Despite a gritty effort from he Rabbitohs’ NYC side – fighting right up until the final minutes of play, the Wests Tigers took the Round 14 points by 28-22 at ANZ Stadium tonight (Friday).
Less than two minutes into the match, a defensive lapse from the Rabbitohs saw Tigers hooker Jacob Liddle dance through the middle of the field before racing the remaining metres to score adjacent to the posts. Veiru Mapesone converted to give Wests an early 6-0 lead.
Off the back of three repeat-sets on the Tigers’ line thanks to penalties, the Rabbitohs attacked the line with vigour and eventually came up with points when Damon Goolagong crossed out wide. Jordie Hedges made no mistake from out wide to level it up at six apiece.
Just over half way into the first half, a failed Tigers bomb diffusion on their own line gave the red and green’s another opportunity to score. But a forward pass on the second tackle ended the raid prematurely.
But it would be the Tigers who draw blood next when a series of passes out wide eventually landed in the hands of winger Ryland Jacobs who dived over out wide. Mapesone converted from the touch-line to make it 12-6.
The Rabbitohs’ problems were compounded on the very next tackle when Tigers skipper Te Maire Martin streaked through Souths’ defence to score under the posts before Mapesone added the extras to make it 18-6 going into the break.
On the resumption, Rabbitohs replacement Tom Perrin hit-back for the side when he crossed millimetres inside touch. Hedges’ outstanding run of touch-line conversion form continued when he knocked the ball over the cross-bar to make it 18-12.
The Tigers would ultimately have the next say though when Watson Heleta crossed for another Tigers’ four-pointer. While Mapesone missed the conversion, a penalty goal for the halfback minutes later made the score 24-12.
Jordie Hedges added a four-pointer to his points haul when he crossed out wide. Hedges was unable to add the extras, leaving the score at 24-16.
With just under six minutes remaining, Tigers centre Marion Seve overpowered the Rabbitohs’ defence to register another try for his side to make it 28-16.
But even with the clock reading less than a minute remaining, the Rabbitohs continued to apply pressure, and as a result, Perrin grabbed his second of the night before Hedges converted the try in virtually no time at all.
Despite a gallant effort, the it would be the Tigers who would go home with the points by 28-22.
Tigers 28 (Jacob Liddle, Ryland Jacobs, Te Maire Martin, Watson Heleta, Marion Seve tries; Veiru Mapesone 4 goals)
Rabbitohs 22 (Damon Goolagong, Tom Perrin 2, Jordie Hedges, tries; Jordie Hedges 3 goals)