Wests Tigers beat Broncos in thriller
The Wests Tigers have continued their mid-season resurgence with an upset 19-18 win over a disorganised Brisbane Broncos at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night but it was a result that hung in the balance until the final seconds.
After failing to put the Broncos to the sword for the final quarter of the game the visitors bought themselves a seven-point buffer courtesy of a Mitchell Moses field goal five minutes from full-time but any celebrations were premature.
The Broncos regathered a short kick-off from the restart and after a largely disappointing night Ben Hunt hit Lachlan Maranta with an inch-perfect cross-field kick to set up a grandstand finish.
That try set up a thrilling final flurry that finished with a fluffed Hunt field goal attempt on full-time and Brisbane's third one-point loss of the season.
The win was Wests' third in their past four games and their first at Suncorp Stadium since 2010 and keeps them within touch of the top eight heading into next Sunday's clash with the Roosters at Allianz Stadium.
Brisbane didn't deserve to be within striking distance but such was the failure of the Tigers halves to take control of the contest that they gave the more credentialed Broncos team every opportunity to steal two competition points at the death.
Moses and Luke Brooks gifted Brisbane four seven-tackle sets from poor kicks in the first half but such was their territorial dominance that they were still able to post tries through Elijah Taylor and Tim Simona for a 12-8 lead at half-time.
Their dominance continued unabated in the second half but other than a Jordan Rankin penalty goal they were unable to find a killer blow.
They had the Broncos on the ropes when Tim Simona bombed a golden opportunity to score his side's third try of the night, a perfectly weighted grubber into the in-goal from Brooks giving Simona the simple task of collecting the ball and planting it on the ground but instead he juggled it five times before losing control completely.
The error was compounded by two penalties to invite Brisbane for a rare trip into Tigers territory and they came away with the rich reward of four points courtesy of a try to James Roberts following an excellent offload from Hunt.
The Tigers quickly regained their dominance and eventually earned their reward with Josh Addo-Carr's third try in three weeks but they waited far too long before taking the option of the one-pointer that would ultimately prove the difference.
After an injury scare in the opening minutes Jordan Kahu showed his class with a perfect cut-out pass for Greg Eden to score his maiden NRL try in the 11th minute.
On the back of a penalty and repeat set inside the Wests Tigers half the Broncos set up their favoured sweeping play to the left and lured David Nofoaluma off his wing so that Eden could flash across in the corner untouched.
They suffered from an awful kicking game from both halves in the first 20 minutes so it was of little surprise that the Wests Tigers struck paydirt when they kept the ball in hand on the last tackle, Elijah Taylor scoring his first try for his new club after 18 minutes.
Taylor, who has added significant energy and direction to the Tigers attack, powered through from an inside pass by Brooks back through the ruck and had just enough momentum for the Steeden to brush the stripe and his team's opening points.
On the back of a long-range bust from Kevin Naiqama and repeat set from a clever Brooks kick into the in-goal the Tigers kept attacking the Broncos' right-edge defence and came up trumps through Tim Simona.
Brooks went to the line and drew Roberts out of the line so he could hit Simona in open space, the Samoan international impossible to stop from such close range.
Such was the Tigers' dominance late in the first half that Hunt took the odds to a short drop-out four minutes from half-time which gifted Wests great field position and only an obstruction call on Kyle Lovett stopped Naiqama from extending their lead further.
Wests Tigers 19 (Elijah Taylor, Tim Simona, Josh Addo-Carr tries; Jordan Rankin 3 goals, Mitchell Moses field goal) def. Brisbane Broncos 18 (Greg Eden, James Roberts, Lachlan Maranta tries; Jordan Kahu 3 goals) at Suncorp Stadium. Crowd: 27,153. Half-time: Wests Tigers 12-8. Holden Cup: Broncos 38-12.