There were no shortage of special numbers to come from Wests Tigers’ remarkable 38-12 victory over the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles yesterday at Lottoland.
Off the back of an incredibly dominant first 40 minutes that saw them lead 26-0 at the break, it was plain sailing for Ivan Cleary’s side as they held firm to chalk up their fifth win of the 2018 season.
As always, we look back at some of the most amazing numbers to come from the game…
Wests Tigers recorded their fifth win of the 2018 season on Sunday, giving the club a 5-1 record to start the year. Never before has a Wests Tigers started the year with five wins in their first six games — a feat that is perhaps even more incredible given the tough nature of the draw this year. Cleary’s men have faced off against all of last year’s top four and have faced the defending premiers twice, while also playing the sixth-placed Sea Eagles at their home ground. So to come through all of that with just one defeat (and a controversial Golden Point one at that) is a great testament to the talent and growth in the team this year. In 2017, Wests Tigers got their fifth win of the year in Round 21. In 2018, it was Round 6.
The 38 points scored on Sunday was not only Wests Tigers’ best attacking performance of the season and their biggest win of the year, it was also their biggest ever victory over the Sea Eagles. While defence has been the hallmark of this side in 2018, it was the attack that once again clicked in to gear and showed its potency with Luke Brooks and Benji Marshall at the helm — taking Wests Tigers over 100 points scored for the season. The team now has the best defence and the 10th best attacking record in the competition.
Not since 2003 had Wests Tigers gone over the Spit Bridge and come away with a win, but that’s exactly what happened on Sunday afternoon with a thrilling upset. The win was the first time than any player in the squad has won at Lottoland, and snaps another hoodoo for Wests Tigers in 2018 — something which is certainly becoming a habit. In Round 1, Wests Tigers ended a run of 10 straight losses to the Roosters. In Round 2, they recorded just their second ever win in Melbourne. In Round 4, they ended a tough run of form against the Eels and made it two wins over the Storm for the first time in a season in Round 5.
Few could believe their eyes when Wests Tigers raced to a 26-0 lead at half-time — a remarkable feat given the supposed “struggles” that the side’s attack was having in 2018. The 26-point lead was the team’s biggest lead at half-time since Round 23 of the 2009 season when they led the Cronulla Sharks 28-0. It was also the fourth time this season they kept a team tryless in the first half, and the third time in just six matches they have kept a side from scoring a single point against them in the opening 40 minutes.
Wests Tigers will say it until the cows come home, that Luke Brooks is at his best when running the ball. Well, they were certainly proved right once again on Sunday as Brooks ripped through the Sea Eagles defence in the first half — setting up three tries before scoring one himself to put the game beyond doubt. Brooks ran the ball 19 times in total for a whopping 137 metres, the second most carries the halfback has had in a single game in his career. The most, ironically enough, was also against the Sea Eagles back in Round 23 of the 2017 season, taking Brooks’ career record to 3-0 when he runs the ball more than 16 times in a game. Brooks and Marshall combined for an incredible 267 metres on Sunday — more than double that of Manly’s halves and also more than the Sea Eagles’ two starting front row forwards put together!