Young fullback Reece Walsh has inspired the New Zealand Warriors to a 30-26 victory over the Wests Tigers in Gosford.
After relegating regular fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck to the wing, Walsh stepped up to the plate and produced a career-best performance that included one try and three try assists.
Michael Maguire’s Tigers will be left to rue several missed opportunities that saw them squander two chances with a one-man advantage.
The Tigers were able to get the jump on the Warriors through a try to Luke Garner, who beat Reece Walsh to a rolling grubber kick from Joey Leilua.
An error from Tommy Talau opened the door for the Warriors to level the scores, and they did so through a cutout pass from Walsh that sent Marcelo Montoya over the line.
Garner soon hit back with his second try of the evening before a Warriors onslaught gave them an eight point lead at halftime.
BEAUTIFUL short ball from Mbye and Garner crosses for his second! ? #TelstraPremiership #NRLWarriorsTigers pic.twitter.com/id5XTlTNDg
— NRL (@NRL) May 21, 2021
Tuivasa-Sheck started the scoring spree with some slick footwork to beat Joey Leilua before sending Jack Murchie away to score.
Tuivasa-Sheck then scored one of his own off the back of a pinpoint floated pass from Walsh.
Against a retreating Wests defence, Reece Walsh then saw space to run and launched himself towards the try-line to score untouched.
This kid is INSANE! ? #TelstraPremiership #NRLWarriorsTigers pic.twitter.com/3rV49yG3GQ
— NRL (@NRL) May 21, 2021
Needing a lift in the second half, the Tigers were gifted a try from a Marcelo Montoya error.
In his 150th game, winger David Nofoaluma was on the spot to clean up the scraps and score his seventh try of the season.
Nofoaluma then came close to regaining the lead for the Tigers following an intercept, but a professional foul led to Ben Murdoch-Masila being sent to the sin bin.
Adam Doueihi tied the game and then put his side up by two with a pair of conversions.
Elisea Katoa soon joined Murdoch-Masila in the bin after an ugly lifting tackle that ended with Luciano Leilua landing on his head.
With their backs against the wall, the Warriors rallied and remarkably put two tries on the struggling Tigers defence.
Kodi Nikorima set up the first with a sly kick into the in-goal for Wayde Egan, before Reece Walsh helped his side increase their buffer with a cutout ball for Marcelo Montoya.
The Tigers set up a grandstand finish with James Tamou’s second try in as many weeks, but their comeback efforts were cruelled by an error from Adam Doueihi after the siren that ended a dangerous attacking raid.
With the win, the Warriors sneak back into the top eight, with the Raiders and Titans results still to come this weekend.
The Tigers remain on three wins and their slim finals hopes continue to dwindle as the side fails to bring up their first pair of consecutive wins this year.
The Tigers will have a chance to bounce back against the out-of-form Dragons next Friday night at Bankwest Stadium, while the Warriors will travel to North Queensland to face Todd Payten’s men on Friday evening.
NRL News Player of the Game:
3 – Reece Walsh
2 – Roger Tuivasa-Sheck
1 – Luke Brooks