Benji brilliant on a sensational Sunday

Inspired by Benji Marshall, the Wests Tigers have defeated the Melbourne Storm 26-14 in front of a sold-out crowd of 20168 fans at Leichhardt Oval this afternoon.

A packed Leichhardt Oval crowd was silenced in the 7th minute when Storm winger Justin O'Neill took full advantage of a Tigers knock on. Robert Lui's pass around Benji Marshall's feet was knocked on and the Storm worked the ball downfield. Ryan Hinchcliffe swooped on the pass, before Cooper Cronk loomed up in support, delivering a perfect pass for O'Neill to step off his left foot and dive over in the corner.

The Tigers would start to hit their straps and it was Benji Marshall who sparked them to life. Running the ball on the fifth tackle, Marshall drew Billy Slater, before flick passing to winger Mitch Brown who then passed to Robert Lui. The halfback threw a basketball pass over the top to Marshall who dived over in the corner. The next ten minutes would be all the Tigers and interchange forward Andrew Fifita, offering a lot of impact off the bench, steamed onto a perfect short ball by Robbie Farah, dragging several Melbourne defenders over the line.

The final points of the half would come several minutes later when the Tigers were made to pay after Wade McKinnon's last-tackle pass found winger Lote Tuqiri in an offside position. Referee Gavin Badger had no hesitation in awarding the penalty and the Storm marched upfield. Slater threw a short ball to Adam Blair, before receiving the ball back and throwing a perfect pass to Willie Isa out wide to score in the corner. Unfortunately for the Tigers, centre Chris Lawrence lasted only four minutes of the half, after suffering a suspected broken jaw.

The Tigers started the second half with Benji Marshall's second try of his hat-trick after they ran the ball on the last and Beau Ryan's grubber kick into the in-goal found Benji who was looming up in support. The Storm would not go away though, and closed the gap to two points when Ryan Hoffman scored out wide, busting through some ordinary goal-line defence from the Tigers. Despite losing John Skandalis and Wade McKinnon to injuries, Robbie Farah looked to have sealed the two points for the Tigers when he dived over from dummy half. Referee Alan Shortall sent the decision upstairs to the video referee who sent the decision back to the on-field officials to award the try that looked to secure the win for the Tigers.

The Storm tried to close the gap in the shadows of fulltime, but Ryan Hoffman knocked the ball on and Robbie Farah raced downfield. With the cover defence coming across, Farah found Benji Marshall who then won the race to the corner with Justin O'Neill to put the icing on the cake for the Tigers and all-but secure a top-two finish.

Next week, the Storm's season from hell concludes at a sold-out AAMI Park next Sunday when they host the Knights, while the Tigers travel to Skilled Park on Friday night to tackle the Titans.



Match Details
Wests Tigers 26 defeated Melbourne Storm 14
National Rugby League - NRL - Round 25 - Sunday August 29, 2010 2:00pm
Venue: Leichhardt Oval
Referee: Gavin Badger and Alan Shortall
Video Referee: Phil Cooley
Touch Judges: Jeff Younis and Adam Reid
Crowd: 20,168
Halftime: Wests Tigers 10 Melbourne Storm 8

Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - Benji Marshall (3 Tries, 3 Conversions)
2 Points - Robbie Farah (1 Try)
1 Point - Andrew Fifita (1 Try)

WESTS TIGERS (26)
Tries: Robbie Farah, Benji Marshall (3), Andrew Fifita
Field Goals: Benji Marshall (0/1)
Conversions: Benji Marshall (3/5)

MELBOURNE STORM (14)
Tries: Ryan Hoffman, William Isa, Justin O'Neill
Conversions: Cameron Smith (1/3)

LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Good afternoon and welcome to a sun-drenched Leichhardt Oval for this afternoon's round 25 encounter between Wests Tigers and Melbourne Storm. The crowd continues to pour into this wonderful suburban ground and will be bursting at the seams by kick-off, in around 15 minutes from now.
For Melbourne, Manu, Inglis and Finch out. O'Neill into the centres, Widdop and Isa also into the side. Kelly replaces Finch at 5/8th.

Liam Fulton is out for the Wests Tigers meaning Simon Dwyer will move into the 2nd row and Mark Flanagan comes onto the bench.
Cameron Smith gets us underway and the Tigers will have first use of the ball.
1 min: Robbie Farah's kick almost goes into touch for a 40/20 but Slater gets on his bike and charges into the Tigers defence.
2 min: Cronk attempts to do likewise, but Tuqiri gets back in time to bat the ball back into the field of play.
4 min: PENALTY Tigers. Lawrence is down injured here as Andrew Leeds has a look at a cheekbone injury, but he is up to his feet now.
5 min: The Tigers have come up with a dropped ball through Chris Heighington. They had worked the numbers very well with several second man plays and all Heighington needed to do was hang onto the ball and then pass and the Tigers had a 2-on-1 overlap, but the Storm survive.
7 min: The Storm swing the ball to their right hand side, but Neilsen loses the ball in the tackle and the Tigers go on the attack.
7 min: TRY
TRY Melbourne Storm
Scored by Justin O?Neill. Conversion attempt by Cameron Smith unsuccessful.
Justin O'Neill scores the first try of the afternoon! Lui's pass was knocked on by Marshall which was then scooped up by Hinchcliffe who found Cronk in support, before the halfback found the winger on the outside, who then stepped off the left foot to beat the cover defence.
Melbourne Storm 4-0
10 min: The Tigers work the ball off their own line, but then Beau Ryan has lost the ball in a one-on-one steal, before stealing it back!
11 min: Forward pass Tigers. Farah's pass to Heighington has been ruled forward. News on Chris Lawrence is a suspected broken jaw.
13 min: TRY
TRY Wests Tigers
Scored by Benji Marshall. Conversion attempt by Benji Marshall unsuccessful.
The Tigers hit back with one of the tries of the season! Marshall ran the ball on the fifth tackle, before the flick pass to Brown, who found Lui, who threw a basketball pass over the top to Marshall to dive over in the corner.
4 all
16 min: PENALTY Tigers. Smith was all over Galloway in the play the ball and rightfully the penalty finally came.
17 min: A timely hand from the Storm has knocked the ball into touch, but fortunately the Storm don't concede the try, but the Tigers will feed a scrum.
18 min: Some less-than-inspiring play by the Tigers has seen Ayshford being thrown into touch by O'Neill.
20 min: PENALTY Tigers. Cronk has hands in the play-the-ball, giving away an unnecessary penalty.
21 min: TRY
TRY Wests Tigers
Scored by Andrew Fifita. Conversion attempt by Benji Marshall successful.
Fifita scores the simplest of tries! In his third touch of the set, he burst onto a perfectly timed pass from Farah, beating some feeble goal-line defence.
Wests Tigers 10-4
24 min: Benji throws a floating cut-out pass to Ryan who was down the touchline, but Badger rules the pass forward, despite the pleas by the Tigers players.
25 min: Kelly's pass to Blair is ruled forward as well, although it is another 50-50 call. From the ensuing scrum, the Tigers have hit the referee from the scrum feed, but because it is in the "attacking" teams part of the field, the Storm will get the scrum feed.
27 min: PENALTY Tigers. Storm offside, after Fifita's intercept took him 50m downfield.
28 min: The Tigers should have scored, but all got in each others way and Lui has knocked the ball on.
30 min: PENALTY Storm. McKinnon's pass to Tuqiri is forward. Tuqiri is offside and the penalty is rightfully awarded.
31 min: TRY
TRY Melbourne Storm
Scored by William Isa. Conversion attempt by Cameron Smith unsuccessful.
The Storm hit straight back. Slater throwing a short ball to Adam Blair, before receiving the ball back and throwing a perfect pass to Willie Isa out wide to score in the corner.
Wests Tigers 10-8
40 min: Halftime here at Leichhardt Oval where the Tigers lead 10-8 in an entertaining affair.
41 min: Benji Marshall gets the second half underway and the Storm will get first use in the second half.
43 min: Cronk's cross-field kick was misjudged by Marshall and Kelly has scooped up the ball, but passed to Beau Ryan who was in the right place at the right time.
44 min: Scrum Storm. An unlucky call has perhaps gone against the Tigers after what appeared to be a double knock-on. In backplay, John Skandalis has limped off the field.
47 min: TRY
TRY Wests Tigers
Scored by Benji Marshall. Conversion attempt by Benji Marshall successful.
Benji knows Leichhardt! The Tigers again ran the ball on the last tackle and Farah went blindside to send Ayshford down the sideline. The centre then passed to Ryan, who grubbered into the in-goal, finding Marshall who got a room-service bounce to score out wide and extend the lead.
Wests Tigers 16-8
49 min: PENALTY Tigers. There is a distinct momentum shift here and the black and gold tidal wave will head down-field again.
53 min: Marshall drills the ball into touch, giving his forwards a breather as they stroll to the scrum.
55 min: Forward pass from Kelly to Cronk will see the Tigers feed a scrum on halfway.
56 min: Marshall has been penalised for a high tackle after getting an accidental poke in the eye.
57 min: TRY
TRY Melbourne Storm
Scored by Ryan Hoffman. Conversion attempt by Cameron Smith successful.
Ryan Hoffman closes the gap with a very soft try. As Cronk leaves the field, Smith ran the ball on the last tackle, finding Hoffman who burst onto the ball to score out wide.
Wests Tigers 16-14
63 min: The Tigers again try their luck running the ball on the fifth tackle, but Fifita has knocked the ball on.
63 min: PENALTY Storm. Fifita attempted to dive on the ball in the play-the-ball and the penalty was forthcoming.
66 min: Hinchcliffe wasn't aware it was the last tackle and the Storm have surrendered the ball on the halfway line.
68 min: VIDEO REFEREE: Possible Tigers try. Farah has darted over from dummy half and it looks like it will be a try for the Tigers.
68 min: TRY
TRY Wests Tigers
Scored by Robbie Farah. Conversion attempt by Benji Marshall successful.
The video referee has sent the decision back to referee Alan Shortall who was in perfect position in the first place, but Farah has dived over from dummy half, burrowing under a few soft attempted tackles.
Wests Tigers 22-14
70 min: Farah's kick on the last has drifted across the sideline, despite Tuqiri's best efforts to knock the ball back.
75 min: Smith's kick for Slater has forced a dropout, as McKinnon now walks straight off the field, with what looks like another hamstring injury.
76 min: PENALTY Storm. Fifita penalised for laying in the ruck.
77 min: TRY
TRY Wests Tigers
Scored by Benji Marshall. Conversion attempt by Benji Marshall unsuccessful.
Benji Marshall puts an exclamation mark on a win for the Tigers this afternoon! The Storm looked like they were about to score in the opposite corner, but Hoffman has dropped the pass. Farah swooped on the ball, raced 50 metres before finding Benji Marshall who loomed up in support and won the race to the corner.
Wests Tigers 26-14
79 min: The Tigers will feed a final scrum for the afternoon, after a double knock-on.
80 min: FIELD GOAL ATTEMPT
ATTEMPTED FIELD GOAL Wests Tigers
Field goal attempt by Benji Marshall unsuccessful.
Benji has done everything else this afternoon and with the siren sounding in the background, attempts a 40-metre field goal which drifts to the right of the posts.
Wests Tigers 26-14

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