It must be hard to be a Wests Tigers supporter sometimes, surely Benji Marshall has shaved years off the lives of many aging Tigers fans.
The talented New Zealand pivot was at his diamonds and stones best tonight, pulling off some magical late plays to help Wests overcome a fast starting Cowboys. But it wasn’t all positive for Marshall, who had some poor touches early on he will probably want to forget.
Wests Tigers eventually running out winners over the Cowboys 26-16, but not before a Jonathan Thurston led Cowboys side racked up 3 early tries to lay down what should have been a winning platform. The Cowboys were unlucky not to have 4 tries tallied up, with the video referee ruling against another, which could have easily gone their way.
It was the most committed and damaging the Cowboys have been for some time, they came out in a good frame of mind – but as soon as the Tigers got close, the North Queensland as they have done for much of 2010 – got the wobbles and lost their confidence.
All too often, when the chips are down the Cowboys discipline goes out the window. Thurston for all his talent in attack and defence, crumbles under pressure and responds by attacking the referee. It never helps, it never will help – the sooner JT realises this, the better player for his team he will become.
The Tigers were flat early, probably a credit to the Cowboys energetic opening. Quick off the line, the Queenslanders were stifling any Wests play and frustrating them into simple errors.
The slippery Leichhardt track seemingly wasn’t to their liking, with Wests heading into half time 16-4 down.
But after some quality ball in enemy territory in the second half, the Tigers exploded into their confident selves.
5 tries in the second half simply tore the heart out of the Cowboys, with Benji getting balls to stick – topping it off with a classic chip and chase to position Tuqiri in the corner.
Liam Fulton in particular was solid for his team tonight, not only crashing over for a attractive try – but working hard and running good angles when his side were threatening.
The win allows the Wests Tigers to move equal with Penrith on competition points, an ideal chance for them now to snare a Top 2 ladder position as the season end nears.