A vintage display from Benji Marshall has guided the Wests Tigers to an upset 10-8 win over the Sydney Roosters in front of over 18,000 fans at ANZ Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
For over an hour both sides toiled, unable to legitimately claim a try until the 65 minute mark when Blake Ferguson cracked the Wests Tigers defence out wide. It wasn't enough for the Roosters to claim victory though, with a late Corey Thompson try - converted by Tuimoala Lolohea, getting the hosts home by two points.
Prior to the two four-pointers there were plenty of penalties, lots of defending and even a sin-bin as both sides battled for ascendency. The Roosters were expected to comfortably roll the Tigers, but the Tricolours struggled from go to woe to get past the home team in any meaningful fashion.
Lolohea was the first player on the scoreboard, converting a penalty goal in just the fourth minute. It would be the only points of an arm-wrestle of a first half, and the Roosters managed to level things up after break with Latrell Mitchell converting a penalty for his own side to make it 2-2 after 44 minutes.
The Mitchell penalty goal was the result of a sin-binning - Luke Brooks was sent for a ten minute spell after chasing down a breakaway Blake Ferguson and not getting off him soon enough for the liking of referee Gavin Badger.
Some well-managed play over the ten minutes they had just 12 players meant the 2-all scoreline remained, and the Wests Tigers would get back in front at the 62nd minute when Lolohea converted his second two-pointer.
It was three minutes later that Ferguson helped expose the Tigers' edge defence, scoring the game's first try, converted by Latrell Mitchell for an 8-4 lead to the Tricolours.
The much-fancied side from Bondi held the lead til the 78th minute when a remarkable try in the corner to Thompson - not only for the winger's acrobatics but a falcon off Chee-Kam in the lead-up pass - and with Lolohea's clutch conversion from the touchline, it was victory for the Wests Tigers as they held the Roosters out over the 90 seconds that remained.
The tests keep coming for the Wests Tigers - they're off to Melbourne next Saturday night where they'll be a sideshow to the Billy Slater 300 game celebrations at AAMI Park. The Roosters have six days to regroup as they host Canterbury at home on Friday at 6pm.