By Michelle Boon
The Wests Tigers ensured they would have a happy Easter weekend after demolishing the Canterbury Bulldogs 40-6 at Belmore Oval on Saturday.
It was a tense battle in the opening minutes as both teams attempted to stamp their authority on the match until Tigers’ front rower Ben Murdoch-Masila found himself in the right place at the right time to score an opportunist try out wide swooping on a loose ball close to the line. Five eighth Jack Madden converted and after 14 minutes they were leading 6-0.
The resolve of both sides remained and it took another 12 minutes before Tigers’ second rower Cory Paterson crossed out wide after gaining enough momentum from a strong angled run to drag defenders over the line with him. Madden couldn’t convert to take the score to 10-0.
Five minutes later Tigers’ winger Taqele Naiyaravaro went over in the left hand corner touching down on a well-weighted grubber kick only inches inside the dead ball line. Again Madden couldn’t find the sticks but they were ahead 14-0.
With three minutes remaining in the half fellow Tigers’ winger Marika Koroibete scored in the right hand corner finishing off a great backline move with precision footwork up the touchline. Madden’s boot was off target and at half time they were in control 18-0.
Tigers’ fullback Daniel Abou-Sleiman celebrated his return to an old stomping ground five minutes after resumption by crossing near the posts backing up a superb bust from replacement Jy Hitchcox that started 35m out from the Bulldogs’ line. Paterson added the extras to put them further ahead 24-0.
Six minutes later the Bulldogs got on the board through halfback Moses Mbye going over out wide after they kept the ball alive within the Tigers’ 10m zone until they simply ran out of defenders. Fullback Patrick Templeman converted to take the score to 24-6.
With 18 minutes to go Murdoch-Masila went over for his double near the posts after halfback Nathan Waters raced through a massive gap 35m out from his own line before linking with Naiyaravaro who was pulled down 10m out, allowing Murdoch–Masila to stroll over on the next play. Paterson’s conversion restored the lead to 30-6.
Hitchcox then had a ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ moment when he crossed in the left hand corner collecting a 12m goal line dropout on the fly and zooming straight up the touchline past a stranded defender with five minutes remaining. Paterson couldn’t convert but they were comfortably ahead 34-6.
Shortly after Koroibete notched his double after finding space up the right hand sideline 20m out and improving the position to score under the posts. Paterson had no trouble with the goal and at full time the Tigers were convincing winners 40-6.
The Tigers will enjoy the bye in round eight while the Bulldogs are at home once again as they host the Knights at Belmore on Saturday.
Wests Tigers 40 (M Koroibete 2, B Murdoch Masila 2, J Hitchcox, D Abou Sleiman, T Naiyaravoro, C Paterson tries; C Paterson 3, J Madden goals) def. Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 6 (M Mbye try; P Templeman goal) at Belmore Sports Ground.