Brendan Wood reviews the Tigers dramatic 29-28 win over the Bulldogs on Sunday afternoon. Here’s how the game went:
|7th||Try – Moses Mbye (Tigers)||Tigers 6-0|
|15th||Try – Nick Meaney (Bulldogs)||Scores tied 6-6|
|21st||Try – Luke Garner (Tigers)||Tigers 12-6|
|24th||Try – David Nofoaluma (Tigers)||Tigers 16-6|
|29th||Try – Luke Garner (Tigers)||Tigers 22-6|
|35th||Try – Marcelo Montoya (Bulldogs)||Tigers 22-10|
|38th||Try – Matt Doorey (Bulldogs)||Tigers 22-16|
|56th||Try – Aiden Tolman (Bulldogs)||Scores tied 22-22|
|69th||Try – Kerrod Holland (Bulldogs)||Bulldogs 28-22|
|73rd||Try – Joey Leilua (Tigers)||Scores tied 28-28|
|79th||Field Goal – Luke Brooks (Tigers)||Tigers 29-28|
It was a slow start from both sides as they tried to find their feet early. After the opening five minutes of uncertainty, David Nofoaluma made a line break from deep within his own half. He was eventually pulled down from behind, but the Bulldogs couldn’t recover.
The Tigers spread the ball left to Luciano Leilua, who bumped off some attempted tackles and offloaded for Moses Mbye to score the opening try. Despite this, the Bulldogs soon found their rhythm and got themselves back into the contest. Jack Cogger caught the Tigers napping with a right foot step as he broke into the backfield, setting up Nick Meaney to score under the posts.
With the scores level, David Nofoaluma stamped his presence on the game. The Tigers spread the ball to his wing in an attacking raid where he bumped off several tackles and passed inside for Luke Garner to cross the stripe. In the next set, Benji Marshall nailed a 40/20 to set the Tigers up for another attacking set.
As a result, Nofoaluma grabbed a try for himself this time after a slick pass from Joey Leilua. Not long after the Nofoaluma try, the Tigers were over again when a Marshall grubber was knocked down by Kieran Foran, only for Garner to clean up the loose ball and score his second try.
However, momentum soon swung back toward the Bulldogs. With five minutes remaining in the half, Kieran Foran went down the short side on the last tackle and floated a pass to Marcelo Montoya who scored in the corner. A few minutes later, Foran made a break from within his own half and passed back inside for debutant Matt Doorey to score, cutting the Tigers lead back to six at the break.
The Bulldogs started the second half poorly when Kerrod Holland made an error coming out of his own half. However, the Tigers weren’t able to execute in attack as the Bulldogs defence held solid. The next 10 minutes were an arm-wrestle, with the Tigers trying to extend their lead and the Bulldogs trying to level the scores.
Eventually, the Bulldogs were the first to strike when Jeremy Marshall-King made a break on the fifth tackle of their attacking set. He stepped past several tackles and setup Aiden Tolman to score a rare try, leveling the scores at 22 all.
Another tough period of play followed, with neither side able to break the deadlock. With 11 minutes remaining, it was Jeremy Marshall-King coming to the rescue for the Bulldogs. He took on the line on the last play and offloaded for Kerrod Holland to score the go-ahead try.
However, the Tigers continued to attack. They took advantage of a seven tackle set and spread the ball to Joey Leilua, who found some space and brushed off tackles to get over for a try, evening the scores at 28 apiece. After a tense final 10 minutes, Luke Brooks stepped up for the Tigers and nailed a field goal with less than two minutes to go to seal a dramatic 29-28 win.
While there was plenty of points scored in this game, it was the Luke Brooks field goal inside the final two minutes was the highlight. The game was locked at 28 all after a Bulldogs second half fight back. Benji Marshall had missed an earlier shot at field goal and didn’t look 100% fit afterward. As a result, the Tigers turned to Brooks and he didn’t disappoint, coming through in the clutch to secure a crucial win. The kick was a big moment for Brooks, who has only recently managed to earn his spot back in the starting side after being dropped a few weeks ago by coach Michael Maguire.
Wests Tigers: 1. Adam Doueihi 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Joseph Leilua 4. Moses Mbye 5. Tommy Talau 6. Luke Brooks 7. Benji Marshall 8. Josh Aloiai 9. Jacob Liddle 10. Russell Packer 11. Luciano Leilua 12. Luke Garner 13. Matt Eisenhuth Bench: 15. Josh Reynolds 16. Sam McIntyre 20. Alex Seyfarth 21. Elijah Taylor
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs: 1. Nick Meaney 17. Reimis Smith 3. Tim Lafai 4. Kerrod Holland 5. Marcelo Montoya 6. Kieran Foran 7. Jack Cogger 8. Ofahiki Ogden 9. Sione Katoa 10. Dylan Napa 11. Josh Jackson 12. Raymond Faitala-Mariner 13. Luke Thompson Bench: 14. Jeremy Marshall-King 15. Aiden Tolman 16. Sauaso Sue 22. Matt Doorey