Wests Tigers 22
Tries: Kevin Naiqama (6m), James Tedesco (14m), Pat Richards (18m, 27m)
Goals: Pat Richards 2/4 conversions, 1/1 penalties.
St George Illawarra Dragons 4
Tries: Dane Nielsen (38m)
Goals: Gareth Widdop 0/1 conversions.
The Tigers have cruised to their second win in as many games, effortlessly beating the Dragons 22-4.
Proceedings got underway early with wing Kevin Naiqama crossing over in the 6th minute after a great piece of work from fullback James Tedesco providing his first of two try assists on the night. Eight minutes later it was Tedesco getting the spoils off a kick from halfback Luke Brooks, their fantastic combination continuing to look ominous to the rest of the competition. Four minutes later it was Pat Richards going over this this time Tedesco again the playmaker, Richards doubled up his account nine minutes later to give the Tigers a 20-0 lead. In the dying minutes of the half, the Dragons stemmed the bleeding through Dane Nielsen to go into the break 20-4.
The first half may have been lacking in contest, but it was high in entertainment as the brilliant Tedesco ignited the home crowd. The second half offered little for spectators as the Tigers went through the motions while the Dragons remained plagued by the errors and penalties that destroyed them in the first half. A lone Pat Richards penalty the only score in the final 40 minutes, the Tigers ultimately winning 22-4.
For the Tigers, the previously mentioned Tedesco was electric a try and two try assist for the gun young fullback, he looked a genuine threat every time he touched the ball with his blazing speed. Not as pretty but just as important was their Origin prop Aaron Woods, leading his troops from the front with 230 metres and 32 tackles. Woods had easily eclipsed the 100 metre mark before halftime and didn’t relent once he came back on in the second stanza.
The Dragons anaemic attack rarely looked threatening, slumping to a lowly eight points through two contests. Hamstrung by a woeful 18 errors, the Dragons completed just 27 of 41 sets at a rate of 66%, and on the rare occasion they did reach the end of their set, their unimaginative approach had little to offer beyond constantly bombing to giant Fijian winger Eto Nabuli, not a bad idea in theory but Naiqama took care of it every single time.
Fantastic outings from both Woods and Tedesco made the man of the match incredibly difficult to call, but the backs rarely get going without the big boys up front doing their job, and Woods was as big as they come Monday night, claiming our man of the match honours.
NothingButLeague Man of the Match: Aaron Woods