Wests Tigers recorded back-to-back wins for the first time this season with a dominant win over Canterbury. Jack Walker has all the details.
|17th||Try Reimis Smith (Canterbury-Bankstown)||Canterbury-Bankstown 4-0|
|18th||Goal Jake Averillo (Canterbury-Bankstown)||Canterbury-Bankstown 6-0|
|20th||Try Harry Grant (Wests Tigers)||Canterbury-Bankstown 6-4|
|21st||Goal Moses Mbye (Wests Tigers)||Scores tied 6-6|
|34th||Try Tommy Talau (Wests Tigers)||Wests Tigers 10-6|
|38th||Try Joseph Leilua (Wests Tigers)||Wests Tigers 14-6|
|39th||Goal Moses Mbye (Wests Tigers)||Wests Tigers 16-6|
|43rd||Try Tommy Talau (Wests Tigers)||Wests Tigers 20-6|
|53rd||Try David Nofoaluma (Wests Tigers)||Wests Tigers 24-6|
|60th||Try David Nofoaluma (Wests Tigers)||Wests Tigers 28-6|
|61st||Goal Moses Mbye (Wests Tigers)||Wests Tigers 30-6|
|71st||Try Adam Doueihi (WestsTigers)||Wests Tigers 34-6|
Canterbury went into the match on the back of a 20-18 loss to the Cronulla Sharks and had lost five of their last six fixtures; so to say a Wests victory was expected would be an understatement, but the hosts were in the mood for an upset.
The Bulldogs had won the previous three meetings with the Tigers, and they made the better start in this one too.
Time after time, the hosts kicked to the right on the last tackle, but changed it up and, with the Tigers’ defence out of position, Reimis Smith was left all alone to race through, collect the grubber with ease and run the ball in behind the sticks to open the scoring.
The Tigers won a dramatic contest against the North Queensland Cowboys 36-20 last round – in which they raced to a 34-0 half time lead – and they showed their attacking quality in this one too.
No sooner had they fallen behind, they were back level as another kick did the trick. Most of Wests’ play was focused down the middle and, when the ball took a favourable bounce, Harry Grant held off the challenges before diving over the line less than three minutes after his side fell behind.
They held off a brilliant comeback against the Cowboys, but made an impressive fightback of their own in the first half here as Tommy Talau received the ball from Sam McIntyre after Moses Mbye’s high punt to cross unopposed in the corner, scoring his first NRL try in only his third appearance.
There may only have been five minutes left of the opening 40 at that point, but there was still time for Joseph Leilua to barge himself past four Bulldogs defenders and stick out his right arm to ground the ball for his side’s third try of the half, making the score 16-6 at the break.
After their slow start to the first half, the Tigers were determined to not let their hosts back into the game with a repeat. They definitely did that as Tommy Talau produced a stunning finish within the first three minutes of the second 40.
The Tigers fed the ball wide as Adam Doueihi played it out left to Talau and the centre somehow grounded the ball one-handed whilst keeping his feet off the floor as he was battered into touch by the Bulldogs’ defence.
Having made an assist, Doueihi then went about scoring himself but, as he surged over the tryline, the Canterbury defence did brilliantly to hold him up and prevent the ball from being grounded not once, but twice, in the space of a minute.
The Tigers weren’t going to be denied for long though.
As Canterbury searched for a route back into the contest, Kieran Foran went for the long pass wide left but David Nofoaluma anticipated the play and did brilliantly to gather the ball and not run into touch before spinning on a sixth pence to race away to give his side a three-score lead.
And he wasn’t done there. Wests’ ability to turn defence into attack was simply mind-blowing as they went the length of the pitch in under 20 seconds before Nofoaluma held off his man to finish superbly, rather like Talau’s finish in the opposite corner, for his eighth try of the season.
Canterbury’s impressive record in this fixture was now certain to take a hit; salt was rubbed into their wounds when Adam Elliott’s chip, collect and grubber – which was then grounded – was correctly ruled out by the Bunker with little over 10 minutes remaining.
Shortly after, Doueihi finally got the try he’d been searching for.
Playing as left centre, he was fed the ball less than 10 metres from the line and made light work of the two men between him and the whitewash to put the game beyond all doubt and add gloss on a very impressive individual performance.
Having started the game so well, the Bulldogs will rue a missed chance for two points, but all credit must go to the Wests Tigers as they showed class and composure to record another impressive victory and notch up successive wins for the first time this season.
There were many brilliant tries from the Tigers in this one, but the pick of the bunch has to be Tommy Talau’s incredible finish in the left corner. Not only was it a sensational try, both for the grounding and the build up play, but it came at a point in the match when the winner wasn’t yet decided, which made it even more important.
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs: 1. Will Hopoate, 2.Reimis Smith, 3. Kerrod Holland, 4. Jake Averillo, 5. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, 6. Kieran Foran, 7. Brandon Wakeham, 21. Aiden Tolman, 9. Jeremy Marshall-King, 10. Dylan Napa, 11. Josh Jackson, 12. Raymond Faitala-Mariner, 13. Adam Elliott. Interchange: 8. Renouf To’omaga, 14.Jack Cogger, 15. Dean Britt, 16. Sauaso Sue.
Wests Tigers: 1.Adam Doueihi, 2. David Nofoaluma, 3. Joseph Leilua, 4. Moses Mbye, 5. Tommy Talau, 6. Josh Reynolds, 7. Luke Brooks, 8. Josh Aloiai, 9. Harry Grant, 10. Oliver Clark, 11. Luke Garner, 12. Luciano Leilua, 13. Matthew Eisenhuth. Interchange: 14. Elijah Taylor, 15. Thomas Mikaele, 16. Sam McIntyre, 17. Michael Chee-Kam.