West Tigers 21
Tries: Blake Austin, Pat Richards, Luke Brooks
Goals: Pat Richards 4/4
Parramatta Eels 18
Tries:Jarryd Hayne 2, Semi Radradra, Ken Sio
The Wests Tigers have beaten the Parramatta Eels 21-18 in a classic game of rugby league at ANZ Stadium this afternoon.
With both sides in good form, a mammoth crowd of just over 50,688 witnessed the game of the season so far as the youthful Tigers overcame an early deficit to storm home, the game not decided until the dying stages.
Early on it was all the Eels and Jarryd Hayne strolled over out wide in the 9th minute. Sandow missed and the Eels led 4-0.
Hayne had his second after 23 minutes,showing great speed, agility and strength to bamboozle the Tigers defence on his way to the line. Again Sandow missed and the Eels led 8-0.
The Tigers came close in the 30th minute when Sitaleki Akauola planted the ball inches short of the line, but on the stroke of half time Blake Austin beat some poor Eels defence to score beside the posts. Richards converted to make it 8-6 at the break, a scoreline that didn’t reflect the Eels’ dominance of the match.
5 minutes into the second half Luke Brooks swooped on a wayward Hayne pass, and raced away to score out wide. Hayne’s ill-discipline was on full display here as there was no Eels player near him and he should have taken the tackle. Richards conversion gave the Tigers the lead, 12-8.
Hayne made up for his blunder with a deft chip kick over Richards, which was collected by Ken Sio to score their third try. Sandow’s conversion reclaimed the lead for the Eels, the score 14-12 after 52 minutes.
A Sandow 40/20 with 16 minutes left put the Eels in great field position, but, like Hayne, Sandow can be a bit ill-disciplined; he drew in the Tigers defence with a dummy, then his pass was snatched up by Richards who raced away to give the Tigers the lead. He converted his own try for a 18-14 score line.
Will Hopoate looked to have scored with 8 minutes left, but Gower’s slight touch on Brooks, denied the Eels. Brooks probably wouldn’t have stopped the try, and Eels fans would rightfully feel a bit hard done by.
In the 76th minute Semi Radradra touched down to tie the game up at 18-all, but Sandow’s missed conversion kept the Tigers in the game and 19-year old Brooks calmly slotted a 78th minute field goal to put the Tigers in front.
A 50m Richards penalty goal put his side 3 points clear and finished a remarkable game of rugby league featuring several lead changes and plenty of highlights.
Both sides can take plenty out of the match, although Sandow may want to knuckle down on his goal kicking during the week, after landing just 1/4. Hayne was at his enigmatic best, brilliant in the first half, but quiet in the second, while for the Tigers, Brooks was at his scheming best and Martin Tapau had another strong game from the bench, regularly seeking out Eels prop Fuifui Moi Moi in an exciting battle.