Brendan Wood reviews the Wests Tigers 28-16 win over the Cronulla Sharks on Saturday night. Here’s how the game went:
|4th||Try – Harry Grant (Tigers)||Tigers 6 – 0|
|7th||Try – Robert Jennings (Tigers)||Tigers 10 – 0|
|16th||Try – Josh Dugan (Sharks)||Tigers 10 – 6|
|20th||Try – Josh Dugan (Sharks)||10 All|
|34th||Try – Will Kennedy (Sharks)||Sharks 16-10|
|54th||Try – Luke Garner (Tigers)||Sharks 16-14|
|60th||Penalty Goal – Benji Marshall (Tigers)||16 All|
|65th||Try – David Nofoaluma (Tigers)||Tigers 20-16|
|70th||Try – Josh Aloiai (Tigers)||Tigers 26-16|
|78th||Penalty Goal – Moses Mbye (Tigers)||Tigers 28-16|
The Sharks had the better of the early possession but couldn’t execute with ball in hand. The Tigers in contrast scored off their first attacking possession. Harry Grant crossing the stripe on debut to get the Tigers off to a quick start. Just minutes later, the Tigers extended their lead through Robert Jennings, after Sharks fullback Will Kennedy dropped a high bomb in his own half.
Off the back of several penalties against the Tigers, Wade Graham put a grubber into the in-goal for Josh Dugan to score the first points for Cronulla. Dugan followed up his first try with a second when he crossed in the corner to tie the game at 10-10. After a period of back and forth play between the two sides, Sharks fullback Will Kennedy sliced through the middle of the Tigers defence to score, giving the Sharks a six point lead going into the break.
Both teams were slow out of the blocks in the second half. In the 54th minute the Tigers came to life when Luke Garner scored off the back of a David Nofoaluma line break. Benji Marshall converted a penalty goal right in front in the 60th minute to level the scores at 16-all. Not long after this, Marshall forced a line drop-out. On the first tackle of their attacking set, David Nofoaluma brushed through some flimsy Sharks defence to score a 40-metre try and give the Tigers the lead.
From there, Marshall took control of the game and kept the Sharks under pressure with his kicking game. Billy Walters came off the bench and was an instant hit, setting up Josh Aloiai to barge over close to the line and extend the lead to 26-16. Moses Mbye converted a late penalty goal to secure a 28-16 win for the Tigers. The Sharks start the season 0-3, still searching for their first win.
The combination of Harry Grant and Billy Walters worked wonders for the Tigers, and was ultimately the difference between the two sides. Grant started the game well, scoring the opening try of the game on debut. He provided great service and his defence was solid when tested by the big Sharks forward pack.
When Walters came on early in the second half, the Tigers were down 16-10 and were struggling to get the scores level. He brought a noticeable spark to the Tigers attack as soon as he got on the field, with every run creating an opportunity against some tiring Sharks defence. He was also responsible for the try that extended the lead to 26-16, which helped secure the win for the Tigers.
Sharks: 1. Will Kennedy 2. Sione Katoa 3. Josh Dugan 4. Jesse Ramien 5. Ronaldo Mulitalo 6. Shaun Johnson 7. Chad Townsend 16. Toby Rudolf 9. Blayke Brailey 10. Aaron Woods 11. Briton Nikora 12. Wade Graham 13. Jack Williams Bench: 15. Braden Hamlin-Uele 17. Scott Sorensen 18. Billy Magoulias 19. Matt Moylan
Tigers: 1. Adam Doueihi 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Joseph Leilua 4. Moses Mbye 5. Robert Jennings 6. Benji Marshall 7. Luke Brooks 8. Josh Aloiai 9. Harry Grant 10. Thomas Mikaele 11. Luke Garner 12. Luciano Leilua 13. Alex Twal Bench: 14. Oliver Clark 15. Billy Walters 16. Chris Lawrence 17. Alex Seyfarth