The Wests Tigers have snapped a poor run of form in the best possible fashion, beating the fancied South Sydney side with a barrage of skilful tries and even more impressive defence. Souths were never able to get started, Wests smothered them from the opening minutes and tackled as if their season depended on it; and in many ways it did.
They shattered the previous hotstreak Souths were on and Wests put their NRL campaign back on track finishing runaway winners 36-12 win at ANZ Stadium.
Led by a resurgent Benji Marshall, the Tigers returned to their trademark razzle dazzle footy to score 7 tries and only let Souths run in 2.
For Wests, young forward Dane Laurie remains an explosive figure. Raw and wreckless, the battering ram brings the crowd to their feet and he turned in a tireless performance for his side today – throwing himself into the match with amazing ferocity. Souths no. 7 Chris Sandow bore the brunt of the Laurie charges, copping the full brunt of the forward virtually everytime the man they call ‘Bob Marley’ ran the ball at the Souths line.
For Souths, they simply couldn’t get going. They had little luck and when they tried to hit the throttle the final pass would come loose or they would die with the ball. Credit must be given to the Tigers for their consistent defence, rarely giving the Bunnies room to move and quickly shutting down any attacking movements.
Despite the finals still being a mathematical possibility, September action now looks out of reach for the resurgent Bunnies who would need to win six of their last seven games to finish in the top eight.
A three-try burst either side of the halftime break handed the Tigers a comfortable 20-6 lead after 50 minutes, but Souths refused to give up and looked capable of mounting a comeback when prop Roy Asotasi slammed the ball down under the posts with 15 minutes remaining.
But as it had done all game, poor ball control cost the Rabbitohs and a John Morris chip kick for Beau Ryan’s second try sealed victory for the Tigers.
Chris Lawrence and Taniela Tuiaki completed their try doubles later and the Tigers moved just one point behind eighth-placed Penrith on the NRL ladder.
Marshall was back at his brilliant best as he grubbered behind the line for a Tuiaki try after nine minutes before the Tigers lost fullback Tim Moltzen to the sin bin for what referee Jason Robinson deemed a professional foul as he held on too long in the tackle after a Chris Sandow break.
Souths took advantage of his absence to lock it up via Jamie Simpson, and the Bunnies looked like putting more points on the board as they bombarded the visitors’ line.
But the Tigers’ goaline defence proved effective with Isaac Luke held up over the line by Bryce Gibbs before they went 100 metres downfield to take a six-point lead into the break when Ryan went over for his first.
A brilliant set play from the scrum involving Robbie Farah, who interchanged between halfback and hooker throughout the game, sent Lawrence on his way before Farah did it himself as he capitalised on some exhilarating football to duck over for a 20-6 lead.
Wests Tigers 36 (C Lawrence 2 B Ryan 2 T Tuiaki 2 R Farah tries B Marshall 4 goals) bt South Sydney 12 (R Asotasi J Simpson tries I Luke 2 goals) at ANZ Stadium. Referee: J Robinson. Crowd: 21,818.