Wests Tigers 19
Tries: David Nofoaluma (2), Pat Richards.
Goals: Pat Richards (3/4)
Field Goal: Braith Anasta (1/1)
Canberra Raiders 18
Tries: Brenko Lee 2, Jarrod Croker
Goals: Jarrod Croker (3/4)
The Wests Tigers continued their great record against the Canberra Raiders with a hard-fought 19-18 victory at Campbelltown Sports Stadium on Saturday night.
In front of a crowd just over 9,000, the Tigers finished the game with 14 players as a late field goal from Braith Anasta was enough for the home side to walk away with the two points.
It could not have possibly been a worse start for the Tigers as from the kick-off fullback James Tedesco collided with Terry Campese and broke his patella in the process. This was a cruel blow for the young player after reneging on a deal with the Raiders only weeks earlier.
The injury did not stop the Tigers from playing expansive football and in the 13th minute, Luke Brooks put in a pin-point cross for winger David Nofoaluma to score the first points of the game.
Pat Richards continued his great goalkicking this season to give the home side a 6-0 lead.
Not long after, Tim Simona was the second player to leave the field with injury as a headclash meant he was taken off with concussion. He failed to pass the concussion test and did not return for the rest of the game.
A minute later, a returning Josh Papalii burst through a gap before firing a pass to Brenko Lee to score in the corner. The young winger showed glimpses in the game as to why he is regarded as one of the hottest products coming out of the nations capital.
Jarrod Croker made no mistake from the sideline to level the game at 6-6.
A sharp passing movement from the Tigers, including a pass almost from the ground by Bodene Thompson, saw David Nofoaluma cross for his second try of the game.
Pat Richards missed from the sideline to give the Tigers a 10-6 lead.
Brenko Lee scored his second try of the game in one of the best tries the Raiders have scored this season. After Anthony Milford made a break he found Lee who chipped and chased before regathering and scoring an outstanding try.
Croker scored his second conversion from the sideline to give the away side the lead for the first time in the game.
A penalty against David Shillington after a late hit against fellow front-rower Martin Taupau gave Richards the chance to level the scores and he took the opportunity from right in front.
Richards was in everything and in the 36th minute he crossed for his ninth try of the season and a Tigers lead heading into the break.
He converted his own try for an 18-12 lead.
After half-time David Nofoaluma went down with a leg injury and left the field. The re-shuffle allowed Jarrod Croker to slice through a gap and run around under the posts to make his conversion easier, which he obliged and levelled the scores.
The injuries continued for the home side as Sauaso Sue went off with the shoulder injury. Thankfully for the Tigers, Nofoaluma was able to return.
The last ten minutes was frantic with Campese missing a field goal from right in front before one of the Tigers best players on the night, Braith Anasta, plotted over from 25-metres out.
A late twist saw the Raiders awarded a penalty within striking distance but like 2010,when he missed his conversion in a finals game against the Tigers, Jarrod Croker could not handle the pressure and pushed his conversion wide.
The Tigers held on in the last three minutes to record a famous victory in the face of plenty of adversity.