West Tigers came into Round 4 off the back of a convincing away win over lasts years grand finalists the Wyong Roos. Adversely, Canterbury were looking to record their first win of the 2016 Intrust Super Premiership NSW season.
On a sunny Saturday afternoon at Leichhardt Oval, Josh Drinkwater's kicking game was near-flawless with deft grubbers kicks and a 40-20 resulting in multiple try-scoring opportunities. Chance Peni’s running game was outstanding in attack with the centre bagging two impressive try-assists.
Each side sized eachother up with some heavy hits in the opening exchanges but it was the Tigers who drew first blood as some quick hands from Chance Peni created an overlap that Jayden Wheelhouse was able to exploit to take full advantage down the Tigers right edge side. Josh Drinkwater failed to add the extras and the scores stood 4-nil at the 10-minute mark.
Not to be out-done, the winger-centre combination of Tyrone Phillips and Kerrod Holland pulled off a spectacular play just two minutes later for the Bulldogs. Phillips chipped and chased to catch his own kick along the sideline and offload to his supporting centre Holland. Holland ran the final 15 metres to score but was unable to convert his try and the scores stood at 4-4 at the 15-minute mark.
The next 20 minute period was a real arm wrestle as both sides attempted to score again. With five minutes to play until half-time, the Tigers regained the lead when an offload from Asipeli Fine found the hands of a flying Watson Heleta - who broke the line up the middle, drew Canterbury’s fullback before passing to Drinkwater. Scoring under the sticks, Drinkwater converted his own try to take the gap to six ith Tigers leading 10-4.
The ill-disciplined Bulldogs gave away a penalty in the next set and found themselves defending their line again. The Tigers spread the ball down their right edge and when centre Peni changed lines and accelerated into a hole, he again created room for his supporting winger; Wheelhouse rode the challenge of Abbey to slam the ball down just centremetres inside the touch line. Drinkwater failed to the convert the try and the gap stood at 10 points between the teams.
The scores stood 14-4 Tigers lead at half-time as a tired Bulldogs outfit headed to the sheds for a much-needed break.
A revamped Bulldogs outfit come charging out of the sheds to score just three minutes into the second half, as a looping cut out pass from Chisholm found the awaiting hands of Phillips, who beat two players to score. Holland was unable to convert the kick from the sideline so the gap stood at a converted try 14-8 at the 43-minute mark.
The Tigers answered back quickly with a try of their own, courtesy of some risky play from the Bulldogs which saw them turn the ball over near their own line. In the resulting set, Jeremy Marshall-King barged his way over the line to score and Drinkwater added the extras to take the lead back out to 12 points.
Wests scored again in the 55th when Drinkwater turned his own grubber kick infield off the deadline into the awaiting hands of Tyrone Cassel who grounded the bouncing ball. Drinkwater converted the try to take the scores to 26-8 Wests way.
A 40-20 in the 65th minute by Drinkwater saw Wests regain the ball 10 out from the Bulldogs' line and a barnstorming run from Jordan Grant saw the forward crash over just wide the posts.
Tigers were now firmly in control of the game sitting four converted tries in front, but allowed a consolation try for Abbey which was converted by Holland late in the game.
The scores stood 32-14 at the final whistle as the Tigers earned a much-deserved two points and the Bulldogs were left to face another week without a win.
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