The Wests Tigers recorded a convincing 28-4 win over the North Queensland Cowboys in front a good crowd at Leichhardt Oval to move back into the top eight.
The home side started strong in front of their Leichhardt faithful. In the opening ten minutes they out-enthused the Cowboys in every facet of the game despite not having much ball. Esan Marsters caught a Luke Brooks bomb and dived over to open the scoring in the eighth minute. Less than ten minutes later, Robbie Farah scampered out of dummy half and scored a try of his own to put the Tigers up 10-0. The Tigers kept their foot on the accelerator when Paul Momirovski made the most of a Cowboys error to extend the lead to 16-0 inside the opening 22 minutes. The Cowboys could not get into the game and continued to make errors throughout the first half to give the Tigers plenty of good possession.
The Cowboys were eventually able to find some rhythm and worked their way towards the Tigers line. They cracked the Tigers defence to put Kyle Feldt over in the corner, only to have the try overruled due to obstruction in a controversial decision by the video referee. This would be the Cowboys best opportunity of the half. The Tigers defence held strong for the rest of the half to head into halftime up 16-0.
The first 20 minutes of the second half were uneventful on the scoreboard. The Cowboys were trying to get back in the game but kept coming up empty in attack. The Tigers eventual broke the scoring deadlock with Moses Mbye slotting a penalty goal to extend the lead to three converted tries. The Cowboys seemed to find some inspiration from this as they were finally able to solve the Tigers defence. A great cut out pass from Scott Drinkwater finally putting Kyle Feldt over for the Cowboys first points in the 64th minute. This would be all the Cowboys could muster in attack however, as the rest of the game was dominated by the Tigers. The home side finished off the game by scoring two tries back to back, one each for Chris Lawrence and Esan Marsters, to secure a convincing 28-4 win in front of their loyal Leichhardt fans.
Farah inspires Tigers to fast start
Robbie Farah announced his retirement earlier this week. You could tell Robbie had an extra spring in his step from the moment he ran onto the field. He set the example for his team in the first minute when he charged down a Michael Morgan kick and won the race to the footy. He backed this up with a solo effort to score a try less than 20 minutes later. Now that Farah has announced his retirement at season’s end, can we expect to see performances like this for the rest of the year? Tigers fans will hope so.
Cowboys Sydney woes continue
The Cowboys have never played well in Sydney, and tonight was no exception. They had some good opportunities to score points early in the game and at the end of the first half, but their execution was lacking. They were riddled with errors when they had the ball and ill-disciplined in defence. Even the return of captain Michael Morgan wasn’t enough to bring back the winning ways for the Cowboys. Coach Paul Green has some big decisions to make in the next week to try and turn around the form of his underperforming players.
A tale of two seasons
This was a pivotal game for both clubs in the context of the season. With this win, the Tigers are on the up and still hold hopes of making a finals berth. The Cowboys are sliding down the ladder with their finals hopes fading fast. A win for the Cowboys may have seen them leapfrog the Tigers to sit in a good position to make a run for the top eight. Now their season is almost certainly over, and the Tigers find themselves in 7th position on the ladder.
This game marks just the second time the Tigers have played at Leichhardt Oval this year, and the Tigers fans will be wishing it was more after that performance. It is evident the atmosphere of the crowd is a huge advantage to the Tigers. Add that to the extra emotion being felt by the announcement that Robbie Farah will retire this year and the Tigers were always going to be hard to beat at this ground. They have one game remaining at Leichhardt this year, round 25 against the Sharks which will be vital in determining the fate of the Tigers season.
Wests Tigers 28
Tries: Marsters 2, Farah, Momirovski, Lawrence
Goals: Mbye 3/4, Momirovsky 1/2
Drop Goals: n/a
North Queensland Cowboys 4
Goals: Clifford 0/1
Drop Goals: n/a
Wests Tigers: 1. Corey Thompson 2. Paul Momirovski 3. Moses Mbye 4. Esan Marsters 5. David Nofoaluma 6. Benji Marshall 7. Luke Brooks 8. Josh Aloiai 9. Robbie Farah 10. Oliver Clark 11. Luke Garner 12. Michael Chee-Kam 13. Ryan Matterson Bench: 14. Matt Eisenhuth 15. Thomas Mikaele 16. Alex Twal 17. Chris Lawrence
North Queensland Cowboys: 1. Scott Drinkwater 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Coen Hess 4. Tom Opacic 5. Murray Taulagi 6. Michael Morgan 7. Jake Clifford 8. Josh McGuire 9. Jake Granville 10. Jordan McLean 11. Gavin Cooper 12. Shane Wright 13. Jason Taumalolo Bench: 14. John Asiata 15. Matt Scott 16. Scott Bolton 17. Francis Molo