Souths survive scare to all but end Tigers finals chance

The Wests Tigers welcomed the South Sydney Rabbitohs to Bankwest Stadium knowing that they must win or their hopes of a finals spot would be over.

Souths started the bright, with Adam Reynolds kicking game pinning Tigers inside their own half.

Just after the tenth minute, it was Reynolds linking up with Cody Walker on the right hand side, to create the space on the outside for Dane Gagai to score in the corner.

The Rabbitohs were always in control for the next ten minutes, and managed to extend their lead.

Josh Aloiai was penalised for a ball strip directly in front of the posts which allowed Reynolds to add the two points.

In the very next set, and just four tackles after the kick-off, Souths were in again.

Damien Cook ran from dummy-half and put Walker through a gap, with just Doueihi to beat, to pushed the ball to Corey Allan who slid over for the try.

It was open season for the Bunnies as a third try came immediately afterwards.

Cook played the ball down the left to Allan, who’s quick catch and pass allowed Alex Johnston to race down the wing.

Johnston then passed inside to Campbell Graham to slide over untouched.

Just after the half-hour mark, the Tigers were beginning to work themselves back into the game.

After a few minutes of pressure on the Souths line, Luke Garner collected a short ball from Harry Grant and crashed through Graham to score.

Wests picked up a second try in three minutes as Benji Marshall’s pass was perfectly timed to go behind the onrushing Luciano Leilua and into the hands of Tommy Talau through the gap and score his sixth of the season.

HALF-TIME: Wests Tigers 12-20 South Sydney Rabbitohs

The Tigers looked for all many to get over on the left edge after Marshall and Talau combined to get the ball toAsu Kepaoa.

However, Gagai made a fingertip interception to race away to the 20-metre line.

Alex Twal looked to slow the play-the-ball down but held on too long as was sent to the sin-bin.

A few minutes later, Luke Brook took exception to a ball throw by Dane Gagai and fists began to fly, with Brooks landing on Gagai.

Brooks was then sent to the sin-bin to drop the Tigers down to 11, with Gagai also spending ten minutes off the pitch.

The Tigers were awarded the penalty for the initial infringement, and looked to work further into the contest.

With the extra man, it didn’t take long for Reynolds and Walker to exploit the overlap.

The ball was shifted right and into the hands of Campbell Graham who walked in for his second.

With both sides back to 13, it was Brooks who picked up a try for the Tigers.

Marshall attempted a grubber kick up the short-side before flicking the ball back to David Nofoaluma.

The winger then kicked ahead with Brooks beaten by Allan and Doueihi to the ball and collecting cleanly and touching down.

Doueihi converted to cut the gap to eight points with just under 20 minutes remaining.

With 15 minutes to go, the Tigers grabbed another try, as Marshall threw a beautiful pass out to Kepaoa, who ran 20-metres into the corner and despite a last-ditch effort from Allan, the rookie winger grounded the ball before his foot drifted over the touchline.

With the score at 24-26, the next try was vital for both sides.

The Bunnies should have scored as the clock hit the 70th minute mark.

Alex Johnston was wide open on the left-wing when Graham threw the pass, but dropped the ball cold.

With three minutes to go, Marshall kicked early on tackle two for Chris Lawrence to chase but the kick was too heavy, and gifted Souths a seven tackle set.

The last fifth tackle play from the Tigers was cleaned up by Reynolds, and Souths wrapped up the ball to claim the win.

FULL-TIME: Wests Tigers 24-26 South Sydney Rabbitohs


Wests Tigers

Doueihi, Nofoaluma, Lawrence, Talau, Kepaoa, Marshall, Brooks, Aloiai, Grant, Mikaele, Garner, L. Leilua, Twal

Interchanges: Eisenhuth, Taylor, Liddle, McIntyre

Tries: Garner, Talau, Brooks, Kepaoa

Goals: Doueihi (4/4)

Sin-Bins: Twal, Brooks

South Sydney Rabbitohs

Allan, Johnston, Graham, Marsters, Gagai, Walker, Reynolds, Knights, Cook, Burgess, Su’A, Sironen, Murray

Interchanges: Nicholls, Cartwright, Mago, Koloamatangi

Tries: Gagai, Allen, Graham (2)

Goals: Reynolds (5/5)

Sin-Bins: Gagai

Referee: B. Cummins

Touch Judges: T. Smith, C. Sutton

Video Referee: B. Norrie

Image Source: @WestsTigers (twitter)

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