The Wests Tigers have held off the Canberra Raiders 16-10 in a tight early battle in the Auckland Nines.
An electrifying first half from big-name Raiders recruit Sisa Waqa helped them out to an early lead. The winger set up two long-range tries, finished off by Lachie Croker and Jack Ahearn, before the Tigers clawed one back right on half time as Jack Buchanan barged over next to the posts.
The momentum swung firmly towards the Tigers in the second half as young centre Kyle Lovett bagged a pair following good lead up work from Tim Simona and then Chris Lawrence.
Raiders legend Ken Nagas was desperately unlucky not to score as he toed a ball ahead and was then tackled without it, with seemingly the entire crowd willing him over the line.
That would have given the Raiders a chance to level up the scores but the Tigers held on to their 16-10 lead in a frantic final 30 seconds of the match.
Nagas was disappointed to miss out on a try in his first game back in Raiders colours, but was thrilled to be back.
"I don't know what happened there [on denied try], but I came close," Nagas said.
"It was pretty hard, actually. I haven't engaged in a lot of contact for a long time. They're big boys."
And what about the crowd's roar when Nagas went close to getting on the scoreboard?
"I didn't even notice [the crowd]," he said. "I was having that much of a good time, I didn't even know."
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