Former Widnes winger Corey Thompson grabbed a late try for the Wests Tigers against Sydney Roosters today at ANZ Stadium and the touchline conversion from Tui Lolohea gave the Tigers a stunning 10-8 victory over the Sydney Roosters, who had come into the game as the hot favourites.
Thompson, who made 48 appearances for the Vikings and scored 36 Super League tries in two seasons at the Select Security Stadium, had been an unheralded signing by the Tigers before the game, but he became an instant hero for the majority of the 18,243 crowd when he touched down two minutes from time.
Former Tigers star James Tedesco had moved to the Roosters in the close-season and he was roundly booed by the Tigers fans every time he touched the ball.
The Tigers were hit by the withdrawal before the game of new signing Josh Reynolds, who had joined from the Bulldogs, putting the onus on returnee Benji Marshall to run the show.
The Roosters’ major signing during the close season was former Melbourne halfback Cooper Cronk, who had a solid game that included a 40-20.
In a hard fought first half that yielded no tries, Lolohea landed an early penalty for the only score of the half, while Tedesco came closest to scoring a try, but failed to hold on to a pass from Blake Ferguson with the try-line open.
The Roosters equalised with a Latrell Mitchell penalty after two minutes of the second half and Luke Brooks was sinbinned, but the Tigers, superbly orchestrated by Marshall, held out while down to twelve men and Lolohea added his second penalty 20 minutes later to edge the Tigers back ahead.
The Roosters eventually took an 8-4 lead when Ferguson crossed on 65 minutes, with Mitchell converting.
But when centre Esan Marsters and winger Thompson combined to break downfield, Thompson took a superb pass from Marshall and grounded the ball inches inside the touch-in-goal line. Lolohea’s conversion was greeted with ecstasy by the Tigers supporters.
Tigers: 1 Tuimoala Lolohea, 2 Corey Thompson, 3 Esan Marsters, 4 Kevin Naiqama, 5 Malakai Watene-Zelezniak, 14 Benji Marshall, 7 Luke Brooks, 8 Russell Packer, 9 Pita Godinet, 17 Matt Eisenhuth, 11 Chris Lawrence (C), 12 Robbie Rochow, 13 Elijah Taylor; Interchange: 10 Ben Matulino, 15 Alex Twal, 16 Michael Chee Kam, 18 Matt McIlwrick
Try: Thompson; Goals: Lolohea 3
Roosters: 1 James Tedesco, 2 Daniel Tupou, 3 Latrell Mitchell, 4 Joseph Manu, 5 Blake Ferguson, 6 Mitchell Cornish, 7 Cooper Cronk, 8 Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, 9 Jake Friend (capt), 10 Sio Siua Taukeiaho, 16 Ryan Matterson, 12 Mitchell Aubusson, 13 Isaac Liu; Interchange: 11 Boyd Cordner (C), 14 Dylan Napa, 15 Zane Tetevano, 17 Victor Radley,
Try: Ferguson try; Goals: Mitchell 2
Full match reports from all this weekend’s NRL games will feature in Monday’s League Express