With their side hit with a monumental injury toll, it was a win that can leave the players proud and the fans proud of their players, as the Wests Tigers battled back from a 14-point deficit to overcome the Penrith Panthers at Centrebet Stadium.
Trailing 18-4, the Tigers battled back despite their injuries and eventually won 20-18, though the injuries unfortunately keep coming, with Marika Koroibete out for 6 weeks with an elbow injury and David Nofoaluma to undergo scans on his ankle.
Benji Marshall, who filled in as captain in the absence of Robbie Farah, said it was perhaps one of the gutsiest performances he had ever been involved in.
“It would be one of the gutsiest for sure,” Marshall said.
“At halftime we said if we could run a bit harder and tackle a bit harder we would give ourselves a chance.
“The try before halftime definitely helped, we were on the back foot for a while there and it gave us the confidence to come out and have a go.”
It was early on and Wests Tigers coach Mick Potter had his hand in his mouth as he HCG saw Simmons touch down early for the Panthers thinking a possible big scoreline was on the cards, though he was pleased with his side’s character.
“I thought we did really well considering we didn’t have any ball for the first five sets,” Potter said.
“I think the tackle count was zero for them and when they did get the ball they beat us up a bit.
“But we showed real resilience to hang in there and the try from Tim Simona to win the game was fantastic.”
Ivan Cleary chose not to dwell too much on the loss, but admits that his side were caught off guard by just how inexperienced the Tigers side was.
“We opened the door and it was a stirring comeback and they should be congratulated,” Cleary said.
“It was a tough game and it was close, the second half was one of the games where we had chances but we couldn’t nail it.
“Then when we went behind, because it is something we haven’t had to do for a while, we didn’t handle it too well.”
3. Aaron Woods
2. David Nofoaluma
1. Mose Masoe