Wests Tigers stun Storm at Leichhardt
Led by fan favourite James Tedesco, the Wests Tigers showcased why they were happy for Marika Koroibete to depart the club having pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the season following their 34-16 victory over the Melbourne Storm.
In his first game back at Leichhardt since leaving for Melbourne midway through last season, Koroibete seemingly looked to bring the pain to his old team in the early stages of the game after he scored two tries inside of 16 minutes.
However thanks to the likes of Kevin Naiqama and David Nofoaluma, the Tigers turned it back on Koroibete after scoring four tries down the Storm winger's side.
Proving their former teammate's defence was a weak point in the Storm's armour, the Tigers ultimately ran out 18-point victors in front of a vocal 7,000-strong Leichhardt Oval crowd, to also celebrate local junior Aaron Woods's 100th NRL game.
Following the match, coach Jason Taylor said he felt a strong performance wasn't far away.
"It was very good, very pleasing. It was a really strong performance," Taylor said.
"We were behind early and that wasn't great but I knew the guys weren't going to give up. We have gone to another level the past few weeks - it hasn't looked like it on the scoreboard - but the last fortnight against two of the absolute top teams we have had some really great periods and we were really strong for most of the game on the back of that."
With the Tigers down 10-0, and after being denied in the 21st minute when Naiqama put one down in the lead up to a potential Nofoaluma try, Tedesco's star rose just that little bit further up when he raced away to score the Tigers' first of the evening in the 28th minute.
It could've been a completely different story for Tedesco who looked to have suffered another serious knee injury midway through the second half, before jumping back up and scoring the match-sealer in the 69th minute.
The Tigers would hit the lead for the first time though in the 31st minute when Naiqama forced an error from Koroibete under the high ball in a move which saw back-rower Dene Halatau pounce on the loose ball to score.
Naiqama had one of his own with 55 seconds remaining in the first half when a simple backline shift caught Koroibete and centre Tohu Harris napping, to extend the Tigers' half-time lead to eight.
After conceding a drop out from the second half kick, the Storm bounced back in the best way possible when Cooper Cronk put prop Jesse Bromwich over to cut the Tigers' lead back to two.
But Pat Richards did his best to cause further punishment for the Storm when he scored out wide in the 53rd minute to push the Tigers' advantage back out to six points.
The Tigers would heap further punishment on Koroibete and the Storm when Naiqama linked up with Nofoaluma thanks to a magical flick pass down the Fijian's side in the 60th minute, while Tedesco's second try nine minutes later sealed proceedings.
Wests Tigers 34 (James Tedesco 2, Dene Halatau, Kevin Naiqama, Pat Richards, David Nofoaluma Tries; Pat Richards 4 Goals) defeated Melbourne Storm 16 (Marika Koroibete 2, Jesse Bromwich Tries; Cameron Smith 2 Goals) at Leichhardt Oval. Crowd: 7,419. Half-time: Tigers 18-10.