Jack Harbidge reviews the Round 20 thriller between the Wests Tigers and New Zealand Warriors at Suncorp Stadium. Here’s how the game went.
Tries: David Nofoaluma (17), Moses Mbye (21), Adam Doueihi (60).
Goals: Adam Doueihi (19, 61).
Tries: Euan Aitken (42), Bunty Afoa (48), Euan Aitken (56).
Goals: Reece Walsh (44, 49, 58).
Player of the Year Points
3 pts – Euan Aitken (New Zealand Warriors)
2 pts – Kodi Nikorima (New Zealand Warriors)
1 pt – Reece Walsh (New Zealand Warriors)
Wests took on a depleted Warriors side and for the first half the gap in talent told, with the Tigers dominating possession and converting their dominance into points in the 17th minute through David Nofoaluma. Adam Doueihi knocked over the conversion and Wests continued to press a somewhat weary Warriors side and backed up with another score just two minutes later.
This time Doueihi couldn’t convert Moses Mbye’s try and Wests’ lead went out to 10 points. With the Warriors in desperate need of impetus, Nathan Brown brought on Kodi Nikorima, who answered his coach’s call and invigorated the Warriors for the 15 minutes before the half-time hooter. Though they were back in the game, the New Zealand side couldn’t cut the deficit before half-time and Wests went in 10-0 up.
HALF-TIME: Wests Tigers 10 New Zealand Warriors 0
With a 10-point lead, Wests came out of the half-time sheds lacking any form of intensity and the Warriors took advantage straight away with Euan Aitken crossing just two minutes in through lacklustre defence from the right edge of Wests. With Reece Walsh converting, the lead was cut to four despite the complete imbalance in possession in favour of the Tigers.
The swift try didn’t shock the wayward Tigers, however, and Bunty Afoa barged his way over from short range six minutes later to put the Warriors into the lead after a simple Walsh conversion. The Tigers assumed more of a comical role in the battle between the two sides with a string of unforced errors, inviting pressure onto their line. The pressure eventually resulted in a goal line drop-out, of which the Tigers opted for a short kick, only for Aitken to catch it 10 meters out and go over untouched.
Walsh knocked the conversion over and the Warriors’ 18 unanswered points gave them a two-score lead. The match wouldn’t end without more drama though, with Luke Brooks pouncing on a poor Sean O’Sullivan grubber to run the length of the field and score, only to be denied by the video ref for a knock on. That would be the best chance Wests got and, after a couple of late two-point drop goal attempts from the Tigers, the Warriors ended their seven-game losing streak.
FULL-TIME: Wests Tigers 16 New Zealand Warriors 18
to be advised
Match Review Committee
to be advised