Entertaining Tigers upset Rabbitohs
The Wests Tigers have evoked memories of their scintillating 2005 attack as they easily accounted for an out-of-sorts South Sydney side 30-14 at ANZ Stadium on Friday night.
The Tigers were simply irresistible in the first half with the black and golds putting forward two candidates for the try of the season.
Mitchell Moses got the ball rolling in the 18th minute with a nice show-and-go after moments earlier having a try denied by the bunker, but that effort was dwarfed by the next two scoring plays.
The smoke had barely settled from the fireworks after Moses had parted the red and green sea as the Tigers launched an audacious movement from the kick-off to stun the Rabbitohs.
Instead of finding one of his big men, Luke Brooks launched a long pass to Simona who quickly shuffled the ball on to the electrifying James Tedesco. The Tigers fullback then released Kevin Naiqama before the centre straightened, sliced through and offloaded to Moses in support. With players inside and out the speedy No.6 opted for the former with Simona finishing off one of the best moves you're likely to see.
Incredibly that effort was matched – if not bettered – on the stroke of half-time as eight sets of hands combined to send Nofoaluma over for another unforgettable moment.
Elijah Taylor was heavily involved in the play, as were Moses, Tedesco and Naiqama, as the Tigers capitalised on their dominance to open up a deserved 10-point lead at the break.
The breathtaking attack overshadowed a potentially serious injury to South Sydney's inspirational Englishman Sam Burgess who was forced from the field in the 26th minute with a suspected shoulder injury.
He was soon followed up the tunnel by Bryson Goodwin with the fill-in edge forward succumbing to an arm injury on the half-hour mark.
The Tigers had earlier missed two golden opportunities through Josh Addo-Carr in the space of 60 seconds with the winger spilling the Steeden with the line wide open.
The Rabbitohs managed to score against the run of play after livewire fullback Cody Walker produced flick pass that would please Matt Gidley (and perhaps even Jack Bird) to set up Alex Johnston in the 33rd minute.
The South Sydney winger made it a double 15 minutes into the second half to cut the margin to six points in his 50th game in the NRL but the Tigers hit straight back through Chris Lawrence – despite an incredible effort by Walker to deny him – to reopen their 10-point buffer.
Any hopes of a Rabbitohs comeback were put to bed 17 minutes from full-time when the potent combination of Tedesco and Naiqama linked up to send the Tigers centre over for his seventh try of the season.
The only thing that could have made the night better for Tigers fans was a try to favourite son Robbie Farah; the benched hooker doing just that in the 66th minute to send the crowd of 14,490 into raptures.
South Sydney supporters were given one belated reason to cheer when Johnston spectacularly batted back an Adam Reynolds kick to set up Kirisome Auva'a for what would normally would have been the try of the night.
Wests Tigers 30 (Mitchell Moses, Tim Simona, David Nofoaluma, Chris Lawrence, Kevin Naiqama, Robbie Farah tries; Mitch Moses 2, Tim Simona goals) defeated South Sydney Rabbitohs 14 (Alex Johnston 2, Kirisome Auva'a tries; Adam Reynolds 1 goal) at ANZ Stadium. Half-time: 14-4 Tigers. Crowd: 14,490. Injuries: Sam Burgess (shoulder), Bryson Goodwin (arm).