By Michelle Boon at Campbelltown Sports Stadium
The Wyong Roos secured their semi-final berth in the VB NSW Cup competition with a clinical 26-16 win over the Wests Tigers at Campbelltown Sports Stadium on Saturday.
Wyong struck first after five minutes of play when hooker Mitch Williams went over out wide slicing through a gap from 12m out off the back of a downfield penalty. Fullback Mark Kheirallah couldn’t convert to lead 4-0.
The Tigers replied 10 minutes later through winger Setefano Taukafa chasing through then touching down on a grubber kick in traffic to score in the right hand corner. Centre Corey Brown didn’t convert and the scores were level at 4-all.
With 15 minutes remaining in the half Tigers’ lock Inno Inosesio scored under the posts backing up a neat line bust from front rower Jack Buchanan close to the line and Brown’s conversion put them into the lead 10-4 which they held at half time.
The break proved just the tonic for Wyong as they quickly levelled the match three minutes into the half with Kheirallah running into a huge gap 10m out from the Tigers’ line off a superb pass from five eighth Jono Ford. He converted his own try to take the score to 10-all.
Three minutes later Wyong were in again through replacement Shaun Boss reaching out to touch down near the posts in traffic following a storming run from close range. Kheirallah added the extras to give them the lead 16-10.
They extended their lead with 17 minutes to go following an altercation up field that left each team one player down and in the ensuing re-organisation Wyong drove their play towards the right hand corner where Williams provided a great pass onto replacement Sam Bernstrom to score. Kheirallah failed to convert, making the score 20-10.
With 11 minutes to go Wyong lock Zane Tetevano crossed out wide after he positioned himself beautifully between defenders then ran the resulting gap to perfection. Kheirallah’s conversion put them well in control at 26-10.
Four minutes later Tigers’ fullback Kurtis Rowe scored near the posts after slicing through the defensive line 35m out, beating the last line then outpacing the cover. Brown slotted the goal to give them a glimmer of hope at 26-16.
Unfortunately incomplete plays and solid Wyong defence kept their line intact, allowing them to run out winners at full time 26-16.
As a result, the Tigers dropped to sixth and the Roos finished the season in seventh, meaning that these two sides will clash again in an elimination final this Sunday afternoon at Leichhardt Oval.
Wyong Roos 26 (M Williams, M Kheirallah, S Bernstorm, Z Tetevano, S Boss tries; M Kheirallah 3 goals) def. Wests Tigers 16 (S Taukafa, I Inosesio, K Rowe tries; C Brown 2 goals) at Campbelltown Sports Stadium.