preliminary Final, Wests Tigers’ most recent finals campaign kicked off against the red-and-white in 2011.

In a moment of déjà vu, Benji Marshall got the scoring underway in the fourth minute with a deceptive miskick that sent the Kiwi five-eighth through the line and away to score.

Tries to Mitch Rein and Jason Nightingale put the reigning premiers back in front, but a miraculous ball from Blake Ayshford allowed Beau Ryan to complete a stunning team try to level the scores.

Benji Marshall soon reclaimed the lead with a penalty goal before Chris Heighington barged over on the back of a beautifully delayed pass from Robert Lui.

Marshall then used his boot to give his side an unassailable lead, kicking a field goal and a penalty goal as the clock wound down.

The win saw Tim Sheens’ men book their spot in the semi finals, where they would ultimately fall to the New Zealand Warriors, who were Grand Final bound.

 

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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