By Michelle Boon
The Wests Tigers scored a comfortable 28-18 win over the Wyong Roos at Morry Breen Oval on Saturday.
The later start and quite warm conditions had an early impact on the match with neither side able to disturb the scoreboard in the first part of the game.
It took 27 minutes for Wyong to claim first points with hooker Mitch Williams scoring near the posts after darting out from dummy half and sprinting through a gap from close range. Halfback Darren Nicholls converted to lead 6-0.
The Tigers replied with five minutes left in the half through centre Corey Brown crossing out wide finishing off a good team move. Five eighth Blake Austin couldn’t convert and the score was 6-4.
Soon after Tigers’ fullback Kurtis Rowe scored near the posts after replacement Sitaleki Akauola busted through the line 35m out and found fellow replacement Inno Inosesio in support who made some more metres before turning it back to Rowe. Austin’s conversion gave the Tigers the advantage at half time 10-6.
The Tigers kept the pressure on early in the second half when second rower Ben Murdoch-Masila crashed over out wide from a straight hard run, making Wyong pay for a crucial handling error close to their line. Austin converted to take the score to 16-6.
Seven minutes later Austin crossed near the posts after throwing a beautiful dummy and slicing through the resulting gap. He added the extras to extend their lead to 22-6.
Murdoch-Masila followed this up shortly after with his double for the afternoon, an opportunist try from pouncing on a spilled bomb close to Wyong’s line and plunging over. Austin converted to take the score to 28-6.
With a safe margin under the belts the Tigers seemed to relax, taking the foot off the pedal and allowing Wyong a chance to get back in the game when Nicholls went over under the posts finishing off a great team move with 14 minutes remaining. His conversion made the score 28-12.
With five minutes remaining Wyong lock Brock Molan crossed out wide, slicing through a gap created by sustained pressure in the Tigers’ 20m zone. Nicholls added the extras but it wasn’t enough and at full time the Wests Tigers came away with a 28-18 victory.
The Tigers will travel across the ditch to take on the New Zealand Warriors on Saturday; whilst Wyong travel to Belmore to take on the Bulldogs.
Wests Tigers 28 (B Austin 2, B Murdoch-Masila, C Brown, K Rowe tries; B Austin 4 goals) def. Wyong Roos 18 (D Nicholls, M Williams, B Molan tries; D Nicholls 3 goals) at Morry Breen Oval.