In a season already filled with highlights, Wests Tigers have produced arguably their finest performance of the season so far to down the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 38-12 in their Round 6 clash at Lottoland this afternoon.
Off the back of a spectacular first half that saw the visitors lead 26-0 at the break, Ivan Cleary’s side continued to starve the Sea Eagles in the second half before emerging with a comprehensive victory.
The win is Wests Tigers fifth of the season so far and leaves them firmly entrenched in the top four ahead of a home game next weekend against the Newcastle Knights at Scully Park, Tamworth.
After his heroics last weekend, Luke Brooks got the match off to the perfect start with a deft kick in behind finding Chris Lawrence for his second try in as many weeks — giving the visitors an early 6-0 lead.
That scoreline was soon doubled as Brooks continued to terrorise the Manly right edge defence, dancing free of his man before turning Kevin Naiqama back on the inside who in turn put Malakai Watene-Zelezniak over for his first try of the 2018 season. Marsters made no mistake with the simple conversion, giving Cleary’s men a stunning 14-0 lead after as many minutes following another penalty goal.
Brooks wasn’t done with Manly’s defence, however, and soon crossed for a try of his own off the back of some sustained pressure — burrowing over from dummy half to score under the black dot.
His brilliant 40 minutes would yield another try-assist three minutes later, combining brilliantly with Benji Marshall for a set play on the right side this time to extend the visitors’ lead out to 24-0.
Marsters made no mistake with the conversion from out wide, giving Wests Tigers a stunning 26-0 lead at half-time — their biggest half-time lead since Round 23 of the 2009 season.
It wouldn’t take long for Wests Tigers to continue their incredible performance as Marshall stepped his way through the line for his second try of the day, with Marsters converting off the post for a 32-0 lead.
Joel Thompson would cross for his first try in his new colours to grab Manly’s first points of the day, with Daly Cherry-Evans’ shanked conversion bouncing off the crossbar to cut the lead to 32-6.
Brad Parker would ensure Manly would win the second half with a try three minutes from time, but it was simply a formality for both sides as Wests Tigers would ensure the match finished on a winning note with Jacob Liddle grabbing a penalty try in the closing moments of the match.
Wests Tigers 38 (Marshall 2, Lawrence, Watene-Zelezniak, Brooks, Liddle tries; Marsters 7/7 goals) def. Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 12 (Thompson, Parker tries; Cherry-Evans 2/2 goals)