Wests Tigers come from behind to win against the Gold Coast Titans 30-14 at Scully Park in Tamworth.
Two teams looking for a win both away from their traditional home grounds were eager to bounce back or continue their string of wins. Wests Tigers were overrun by the Titans early on with line speed and energy trumping the home side in the Tamworth game. Penalties proceeded to hurt the Tigers with Gold Coast capitalising with 14 points in Anthony Don and Tyrone Peachey tries within 20 minutes. In cruise control after the opening points, the Gold Coast side began to fall off through their middle with slowing the ruck speed and penalties coming from which allowed Tigers to pounce. Three tries through both their centres in Robert Jennings, Esan Marsters and the winger outside Mahe Fonua had Wests leapfrog in front at the break 16-14.
Close scoring allowed for a great start to the second half with possession being split by both sides. A back and forth encounter saw Tigers outside backs work up the field with more pace and vigour which eventually became too much for Titans to contain with superb kicking by Luke Brooks on last tackle plays also. In the 51st minute, Jennings scored his second try through lazy marker defence close to their line with Fonua’s double being made minutes later through a lucky ricochet off a kick by Brooks to cut out to Mahe to lead by 12 points 22-14. The coast team were unable to produce enough pressure on the Wests line to crack and score, with the home team eventually locking them out with another try at the death to win 30-14 at Scully Park.
Tigers Comeback In Tamworth
A horrible round in their last outing against the Eels conceding over 50 points being the first team to do so in 2019, the Tigers were out to prove they can bounce back. A more than ideal start with a lack of urgency by their forwards and suspect defence had the Wests side down by 14 points within 20 minutes of the match. A few penalties through the middle third of the field allowed Tigers to march up field and score their first points, the ball being promoted and kicked all over by the home side had them to scrap two more tries through their centres. The Titans on their line in the 53rd minute weren’t able to contain another raid to their edges with a four-pointer coming in for Tigers, before one last try to Mahe Fonua was made in the last seconds to post 30 unanswered points.
The Tigers cult hero Mahe Fonua was on fire with his performance against the Titans seeing him score a Hat-trick in a come from behind win. The Wests winger who has solidified his spot outside gun centre Esan Marsters has now been treated to 5 tries including three from tonight. Fonua tallied a linebreak, four tackle breaks as well as running over 175 metres throughout the match. A somewhat new staple in the side he has kept David Nofoaluma out of his once right-wing position to be showing coach Maguire why he needs to stay after seven rounds.
Five-Eighth Josh Reynolds in the opening exchanges succumbed to a knee injury from the friendly fire of a teammate which made the Tigers reshuffle their side which already happened prior to kick-off. The move from the back row to 5/8 by Ryan Matterson was sublime with the big-bodied forward having played in halves numerous times before which it could even work long term for them. He was able to control his side of the field while Farah and Brooks enjoyed the time with the ball more thanks to Mattersons efforts off the ball but also creating problems on the edges for Marsters and Fonua to break loose.
2 Steps Forward 1 Step Back
After losing their opening four games of 2019 it looked as if the Gold Coast side had turned the corner with two wins at home piling on 30 or more in each victory. A similar theme of enthusiasm and control that saw them get those wins started for the opening quarter of this fixture against Wests, however, lack of discipline and not pressing for more points after their already strong lead had them chased down. A worrying sign for the Titans who were looking up after strong wins with 30 unanswered points by Wests against them, they will need to fix their gameplan to be in the fight for more than just the opening exchanges.
Tries: Fonua (2), Jennings (2), Marsters
Goals: Marsters 3/6
Tries: Don, Peachey
Goals: Gordon 3/3
Tigers: 1. Moses Mbye 2. Mahe Fonua 3. Robert Jennings 4. Esan Marsters 5. Corey Thompson 6. Josh Reynolds 7. Luke Brooks 14. Ben Matulino 9. Robbie Farah 10. Alex Twal 11. Ryan Matterson 21. Chris McQueen 13. Josh Aloiai Interchange: 15. Thomas Mikaele 16. Matt Eisenhuth 18. Paul Momirovski 19. Elijah Taylor
Titans: 1. Michael Gordon 2. Anthony Don 3. Tyrone Peachey 4. Brian Kelly 5. Dale Copley 6. Tyrone Roberts 7. Ash Taylor 8. Shannon Boyd 9. Mitch Rein 10. Moeaki Fotuaika 11. Kevin Proctor 12. Bryce Cartwright 13. Jai Arrow Interchange: 14. Phillip Sami 16. Max King 17. Jai Whitbread 18. Jack Stockwell