Age is only a number and Benji Marshall is showing he still has it, guiding the Wests Tigers to victory over the Cronulla Sharks.
Trailing at half-time, the Tigers were led by Benji in a rousing second half comeback to continue a bad week for the Sharks.
Determined to prove that Bronson Xerri’s positive drug test would not perturb them, the Sharks did lead at half-time.
It was actually the Tigers who started the stronger of the two sides, with recruit Harry Grant scoring.
The try was set up by Tigers halfback Luke Brooks, who showed his skills with a crafty run and offload.
A successful captain’s challenge from the Tigers would then lead to their second try.
A towering Marshall kick was dropped by Sharks fullback Will Kennedy.
Moses Mbye was there to pick up the scraps and he found Robert Jennings on his outside who scored.
At 10-0, the Tigers seemed in control but a veteran Sharks centre would have different ideas.
Sharks back-rower Wade Graham showed his deft kicking touch, grubbering ahead for Josh Dugan to score his first.
Graham would be the provider again for Dugan, this time throwing a cut-out pass for the veteran.
The Sharks continued to press for further points and it eventually came via Kennedy.
He burst through a gap in the Tigers defensive line to score his first NRL try.
That would be all the points the Sharks scored in the game, as the Tigers held them scoreless.
On the attack, the Tigers would eventually score through back-rower Luke Garner.
Nofoaluma made a break down the right and found his Tigers teammate in support on his inside.
The scores were then level at 16-apiece when a penalty goal from Marshall levelled it up.
Then, a play not seen often in rugby league; Nofoaluma made a break from a drop-out and he scored a try of his own.
A further try to Josh Aloiai and a Moses Mbye penalty goal put the icing on the cake.
The loss was compounded by the losses of Chad Townsend (hamstring) and Andrew Fifita (calf) who was a late withdrawal.
Cronulla Sharks coach John Morris admits that he is not sure if Townsend will be fit for next week.
“That wasn’t ideal to lose your halfback when you’re chasing some points,” Morris said.
“But you’d think he’d be in some sort of doubt next week if he couldn’t finish the game with a hamstring complaint.”
With the Tigers spine performing well, head coach Michael Maguire praised his side.
“I guess over the last two or three weeks, we’ve been fortunate through the circumstances that we’ve had a bit of time building a combination between those boys,” he said.
“I could see that growing as the game was going on.
We’ve still got a few times where we’re still not where we need to be, and that will come in time spent playing together and training together.”
NRL News Player of the Game
3. David Nofoaluma (WST)
2. Wade Graham (CRO)
- Josh Aloiai (WST)