By Lars Roy at North Sydney Oval
Third placed West Tigers have picked up a valuable 42-24 win away, against the North Sydney Bears at North Sydney Oval on Saturday.
After conceding back-to-back penalties, the Tigers failed to hold out North Sydney winger, Tom Hughes, who opened the scoring in the 7th minute of the game.
Hughes could not believe his luck when an in-and-away move by Curtis Johnston, allowed him to draw-and-pass the winger to score in his VB NSW Cup debut.
The Tigers hit back only five minutes later however, through Setefano Taukafa off the scrum, who proved running straight and hard at inside shoulders would result in points.
This was the theme of the Tigers’ game plan, scoring five of their eight tries from simple, but effective, hole-running.
A terrific set after points, followed by a Bears mistake from the kick, resulted in the Tigers’ second try of the game through Sitaleki Akauola, whose brute strength was too much for a valiant one-on-one attempt by Matt Hyland.
The Bears would be next to hit back in the 22nd minute, this time through Curtis Johnston, who looked like he wanted to get amongst the scorers after swapping positions with Tom Hughes.
This sparked a run from the Bears who scored the next two tries of the match, through front rower Nathaniel Neale and again through Curtis Johnston.
The Tigers closed the Bears’ eight-point lead to just two however, when Sitaleki Akauola also crossed for his second try of the match.
Sharp goalkicking from half, Jack Madden, saw the visitors only two behind at the break with the score at 20-18.
The second half started promising for the Bears, building pressure on the back of Jordan Worboys, who forced two goal line drop-outs in a row.
The Tigers, however, showed resilience in their goal line defence and purpose in their running, benefitting through Corey Brown who touched down 10 minutes into the second half.
Despite Madden’s first miss of the day, the Tigers managed to regain the lead at 22-20.
From here it was all the Tigers, who scored the next four tries of the match. This flurry of points saw Setefano Taukafa score his second and marked John Sila, Sam Hollis and Kyle Lovett on the score sheet also.
With only four minutes remaining in the match, a head-high tackle from Setefano Taukafa on Curtis Johnston sparked a scuffle between the two sides.
This resulted in Taukafa being placed on report and Joe Uluibau and Jack Buchanan being sent to the sin bin.
With the Bears in possession and nothing to lose, they picked up a consolation try in the last minute through Curtis Johnston, who deservedly brought up his hat-trick.
Both teams will play at home next weekend on the Saturday, with the Bears returning to North Sydney to take on the Illawarra Cutters and the Tigers facing off against the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs at Leichardt Oval.
Wests Tigers 42 (S Taukafa 2, S Akauola 2, J Sila, C Brown, S Hollis, K Lovett tries; J Madden 5 goals) def. North Sydney Bears 24 (C Johnston 3, N Neale, T Hughes tries; K Aldridge 2 goals) at North Sydney Oval.