The Wests Tigers defeated the Wyong Roos 28-24 in an absolute thriller at Morry Breen Oval.
The game was in the balance for the entire contest and it seemed the Roos were going to win after they took the lead late in the match before David Nofoaluma scored a dramatic try on the stroke of fulltime for the Tigers steal the victory.
It was a battle of the halfbacks, as Josh Drinkwater from the Wests Tigers and Tyler Cornish for the Roos stood out for both sides. Wests Tigers makeshift fullback Kurtis Rowe also had an outstanding game.
Drinkwater forced an early dropout in the 4th minute of the game before setting up Jordan Grant to score the first try of the afternoon. He then converted the try to make it 6-0.
The Roos hit back in the 13th minute when Lagi Setu showed strength from dummy half to evade the Tigers defenders and score. Cornish converted the try to make it 6-all.
Following the try, the Roos made a meal off the kickoff that resulted in a dropout, which gave Wests Tigers an immediate opportunity to take the lead once again.
They did that through John Sila who finished a nice left-to-right shift in the corner. Drinkwater kicked the goal from the sideline to make it 12-6 after 16 minutes.
Wests Tigers were in again in the 23rd minute when Wes Lolo offloaded to Lamar Liolevave who powered his way through the first line of defence, and scored with two defenders on his back. Drinkwater converted to make it 18-6.
A try went begging for Wests Tigers just three minutes later when Rowe broke through the line and then passed to Drinkwater who was in open space before dropping it.
The Roos made Wests Tigers pay for that error in the 31st minute when Mitch Williams gave the ball to Leivaha Pulu who hit the line, spun, and then passed to Omar Slaimankhel who scored in the left corner. Cornish missed the conversion and it was 18-10, which was the halftime score.
Just two minutes into the second half it looked as though Andy Fiagatusa had scored for Wests Tigers but Drinkwater’s pass was ruled forward.
The Roos again scored off the back of a Wests Tigers error when Abraham Papalii scored after a great run by Matt Mcilwrick. Cornish missed the kick and it remained 18-14.
Keith Lulia scored for the Tigers with 20 minutes remaining after a kick deflection before a string of passes to the unmarked try scorer. Drinkwater missed his first conversion and it was 22-14.
The miracle comeback was on when the Roos went to the short side while on the attack and Cornish dribbled a grubber through for Brendan Elliot to score. Cornish converted and it was 22-20 after 65 minutes.
On the following set, the Roos forced a dropout before taking the lead for the first time when Samisoni Langi bulldozed his way over to score. Cornish missed the goal and it was 24-22.
The Tigers were constantly on the attack for the final eight minutes and every time the Roos got out of trouble, they would make a crucial error.
Eventually, a poor kick fell into the hands of Nofoaluma who made a solid run up field to give the Tigers one more chance despite protests he kicked a Roos defender in the face whilst attempting to get up and play the ball.
At the end of that set, Drinkwater threw a pass to Nofoaluma who ran over the line and scored the clutch try, stealing the win from the Roos.
It was a high-quality game of rugby league with a thrilling finish and Drinkwater was the star of the match.
The Roos will travel to Aubrey Keech Reserve next week to face the high-flying Mounties, while the Tigers will play the Newcastle Knights at Hunter Stadium.
Wests Tigers 28 (J Sila, J Grant, L Liolevave, K Lulia, D Nofoaluma, tries; J Drinkwater 4 goals) bt Wyong Roos 24 (O Slaimankhel, L Setu, A Papalii, B Elliot, S Langi tries; T Cornish 2 goals)