Taupau double tramples Rabbitohs
The Wests Tigers have scored their first victory since Round 8, convincingly outplaying the South Sydney Rabbitohs for a 34-6 win at ANZ Stadium on Friday night.
Even without their star representative duo of Aaron Woods and Robbie Farah the Tigers looked in control all night, while the Rabbitohs welcomed Adam Reynolds back, they lacked control without Greg Inglis and Issac Luke.
Martin Taupau was huge for the Tigers, scoring two brutally powerful tries while providing much-needed aggression and power through the middle of the field.
The Tigers were rewarded for their strong start to the match with the game's first try in the seventh minute. James Tedesco was the spark and the finisher, beating three defenders in his second touch of a right-side movement. He put Tim Simona away down the left edge before backing up his centre's inside kick.
Martin Taupau would go in just three minutes later and rubbed salt into the wounds by absolutely blasting Alex Johnston with a monster fend on the goal line. Luke Brooks drew defenders before putting the big man through a yawning gap with a lovely short ball, making it 12-nil for the Tigers after just 10 minutes.
Tedesco got the 15,118 fans at ANZ stadium fans on their feet soon after with a scintillating run around South Sydney's right side defence. He showed blistering speed to get outside Aaron Gray before David Nofoaluma dropped an absolute sitter back on the inside to bomb a certain try.
The Tigers would have been worried with the ease in which the Rabbitohs hit back through Bryson Goodwin in the 15th minute. He beat Nofoaluma, Kevin Naqaima and Mitchell Moses without putting on a step or offering a fend. It just seemed as though the Tigers defenders didn't want to stop him.
An amazing try came just four minutes into the second half as Luke Brooks ran 60 metres to score. After getting around the outside of a tiring Adam Reynolds in the defensive line, Brooks put on an in and away on Alex Johnston before burning him for speed to plant the ball down in the corner.
The Bunnies came hard at the Tigers goal-line over the next 20 minutes for minimal reward. First an 80-metre Pat Richards drop goal got the Tigers out of jail, then the Rabbitohs were penalised for a shepherd only 10 metres out from the Tigers line, before Manai Cherrington held Tom Burgess up over the line to again repel the reigning Premiers.
Taupau would stamp his name all over this match, again sending defenders flying and carrying four of them over the line to score his second try in the 63rd minute.
The Tigers would seal the win moments later as Nofoaluma barged over one pass off the scrum.
Tedesco put an exclamation mark on the victory late, running hard off a deft short ball from Brooks to score.
Wests Tigers 34 (James Tedesco 2, Martin Taupau 2, Luke Brooks, David Nofoaluma tries; Pat Richards 5 goals) defeated South Sydney Rabbitohs 6 (Bryson Goodwin try; Adam Reynolds goal) at ANZ Stadium. Crowd: 15,118