Curtis looks at what's shaking ...
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Wests Tigers 42 v Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 16
at Campbelltown Sports Stadium
Referees: Jason Robinson
A courageous Brett Hodgson has led the Wests Tigers to a hoodoo-breaking victory minus fellow playmaker Benji Marshall, over Cronulla at Campbelltown Stadium this afternoon, the Tigers winning 42-16.
The match was moving at express pace early on. The Tigers shot out to a 12-0 lead early, but the Sharks bounced back to level the scores at 12 with 13 minutes remaining in the first half.
But the defining point of the match came just before the halftime break, with Tigers second-rower Ben Galea diving on a loose ball in the Sharks? in-goal area to give the Tigers a 24-16 lead at halftime.
The Tigers never looked back from that point onwards; attaining another three converted tries unanswered in the second half, which culminated with a well-deserved try to debutant Rocky Trimarchi to cap off the Tigers? victory.
The Sharks competed well in the first 40 minutes but lacked the consistency required for 80-minute football, which was reflected with their failure to score points in the second half.
The only positives to come out of this match for the Sharks was the successful return from injury by Nigel Vagana, and the fact that they have no injuries or reports to come out of this game, although the match review committee may need to shed some light on a few incidents throughout the game on Tuesday. The Sharks clearly missed Brett Kimmorley today. Their attack was hindered greatly, during the second half in particular.
On the Tigers side of the equation, they can be pleased with this rare victory without whiz kid Benji Marshall, getting a nagging monkey off their backs. Robbie Farah?s return came at a great time for Wests, who dominated the ruck area prominently. The only negative for the Tigers is that fullback Brett Hodgson has a suspected broken nose, an injury which he managed to play with for the entire second half. It will be interesting to see whether there is any further damage to the injury.
The Tigers meet Parramatta next Friday night, a match which they?ll be confident of winning after today?s return to form.
A bleak outlook for Cronulla though. They meet the competition-leading Cowboys at Toyota Park next Saturday night, and will be in dire straights if they fail to generate a victory shortly.
Wests Tigers: 42
Tries: Ben Galea, Paul Whatuira(2), Ryan O'Hara, Michael Crockett(2), Rocky Trimarchi
Goals: Brett Hodgson 6/7, Scott Prince 1/1
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks: 16
Tries: David Simmons, Nigel Vagana, Brett Kearney
Goals: Luke Covell 2/3
By the Clock:
Pre-Game min: NEWS A bright and sunny afternoon greets the Cronulla Sharks as they travel to Campbelltown to meet an injury-ravaged Wests Tigers outfit. The major omissions are obviously Benji Marshall for the Tigers and Brett Kimmorley for the Sharks which may take the edge off this game ever so slightly.
Tigers: Bryce Gibbs out, Ryan O'Hara moves from the bench into the starting front row. And Chris Patterson comes into the side on the bench.
For Cronulla, Greg Bird has made way for Nigel Vagana who makes an early return from injury, which will no doubt boost the Sharks' chances.
0 min: NEWS Kickoff!, match underway at Campbelltown
2 min: TRY Wests Tigers
Michael Crockett catches the Sharks' defence off-guard with an early try in the corner.
8 min: TRY Wests Tigers
Paul Whatuira snatches a cross-field kick from hooker Robbie Farah and forces the ball out wide. Two early blows from the Tigers, and the Sharks look shell-shocked.
13 min: TRY Cronulla Sutherland Sharks
Lance Thompson gives a superb offload to flying five eighth Brett Kearney for the first Cronulla try.
22 min: NEWS Still no change to the score, the Wests Tigers leading Cronulla by 12 points to 6. Cronulla are now mounting pressure on the Tigers' line.
23 min: TRY Cronulla Sutherland Sharks
The Campbelltown crowd have gone silent after a terrific start by the Tigers to lead 12-0, Cronulla have levelled the scores with a try to fullback David Simmons which was at first referred to the video referee, who adjudicated that Simmons had grounded the ball as opposed to being held up. Covell has added the conversion.
27 min: TRY Cronulla Sutherland Sharks
Nigel Vagana continues his stellar return from injury with a try for the Sharks.
31 min: TRY Wests Tigers
Ryan O'Hara bursts onto a short-ball from Tigers hooker Robbie Farah to score next to the posts.
39 min: TRY Wests Tigers
Ben Galea dives on a loose ball to score for the Tigers, and Scott Prince adds the extras. Giving his side a crucial 8-point advantage heading into halftime.
Halftime min: NEWS In a bizzarre first 40 minutes, the Wests Tigers have scored four tries to three to lead the Cronulla Sharks by 24 points to 16 at halftime. The Tigers shot out to a 12-0 lead early on, before the Sharks hit back with tries in quick succession to level the scores at 12. The Sharks will be rueing the fact that they let in the Ben Galea try right on the break, but one gets the feeling that this match could still go either way.
40 min: NEWS Second half underway at Campbelltown, meanwhile Brett Hodgson has a suspected broken nose, stay tuned.
42 min: NEWS NO TRY: Luke Covell loses the ball in the in-goal, bombing an early Cronulla opportunity to close the gap.
43 min: TRY Wests Tigers
Michael Crockett gets across the stripe for his second of the afternoon. Meanwhile Hodgson misses the conversion and it appears that he's decided to play on with this suspected broken nose.
50 min: PENALTY GOAL Wests Tigers
Hodgson strikes his attempt at penalty goal sweetly and the Tigers are moving away from the Sharks now with a 30-16 lead.
53 min: TRY Wests Tigers
Whatuira is over again and the Sharks look as though they'll come up short yet again here.
64 min: NEWS Still no change to the score, the Tigers now certain to claim a rare victory minus playmaker Benji Marshall with a lead of 36-16.
72 min: TRY Wests Tigers
Tigers debutant Rocky Trimarchi has accelerated onto a Robbie Farah short-ball to score under the posts, and seal victory for the Wests Tigers.
Fulltime: min: NEWS Fulltime at Campbelltown Stadium and the Tigers have won comprehensively by 42 points to 16. Stay tuned for the match report...
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 - Brett Hodgson
2 - John Skandalis
1 - Scott Prince