Wests Tigers Holden Cup side have continued their winning start to 2016 with a strong victory over the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles today at Leichhardt Oval.
Wests Tigers got off to a great start to open the scoring in the 15th minute when Luke Sharpe pounced on a neatly placed grubber from under the posts.
Veiru Mapesone converted to give the home side a 6-0 lead.
The home side were in again just five minutes later when Junior Tatola ran onto an inside ball from Jack Wheelhouse to crash over under the posts for a 12-0 lead.
Manly turned the momentum around and dominated the final 15 minutes of the first half with three tries. Billy Bainbridge was put into a hole close to the line from half Nicholas Hynes, and soon after Brad Parker found space to cross in the corner.
Hutana Coffin converted both tries and the game was back level at 12-12.
With halftime looming, Manly were the beneficiaries of a nicely placed kick chase that saw the ball batted back into play with Hynes the player in the right place at the right time to get the ball down. Coffin kicked the conversion from the sideline for Manly to take a 18-12 lead into the break.
Wests Tigers responded early in the second half when winger Obed Karwhin showed brut strength to fend off his opposite number O’Toole to score in the corner.
Mapesone nailed the conversion from the sideline and the game was back level at 18-18.
Karwhin was in for a double ten minutes later when he received early ball to show some speed and cross in the corner. Mapesone nailed the conversion again from the sideline for Wests Tigers to take a 24-18 lead.
An error from the restart handed Manly possession and the visitors took advantage with Lucas Price crossing on the right edge.
Coffin converted and for the third time in the match, the score was level at 24-24.
In a common trend to the match, Wests Tigers returned serve in the 67th minute when late inclusion Toa Mata’afa crossed over out wide. Mapesone missed his first conversion for the day, but the home side had a lead at 28-24.
A strong set after points resulted in a Manly error with ten minutes remaining and second-rower Bayley Sironen crashed over next to the posts to hand Wests Tigers their biggest lead since of the game, before a late consolation try to Price reduced the final score to 34-30.
Wests Tigers will look to continue their strong start to season 2016 next week when they take on the Gold Coast Titans at Cbus Super Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
FINAL — Wests Tigers 34 (Karwhin 2, Sharpe, Sironen, Mata’afa, Tatola tries; Mapesone 5/6 goals) def. Sea Eagles 30 (Price 2, Hynes, Bainbridge, Parkers tries; Coffin 5/5 goals).