Highlights: Mounties v Wests Tigers (Rd 24)
Mounties made an emphatic statement, sounding out a finals warning by defeating the Wests Tigers 54-18.
With only one game left to the VB NSW Cup finals series Mounties proved they are a force to be reckoned with as they climbed to the top of the ladder, tied with the Panthers. The win officially closes the lid on the Wests Tigers’ finals hopes.
Stewart Mills and Brenko Lee both scored doubles, while Kurtis Rowe added another try to his season tally.
Jeremy Hawkins opened proceedings with a great try. The play was initiated by Josh McCrone, showing great vision to loft a ball over to Lee, who made an easy decision to draw and pass for Hawkins to cross next to the uprights.
Nathan Milone evened things up in the 10th minute when he pounced on a loose ball after Josh Drinkwater put a cross-field bomb up and Mounties couldn’t hang on to it.
McCrone, Mitch Cornish and Glen Buttriss were superb for Mounties, proving too hard to handle for the Wests Tigers forwards who couldn’t contain their relentless attack.
Mounties went on to score 24 points to conclude the first half 34-12.
It wasn’t the ideal start to the second half for Wests Tigers with Jarrod Farlow coming off with a knee injury and did not return to the match.
Mounties put the result to rest with Cornish standing his ground and cut-passed to Mills to score his double.
Mounties didn’t relent. Their skilful set moves continued to pay dividends, until Manaia Cherrington sparked his team by breaking through. Cherrington drew and passed to Penani Manumalealii enabling him to score under the black-dot.
After Tiger Manumalealii was sent to the sin-bin for back chat, Mounties’ hard-working forward Sam Duggan scored a well-deserved try.
Two Wests Tigers players, captain Josh Drinkwater and Michael Bullock, were also sent to the sin-bin in the 75th minute for dissention.
Next week Wests Tigers head to Belmore to play Canterbury on Friday night while Mounties play the Warriors in what will be a cracking finals preview at Aubrey Keech Reserve.
Mounties 54 (B Lee 2, S Mills 2, M Cornish 2, J Hawkins, M Cronin, W Mataka, A Duggan tries; Cornish 7 goals) bt Wests Tigers 18 (N Milone, K Rowe, P Manumalealii tries; J Drinkwater 3 goals) at Aubrey Keech Reserve.