By Michelle Boon at Leichhardt Oval
The Wests Tigers continued their great mid-season form, recording their fifth victory in a row with a 32-16 win over Newtown at Leichhardt Oval on Saturday.
The Tigers were out of the blocks early when winger Jy Hitchcox scored in the left hand corner finishing off a great backline move using an overlap then brushing off a defender close to the line. Five eighth Mitchell Moses didn’t convert and they led 4-0.
Newtown levelled it up in the 18th minute through centre Samisoni Langi going over in the right hand corner in a near-perfect repeat of the Tigers’ try-scoring play and halfback Arana Taumata similarly missed his conversion attempt to leave the score 4-all.
With 12 minutes to go Tigers’ replacement Inno Inosesio crashed over near the post after they got a repeat set courtesy of a penalty in the Jets’ 20m zone, allowing Inosesio to charge over from close range. Moses converted to put them ahead 10-4.
Seven minutes later Tigers’ centre Asipeli Fine crossed in the right hand corner after they worked their numbers well in the 20m zone & he managed to slice between defenders from 7m out to plunge over. Moses’ conversion gave them a 16-4 lead at half time.
The Tigers were back on their game early in the second half when centre Keith Lulia scored in the 5th minute following a great backline move where he was able to get around his opposition up the sideline and touch down in the left hand corner. Moses couldn’t convert but they were now leading 20-4.
Seven minutes later Newtown five eighth Kurt Kara crossed in the right hand corner after Langi sliced through the right hand centres inside his own half, making 30m before finding teammates in support and Kara eventually finished the movement off. Replacement Rhyse Martin converted to make it 20-10.
The Newtown resurgence continued when Taumata scored under the posts six minutes later backing up a great break from hooker Heath L’Estrange. Martin added the extras to put them right back in it at 20-16.
With 16 minutes left Moses crossed out wide after Lulia spotted some thin defence down the left hand side and slipped a great ball to Moses who had room to move up the sideline unopposed from 10m out. His conversion gave them breathing space at 26-16.
Hitchcox completed what could have been the play of the game five minutes later holding up Jets’ winger Tautau Moga in-goal after he went over unopposed out wide then tried to sneakily improve the position for Martin completely unaware of Hitchcox’s determination in a one-on-one matchup.
This seemed to have the desired effect of stemming Newtown’s momentum while boosting the Tigers as numerous Newtown raids on the Tigers’ line went unrewarded.
The Tigers wrapped it up right on full time when winger Setefano Taukafa was put through a gap by a superb pass from halfback Michael Stevens off the back of a scrum 10m out and he busted through another tackle before carrying a defender over the line to score out wide. Moses added another goal to give the Tigers a well-deserved 32-16 victory at full time.
This weekend the Tigers will once again be at home, this time at Campbelltown, when they host Mounties while the Jets return to Henson Park to host the Roos.
Wests Tigers 32 (I Inosesio, J Hitchcox, A Fine, K Lulia, S Taukafa, M Moses tries; M Moses 4 goals) def. Newtown Jets 16 (A Taumata, K Kara, S Langi tries; R Martin 2 goals) at Leichhardt Oval.