The Wests Tigers looked to reproduce the first 40 minutes from last weeks game for a full 80, as they faced the Canterbury Bulldogs at Bankwest Stadium, to potentially move into the top-eight.
An early injury to Will Hopoate meant the game didn’t start too well for the Bulldogs, with the full-back catching his ankle under himself. The full-back wouldn’t return to the field, with Dallin Watene-Zelezniak moving to full-back.
With 15 minutes gone and still no score, the game was still very much in the balance, with both sides having decent chances of breaking through.
That was until Keiran Foran kicked on the fourth tackle in behind the Tigers for Reimis Smith to collect and walk around to score under the posts.
The Tigers levelled up just moments later, as a short side play resulted in a kick from David Nofoaluma back on the inside, which bounced awkwardly for Brandon Wakeham.
This allowed Harry Grant to collect the ball, and evade multiple tackles to burrow his way over the line.
The Tigers were taking advantage of the poor defence at marker from the Bulldogs, but hasty play from Wests on the outside kept letting the home side off the hook.
With five minutes until the break, the Bulldogs once again failed to deal with a fifth tackle kick, as Kerrod Holland fumbled to the ball to allow Sam McIntyre to pick up the ball and release Tommy Talau to run over in the corner.
The Tigers then turned two tries into three, as Joey Leilua ran the ball on the fifth tackle to power through the tackle of Watene-Zelezniak and Jake Averillo to ground the ball in the in-goal despite the best efforts of Raymond Faitala-Mariner.
HALF-TIME: Canterbury Bulldogs 6-16 Wests Tigers
Just four minutes into the second half, Talau picked up his second try, as the Tigers ran the ball on the fifth tackle, and shifted the ball out to the young winger who managed to keep his feet in the air and beat the stretched out arms of Kerrod Holland to score.
With half an hour gom the Tigers found themselves camped deep in the Bulldogs half, forcing multiple sets of six.
Adam Doueihi managed to crash over from short range, but Watene-Zelezniak got himself between the ball and the ground to stop the full-back.
Moments later, Doueihi hit the line once again, but once again the full-back couldn’t quite ground the ball and Canterbury held firm again.
Despite the Bulldog’s defence holding the Tigers out, it was a poor pass from Foran in the attack that was picked off by David Nofoaluma who raced away to score.
Nofoaluma looked to pick up his second on the hour mark thanks to brilliant work from Luke Brooks down the left edge.
The half-back opened the Bulldogs up on the left-hand side and kicked midfield to Moses Mbye, who took the tackle. After a quick play-the-ball, Grant shifted the ball to Reynolds, who then flicked onto Nofoaluma who dived over in the corner.
Despite the 24-point deficit, Canterbury were still trying to score.
Adam Elliott was the playmaker as he chipped over the top to himself, regathered, and then kicked ahead again for Foran to chase and slide over.
Unfortunately, the loose-forward dropped the ball onto the floor before the second kick and the try was disallowed keeping the score at 6-10 with just over ten minutes remaining.
In the 70th minute, Foran chipped into the corner for Holland to chase but an unfortunate bounce meant the ball kicked away and the Tigers escaped unscathed.
Minutes later it was third time lucky for Doueihi, who received a short ball from Grant on the short side, and the crash over the Canterbury defence to score.
The Tigers defence once again held firm in the final five minutes, as they kept the Bulldogs to nil in the second period.
Canterbury should have scored with their final attacking play, as Foran kicked towards Nofoaluma for Smith to outjump his opposite number but the Bulldog’s winger couldn’t hold onto the ball.
The win pushed the Tigers into the top eight, with Canterbury staying at the bottom of the table.
FULL-TIME: Canterbury Bulldogs 6-34 Wests Tigers
Hopoate, Smith, Holland, Averillo, Watene-Zelezniak, Foran, Wakeham, Tolman, Marshall-King, Napa, Jackson, Faitala-Mariner, Elliott
Interchanges: To’omaga, Cogger, Britt, Sue
Goals: Averillo (1/1)
Soueihi, Nofoaluma, J. Leilua, Mbye, Talau, Reynolds, Brooks, Aloiai, Grant, Clark, Garner, L. Leilua, Eisenhuth
Interchanges: Taylor, Mikaele, McIntyre, Chee-Kam
Tries: Grant, Talau (2), J. Leilua, Nofoaluma(2), Doueihi
Referee: H. Perenara
Touch Judges: K. Badger, Z. Przeklasa-Adamski
Video Referee: B. Norris
Image Source: @NRL (Twitter)