The Wests Tigers snapped their frustrating four-match losing streak with a 36-16 victory over the Newcastle Knights.
Wests Tigers had blown four consecutive leads coming into the clash, but they turned the tables by overcoming a 16-12 halftime deficit to score 24-unanswered second-half points.
Penani Manumalealii was outstanding for Wests Tigers as he was always involved and broke the line on various occasions. His halves partner Te Maire Martin bagged a double, while makeshift fullback Kurtis Rowe and bench player Matthew Woods were also outstanding.
The opening five minutes saw a positive start to both teams, but it was Wests Tigers who scored first after Martin threw an outstanding face-ball to a charging Lamoi Liolevave who put the ball down on the left edge.
Knights hit back in the 15th minute when Honeti Tuha was on the receiving end of a nice right-to-left shift. Kerrod Holland hit the post with his conversion attempt and trailed 6-4.
They took the lead immediately after the kickoff when Holland made a remarkable linebreak along the right sideline and gave it off to Jaelen Feeney who was in support.
Marvin Filipo furthered the Knights’ lead to 16-6 when he crashed over in the 28th minute. At this stage, it was a one-sided affair, but the momentum dramatically swung Wests Tigers’ way.
Martin stepped through the Knights’ defence to score that came off the back of an excellent Delouise Hoeter linebreak. This cut the deficit to 16-12, which was the halftime score.
The second half was all one-way traffic, beginning when Hoeter caught a deflected bomb that was not handled by the Knights, and crashed over to take back the lead.
Wests Tigers then scored one of the most unbelievable tries of the season four minutes later. Hoeter started it by regathering a bomb, shifted it left, and was then kicked into the hands of Keith Lulia, who moved the ball infield. The ball was kept alive and eventually after a string of passes to the left, Nathan Milone scored in the left corner.
Rowe increased the lead to 30-16 with 20 minutes remaining when he powerfully fended off a defender and scored with various Knights players on his back. The score was beginning to reflect the dominance of Wests Tigers.
Martin capped off an impressive game in the 74th minute when he sold a massive dummy close to the line and planted the ball down. Woods completed a perfect day with the boot to make the final score 36-16.
Tigers coach Paul Fletcher will be extremely satisfied that his team were able to put in a strong second-half performance for the first time in over a month, particularly due to the fact they did not concede a point for the final 52 minutes.
The Tigers will face the North Sydney Bears at North Sydney Oval next week, while the Knights will travel to Ringrose Park to take on the Wentworthville Magpies.
Wests Tigers 36 (T Martin 2, N Milone, D Hoeter, K Rowe, L Liolevave tries; M Woods 4, Rowe 2 goals) bt Newcastle Knights 16 (H Tuna, J Feeney, M Filipo tries; K Holland 2 goals)