Last played: Wests Tigers v Dragons
The Wests Tigers defeated the Dragons 22-12 at a wet and windy Allianz Stadium in Round 23 last season, extracting revenge for a 36-12 thrashing at WIN Jubilee Stadium in Round 3.
The victory saw the gold-and-blacks maintain their grip on eighth place on the ladder and dented the Red V’s hopes of a finals berth.
However, it was the visitors who drew first blood in the 10th minute when Brett Morris crossed for a stunning individual try, receiving the ball on the left edge 35 metres out, chipping ahead on the 20-metre line then beating Tim Moltzen to regather the ball and score.
Three minutes later the Dragons were on the scoreboard again thanks to hooker Mitch Rein, who ducked over from dummy-half for an 8-nil lead.
It wasn’t until just before halftime that the Tigers clicked into gear, Robbie Farah initiating a left-edge second-man play that saw Moltzen slide over to bridge the gap to four points at oranges.
Playing with a strong wind at their backs the Tigers exploded early in the second half, Benji Marshall hoodwinking the Dragons’ right-edge defenders before turning a smart ball back inside for Liam Fulton to score. Marshall converted and the Tigers led 10-8 in the 45th minute.
The Tigers went further ahead five minutes later when Moltzen won the race to a delicate Farah grubber into the in-goal, before Brett Morris scored his second try of the night for a 16-12 scoreline with 15 minutes to go.
However, with nine minutes showing on the clock, a reverse-look inside flick pass from Marshall to Moltzen from close range saw the Tigers’ No.1 cross for his third try and seal the deal.
A breakdown of the match stats shows the Tigers completed five more sets than the Dragons (32-27) and made six offloads to three. However the Tigers’ kicking game was the real difference – they booted a whopping 810 metres compared to 418 from the Dragons.
The Tigers’ best were Marshall (three try assists), Farah (a try assist and 43 tackles) and Molzen – who, although bagging three tries, was credited with just 44 running metres throughout the 80 minutes!
Brett Morris (168 metres and eight tackle busts) and Ben Creagh (126 metres) were standouts in the beaten side.