By Michelle Boon
Mounties returned to the winners’ circle after downing the Wests Tigers 24-14 at a very chilly Aubrey Keech Reserve.
They were on the board quickly when winger Sami Sauiluma crossed after five minutes, leaping high to take a great chip kick from halfback Mitch Cornish to go over in the left hand corner.
Cornish couldn’t convert and they led 4-0.
In the 20th minute, Sauiluma had his double when he dashed a few metres down a short blind side to score in the left hand corner but again Cornish was off target to take the score to 8-0.
In the 34th minute, Mounties second rower Jarrad Kennedy crossed out wide after bursting through a gap 20m out from the Tigers’ line with too much momentum to be stopped.
Cornish converted to extend their lead to 14-0.
Four minutes later, Mounties winger Jeremy Hawkins went over in the right hand corner taking advantage of a huge overlap to find the line but did Cornish no favour as his conversion attempt was waved away.
Wests Tigers needed to be first and early scorers if they were to have any chance in the match and captain Jarrod Farlow led the way barging over out wide after two minutes off the back of quick plays from 30 metres out.
Second rower Cory Paterson converted to make it 18-6.
They followed this up three minutes later through centre Asipeli Fine showing alertness and urgency to slice through the line off a penalty tap 35 metres out then going the rest of the way to score out wide.
Paterson didn’t convert and the score was 18-10.
In the 69th minute, Wests Tigers’ centre Nathan Milone put them in the frame when he found himself on the end of a quick passing move close to Mounties’ line to cross in the left hand corner.
Paterson couldn’t add the extras and it had become a thriller at 18-14.
To Mounties’ relief though, they sealed the win when hooker Matt McIllwrick scored under the posts, busting through what was now a tired defensive line from 10 metres out.
Replacement Reece Goldsmith converted and at full time Mounties emerged victorious 24-14.
Mounties head over to New Zealand this Saturday to tackle the Warriors while the Tigers head over to Brooky to take on the Sea Eagles.
Mounties 24 (S Sauiluma 2, J Kennedy, M McIllwrick, F Vaiotu tries; M Cornish, R Goldsmith goals) def. Wests Tigers 14 (N Milone, A Fine, J Farlow tries; C Paterson goal) at Aubrey Keech Reserve.