Bruised Tigers hold out Raiders

The Wests Tigers have overcome a massive injury toll to edge out the Canberra Raiders at Campbelltown Stadium this afternoon, 19-18.

The game started on a low, with James Tedesco not even lasting one tackle. He chased through on a notorious Pat Richards kick off, and clashed with Terry Campese in the tackle. Tedesco fell to the ground clutching his knee, with early reports from the Tigers suggesting a fractured kneecap, and at least 10 weeks on the sideline.

The Raiders did well to hang on early, holding out almost five sets on their own line in quick succession, but eventually David Nofoaluma crossed in the corner in the 11th minute to open the Tigers account, after taking a Luke Brooks kick and strolling over in the corner.

The Raiders hit back a few minutes later. Josh Papalii crashed over the top of Luke Brooks in his first touch of the game, before passing wide to Brenko Lee, who crossed in the right corner. Croker added the extras.

Tim Simona also left the field in the first half, concussed after a head clash with Jack Wighton. He failed a concussion test on the sideline, and was unable to take further part in the game.

Deja vu struck in the 25th minute, with Nofoaluma scoring his second in the exact position, before Brenko Lee scored his second in the 27th minute.

The Tigers went to the break leading 18 points to 12.

The Raiders came out strongly in the second half, with the Tigers forced to defend set after set on their own line. Nofoaluma left the field early in the half with an injured knee, and the resulting reshuffle left the Tigers with a backline full of forwards.

Their defence cracked in the 50th minute, as Croker beat some slower men out wide to score, before converting his own try.

With just ten minutes left in the game, and the score still tied up at 18 all, Braith Anata took matters into his own hands, kicking a field goal from left of the posts.

The Raiders fought valiantly until the end, including some enterprising play down the right edge which almost resulted in a try, but in the end the Tigers simply wanted the win more.

Match Details
Wests Tigers 19 Canberra Raiders 18
Venue: Campbelltown Stadium
Crowd: 0
Halftime Score: Wests Tigers 18 Canberra Raiders 12 Players of the Match:
3 points - New Person
2 points - New Person
1 point - New Person

Tries: David Nofoaluma (2), Pat Richards
Field Goals: Braith Anasta (1/1)
Conversions: Pat Richards (2/3)
Penalty Goals: Pat Richards (1/1)

Tries: Brenko Lee (2), Jarrod Croker
Field Goals:
Conversions: Jarrod Croker (3/3)
Penalty Goals: Jarrod Croker (0/1) Live Commentary

It's a bit of a blowy afternoon here at Campbelltown Stadium. The weather has calmed down somewhat, but it is still cold and windy.

The Tigers line up as named, 1-17. For the Raiders, Paul Vaughan moves into the starting side, with Josh Papalii and Kurt Baptiste on the Interchange bench.

Players are on the field, we're minutes away from kick off.

1: And we're underway. The Tigers kick off to start the game, and we already have a bit of drama. James Tedesco is down on the ground and clutching at his knee, after colliding with Terry Campese, who is also down. Eventful first minute.

1: Almost two minutes later we have the first hit up of the game, with the Raiders working the ball out of their danger zone. Tedesco has left the field, and it looks like he won't be back. Blake Austin has come onto the field at fullback.

4: On the last, Brooks kicks for his winger in the left corner, but the Raiders manage to clean up. Line drop out, and the Tigers will get another set.

4: Brooks turns the ball inside to Galloway, but the defence read it well. Raiders muscling up so far.

5: Brooks kicks for the same corner, but Brenko Lee is there to catch it in goal. He takes the ball out to the 20 metre line for a tap, but loses the ball in tackle. He's adamant it's a strip, but the referees don't agree.

6: Brooks passes out to the right, but the ball is batted backwards and the Tigers lose about 30 metres. A good outcome for the Raiders, even if it wasn't the intended one.

7: The Tigers send the ball out to the left now, and Richards is in some space, but gets taken down by three defenders.

8: Good defense from the Raiders so far - they've defended 3 sets on their own try line, and will be forced to defend a fourth.

8: Woods sends the ball inside to Brooks, but he can't quite get to the line. Good angle though.

9: We're going to the video referee for a possible Tigers try - we have a no try from the on-field referee, but it looks like Sironen has knocked the ball on.

9: It's NO TRY, but the Video Referee rules there is an accidental offside from the Raiders player. It's not what anyone was expecting. The Tigers will get a scrum feed on the 10m line.

10: Tim Simona muscles his way over the tryline, but some brilliant defence from McCrone and Lee holds him up over the line. Last tackle, and Brooks kicks for Nofoaluma...

Scored by David Nofoaluma. Kick to come.

And it's a TRY! Nofoaluma takes the ball completely unmarked, and strolls over for a try.

Conversion attempt by Pat Richards successful.

And Pat Richards makes no mistake with the conversion from the sideline. The Tigers take an early lead, despite some great defense by the Raiders.

11: Confirmed from the Tigers, a fractured kneecap for James Tedesco. He's off for scans, but early reports suggest he'll be out for 10-12 weeks.

15: The Raiders get a penalty now. Brett White takes the tap on the 30 metre line. On the second, the Tigers are penalised again. However, Farah has made a complaint about an eye gouge from Shillington. He thought about making it an official complaint, but pulls out at the last minute. Play on, with the Tigers being penalised for messing around in the ruck.

15: Some good defense from the Tigers sees Allwood get hammered over the sideline on the second tackle. Horrible play from the Raiders.

17: Simona has attempted to step back inside, but he's clashed heads with Jack Wighton. Simona looks to be knocked out, and play has stopped while he is attended to.

17: Simona is coming from the field, obviously concussed.

18: The Tigers' bench is looking a little bare at the moment, with only two healthy men sitting on there. Bodene Thompson has moved to the centres to replace Simona. Josh Papalii is on the field for the Raiders also.

Scored by Brenko Lee. Kick to come.

And in his first touch, Papalii runs over the top of Brooks and then throws a long pass out to Brenko Lee who crosses in the corner for his first NRL try. Amazing impact from Papalii.

Conversion attempt by Jarrod Croker successful.

Croker lines up from just inside the right sideline, and has no problems with the conversion.

22: The Tigers will work the ball out from deep in their own territory. The Raiders have recovered well after the mountain of defence they had to do early in the game.

24: Austin makes some big metres down the left side of the field, but is tackled on the 20 metre line. The Tigers spread the ball out to the right on tackle 5, and look to have scored in the corner. We're just going to the video referee to check the grounding.

Scored by David Nofoaluma. Kick to come.

No problems there. Nofoaluma powers over the top of his opposite man, and slams the ball down for his second try of the game.

Conversion attempt by Pat Richards unsuccessful.

Richards sets up for his second kick from the exact same position. This time though, he slides it just past the right hand side of the posts.

Scored by Brenko Lee. Kick to come.

Amazing try for the Raiders! Milford makes a mess off the Tigers' left side defence, stepping around a bunch of defenders, before passes right to Brenko Lee. Lee chips for himself, and makes it to the ball first, scoring in the corner. In the in goal after the try, there's a bit of a scuffle, with Jack Wighton, Terry Campese, Braith Anasta and Luke Brooks in the heat of it.

Conversion attempt by Jarrod Croker successful.

Croker kicks from the same spot as his last kick also, and nudges it just inside the left upright. Canberra take the lead.

27: Pat Richards puts up another of his freakish high kicks. Milford looks to have taken it easily, but loses the ball in the tackle. After the hit another fight breaks out.

27: Martin Taupau looks to have given a little bit of a knee to Milford while he was on the ground. The Raiders have reacted, and that's what has started the fight.

28: The Raiders have been penalised for an offside man picking up the ball after the knock on. The Tigers have opted to kick for goal.

Penalty goal attempt by Pat Richards successful.

Easy kick for Richards from straight in front.

28: Tim Simona has been ruled out for the rest of the game after failing his concussion test. Keith Galloway is in the sheds at the moment too, getting his eye flushed out.

33: We're going to the video referee for yet another David Nofoaluma try! Robbie Farah kicks for his right winger - Allwood watches the ball, watches it, wills it over the sideline, and attempts to pick it up too late. Nofoaluma looks to have got to the ball first.

33: But it's no try. The Video Referee rules that Allwood was out over the sideline, which means when he touched the ball it was out as well. Massive let off for the Canberra Raiders.

36: Last tackle for the Tigers, who sends the ball out to the left to Pat Richards. Richards hits and spins, and plants the ball down. We're going to the video referee to check the grounding, but it looks like a try.

Scored by Pat Richards. Kick to come.

And the Video Referee has no problem with it. Richards scores his 9th try of the season, and puts the Tigers back in front.

Conversion attempt by Pat Richards successful.

Richards lines up to convert his own try from the sideline, and has no trouble with it.

38: Taupau running like an absolute wrecking ball at the moment, skittling players every time he runs the ball.

39: Tigers making some solid metres down the left side of the field now. They're on the 30 metre line on the last.

39: On the last, the Tigers kick short, finding the Canberra defence napping. The Tigers almost steal a try, flicking the ball in field, but a desperate Raiders player saves the day.

39: The Raiders work the ball down field, but McCrone's pass is terrible, and flies out over the sideline. The scrum won't have time to pack, as it's half time.

40: We're back underway in the second half.

42: The Raiders heavy on attack in their first set of the second half. They kick low, but Blake Austin is there to tidy up.

43: David Nofoaluma has stayed down after a tackle - he's receiving treatment in backplay for what looks like a knee injury on an already strapped knee.

43: Play has stopped now. Nofoaluma is still on the ground after that previous tackle, and the Tigers' bench is looking very fragile.

43: Nofoaluma is helped from the field, the third Tigers' player leaving the field. All of their injured players have been backs as well, which will force another reshuffle of the team.

44: Last tackle for the Raiders - Campese kicks to the in goal, but Lawrence brings the ball back out of danger.

44: Farah kicks looking for a 40/20, but Milford brings it back. The Tigers' long kicking game has been good so far.

Scored by Jarrod Croker. Kick to come.

The Raiders have an advantage out wide now, with fast backs up against slower forwards in defence. Croker takes advantage, getting around Bodene Thompson to score a try.

Conversion attempt by Jarrod Croker successful.

Croker converts his own try.

50: The Raiders drop the ball working out from their own line, but Woods is ruled to have stripped the ball. Tough call against the Tigers.

51: 62 metre drop out from Richards. Massive boot on the bloke.

53: Milford steps around for a while, before passing off to the right. The Raiders almost score on the right, but they slip over at the last minute. On the last, we're going to the video referee, but nobody is particularly confident that it's a try.

54: No try. Chris Lawrence is ruled to have taken the ball dead, and it's another line drop-out. A measly 48 metre kick this time.

55: Kurt Baptiste almost catches the Tigers defence napping, but is held up over the try line. Also, Nofoaluma is back on the field. Didn't see that coming.

55: Paul Vaughan knocks the ball on, but Chris Lawrence puts in one of the worst play the balls I've seen, and the Raiders will get another shot on attack,

58: From the scrum, McCrone decides to put in a nothing kick (for some reason) but luckily he recovers the ball. Almost a nightmare for the Raiders.

58: Vaughan straightens up, and almost crashes over, but is pulled down desperately 1 metre from the line.

59: Croker is pulled down just short now. How long can the Tigers' defence hold?

59: And the Tigers have survived. Try saving tackle after try saving tackle. In the last 10 minutes, the Raiders have had 94% of possession.

62: The Raiders work a short blindside through Allwood, who steals his way to the halfway line. On the last, Milford kicks high, and everyone lets it bounce. Campese picks the ball up, and the tackle count restarts, but Campese doesn't hear it. He kicks and regathers, but the referee calls a knock on. There was definitely no knock on there. Tough call against Campese.

64: In an injury update, Sauaso Sue has injured his right shoulder and has left the field. For the Raiders, Jack Wighton has left the field with a suspected broken thumb.

64: Another sloppy play the ball, this time from Aaron Woods. The Tigers will feed a scrum on their own 40.

Field goal attempt by Braith Anasta successful.

Anasta sets himself and puts a field goal over the black dot. The Tigers take the lead again, in this see-saw of a match.

73: Curtis Sironen is down now, although his injury looks to just be cramp.

74: The Tigers are penalised now, with Bodene Thompson ruled to have tackled the Raiders' player without the ball. Jarrod Croker will attempt to put his side back in front with a penalty goal...

Penalty goal attempt by Jarrod Croker unsuccessful.

But Croker misses. The ball drifts across the face of the goal. The Tigers still lead!

76: Under four minutes left. The Raiders kick long on the last, but Nofoaluma takes it on the full and runs it back into Jarrod Croker.

77: The Tigers are protecting their lead here. Just one out runs, nothing silly. On the last, the Tigers attempt to grubber in behind the line, but it ricochets off a leg, and Thompson knocks the ball on. The Raiders get the ball on their own 40 metre line.

80: The Raiders kick across to the right of the field - it bounced up beautifully for Brenko Lee, but the attempted pass back in field was taken by Pat Richards. That may have saved the game for the Tigers.

80: The Tigers wind down the clock on the last play, and soak up enough time to win the game. What a win for the Tigers, they overcame a bunch of injuries to win this one.