A Benji Marshall masterclass sees the Wests Tigers edge out the St George Illawarra Dragons 24-14 in a see-sawing final match of Round 1.
In what will be the last game for the foreseeable future where fans are permitted to attend, the Dragons didn’t take long to give them something to cheer about.
In the Dragons first set of the game, hulking winger Mikaele Ravalawa busted out of two tackles to make a length of the field break down the right flank.
After kicking, he beat Tigers fullback Corey Thompson to the ball but couldn’t quite control the putdown.
The bunker ruled Thompson had illegally interfered with the Ravalawa resulting in a penalty try.
The Tigers had to defend their line for the next period of the game before a momentum change saw them go down the other end.
An offload under the posts by interchange prop Thomas Mikaele saw a quick shift to the right where Benji Marshall was able to grubber for David Nofoaluma who scored in the corner.
Marshall converted from the sideline to level the scores at six all.
The wet weather brought with it handling errors and the game descended into a bit of an arm wrestle before Thompson let the ball slip out of hands in front of the posts.
His opposite number Lomax scooped it up for an easy try.
Lomax didn’t stay far from the action, knocking on from a Marshall bomb to put the Tigers on the attack just before halftime.
The Dragons survived a couple of sets defending their line to retain their 12 – 8 lead going into halftime.
The Dragons took a penalty goal early in the second half to push their lead out to 6 points.
It didn’t take the Tigers long to level things up.
Off the back of some quick play of the balls from Twal and Mikaele, Marshall took on the line and crashed over himself to score.
The Tigers then struck again through ex-Dragon Luciano Leilua who managed to beat Lomax, and the dead-ball line, to score off another pinpoint Marshall grubber.
A frantic final 20 minutes saw the Dragons have a number of chances to come back, but due to errors and good defence from the Tigers’ they couldn’t convert any of them.
In the end, the Tigers capped off a 24-14 win when Nofoaluma strolled over for his second try of the game with 30 seconds left to play.
NRL News Player of the Game
3. Benji Marshall
2. David Nofoaluma
1. Thomas Mikaele