Wests Tigers gained a surprise 16-20 victory over St George Illawarra Dragons at Jubilee Oval today to keep alive their hopes of making a late bid to get into the top eight.
The Dragons saw Ben Hunt, Paul Vaughan, Tyson Frizell, Tariq Sims and Jack De Belin return from Origin duty, but they were never able to head off the challenge from an enthusiastic Wests side, for whom former Widnes Vikings winger Corey Thompson scored a superb try.
The game was finely poised 6-6 at the interval, after tries from respective halfbacks Luke Brooks and Ben Hunt, although with several others overruled for forward passes.
The Tigers moved out to a 14-point lead with two further tries, when Thompson showed brilliant evasive skills near the line and David Nofoaluma added a third try, with Esan Marsters converting both tries and adding a penalty.
The Dragons added late tries from Gareth Widdop, with bleached blonde hair, and Matt Dufty, but their revival had come too late to influence the result.
Dragons: 1 Matt Dufty, 2 Nene Macdonald, 3 Euan Aitken, 4 Tim Lafai, 5 Jason Nightingale, 6 Gareth Widdop (c), 7 Ben Hunt, 8 James Graham, 9 Cameron McInnes, 10 Paul Vaughan, 11 Tyson Frizell, 12 Tariq Sims, 13 Jack de Belin; Interchange: 14 Jeremy Latimore, 15 Kurt Mann, 16 Leeson Ah Mau, 17 Luciano Leilua
Tries: Hunt, Widdop, Dufty; Goals: Widdop 2
Wests Tigers: 1 Moses Mbye, 2 David Nofoaluma, 3 Esan Marsters, 4 Kevin Naiqama, 5 Corey Thompson, 6 Benji Marshall, 7 Luke Brooks, 8 Russell Packer (c), 9 Robbie Farah, 10 Ben Matulino, 11 Chris Lawrence, 12 Josh Aloiai, 13 Elijah Taylor; Interchange: 15 Suaso Sue, 16 Michael Chee Kam, 17 Matt Eisenhuth, 19 Luke Garner
Tries: Brooks, Thompson, Nofoaluma; Goals: Marsters 4
For full coverage of the weekend’s NRL games, be sure to get a copy of Monday’s League Express, which is available online from Sunday evening