By Jamie Anderson at Leichhardt Oval
The Cinderella story of the VB NSW Cup, the Wyong Roos, has once again lived to fight another day as they defeated the Wests Tigers 26-8 at Leichhardt Oval on Sunday.
The win was their sixth straight and their second in a row against the Tigers, who they also defeated in the final round of the regular season to secure their maiden finals berth.
For the Tigers it has brought to an end a tumultuous season that at one stage saw them a likely premiership threat but as the season wore on and injuries took its toll on the club, they wilted badly to just scrape into the eight.
Damon Goolagong played perhaps his best game for Wyong in the win, and he laid on the first try of the day for former VB NSW Cup ‘Player of the Year’ Mitch Williams, after Goolagong made a break from his own end of the park before putting Williams away for the opener.
The match then settled down into a good old fashioned arm wrestle for the next half hour or so before it was once again Goolagong who sparked the Roos attack as he shot off down the right-hand touchline, and just before he was put into touch he kicked the ball back inside and found Mark Kheirallah who sprinted clear to extend the Roos lead to 10.
Just as it appeared that it would be 10-0 at half time, the Tigers managed to get on the board when Setefano Taukafa dotted down in the far corner to make it 10-4 at oranges.
It was game on in the 50th minute when Inno Inosesio did remarkably well to ground the ball when he jumped out of dummy half close to the Roos line, and despite plenty of attention, he reduced the deficit to just two points.
But for the Tigers fans, of whom there were plenty in attendance, this was the last time that they were to bother the scorers.
Wyong crossed in the 60th and 65th minutes thanks to Jay Florimo and Dale Clacherty respectively and then in the 70th minute, Goolagong deservedly got his name on the scorer’s sheet after grounding a deft Kheirallah grubber kick.
The win sees Wyong book a showdown with Wenty at Leichhardt Oval on Sunday with the match scheduled for a 4pm kick-off.
Wyong Roos 26 (M Kheirallah, D Goolagong, J Florimo, D Clacherty, M Williams tries; M Kheirallah 3 goals) def. Wests Tigers 8 (S Taukafa, I Inosesio tries) at Leichhardt Oval.