Finals bound Tigers stun Roosters

Fulltime score: Round 18 Wests Tigers 26 v Sydney Roosters 16

Match summary: The Wests Tigers have boosted their finals claims with a stunning 26-16 win over the Sydney Roosters at Telstra Stadium today.

The Tigers scored first with a try to Brett Hodgson off a classy ball from Scott Prince to lead 4-0 after just 3 minutes of play.

The Roosters then hit back with a try to Brett Finch after a bust from Heath L?Estrange and took a 6-4 lead early on.

Benji Marshall then went through some fragile Roosters defence and the Tigers reclaimed the lead by 8 points to 6.

Ill discipline from the Roosters enabled Brett Hodgson to land 2 successive penalty goals and give the Tigers a 12-6 lead at halftime.

Paul Whatuira made Craig Wing and Brett Finch look elementary in defence when he crossed the line just 5 minutes after the break to give the Tigers an 18-6 lead.

The Tigers did however display some of their inconsistency that they have been renowned for in 2005, when Liam Fulton threw a poor cut-out ball just 15 metres out from his own line which led to an intercept try to Roosters centre Joel Monaghan. The Roosters then narrowed the gap to just 6 with the Tigers leading 18-12.

But as was the story of the day, whenever the Roosters looked like coming back into the contest, they would make a costly mistake and Ben Galea capitalised on the Roosters? misfortune with a try just 2 minutes later to kick out to a 24-12 lead yet again and make the task a difficult one for the Bondi club.

Amos Roberts crossed for a try with just 14 minutes remaining on the clock but missed a costly conversion to keep the Tigers in a comfortable position and they maintained an 8 point lead.

Stupidity from Queensland back-rower Michael Crocker, with a dangerous tackle and a sin-binning within the space of just 3 minutes, ensured that the Tigers were going to escape with a win by 26 points to 16.

Today?s win has given the Tigers a massive hope in securing the first ever finals berth in the history of the joint venture. They sit on 20 competition points with a bye up their sleeve and move into equal 8th position on the table. To the contrary, the Roosters look limited in attack and have suffered greatly with the retirement of legendary Five Eighth Brad Fittler. They have used the luxury of the 2 byes and if they continue playing in this manner they will soon find themselves being spectators in the 2005 finals series.

Scorers: WESTS TIGERS Tries:Hodgson,Marshall,Whatuira,Galea Goals:Hodgson 5 SYDNEY ROOSTERS Tries:Finch,Monaghan,Roberts Goals:Fitzgibbon 2

Venue: Telstra Stadium Referee: Sean Hampstead Half time: Tigers 12-6

Live commentary:

Welcome to this round 18 clash between the Wests Tigers and the Sydney Roosters from Telstra Stadium. Today's game is crucial as the log jam at the foot of the top eight intensifies with the Roosters trying to consolidate their place in the eight, whilst the Tigers are trying to force their way inside the eight.

Overcast conditions with some rain earlier today in Sydney, although it appears that we will be rain-free for the duration of the match. There is a strong wind in Sydney and the Wests Tigers won the toss and elected to run into the breeze.

Changes: Wests Tigers: As-per-program

Sydney Roosters: In: Ned Catic, Micky Paea. Out: Stuart Webb, Chris Flannery.

Jamie Soward will start the game at five eighth with Craig Wing coming off the bench.

0 min: KICKOFF!, match underway at Telstra Stadium.

3 min: TRY-Tigers Brett Hodgson scores off a ball from Scott Prince after repeat sets of six. Conversion unsuccessful from Hodgson. Tigers 4-0

7 min: TRY-Roosters Break made by Heath L'estrange, good support from Brett Finch to score under the posts. Conversion successful from Craig Fitzgibbon. Roosters 6-4

12 min: Soliola throws a poor pass to Minichiello which goes to ground just 10 metres out from the tigers line, roosters bomb a certain try.

15 min: Strange interchange by Ricky Stuart bringing Chris Walker to the sideline and putting Craig Wing on in his place.

16 min: TRY-Tigers Benji Marshall scores 10 metres in from touch running through some feeble roosters defence. Conversion unsuccessful from Brett Hodgson. Tigers 8-6

23 min: The roosters seem to be tentative in attack and under pressure from some solid Tigers defence. Soward making an elementary error by taking a look at the defence before receiving the ball.

30 min: The roosters continue to make errors in attack. Minichiello and Finch both coming up with rare mistakes just when the roosters were looking dangerous.

33 min: PENALTY GOAL-Tigers Hodgson kicks the penalty goal from right in front. The roosters seem frustrated with a 6-1 penalty count in favour of the tigers. Tigers 10-6

40 min: PENALTY GOAL-Tigers Roosters penalised yet again for an infringement in the play-the ball. Hodgson kicks penalty goal from 5 metres to the right side of the posts. Tigers 12-6

HALF TIME- Great first half effort from the tigers with Benji Marshall and Robbie Farah causing havoc for the roosters defence. The same cannot be said for the roosters with some uncharacteristic mistakes made by high profile players such as Minichiello, Fitzgibbon and Finch. They look limited in attack and need to find something in the second half in order to prevent an upset.

Pat Richards kicks off and we are underway in the second half.

45 min: TRY-Tigers Paul Whatuira scores and makes the defence from Brett Finch and Craig Wing look very ordinary. Conversion successful from Brett Hodgson. Tigers 18-6

50 min: Courageous play from Brett Hodgson in recovering a short kick from Jamie Soward. The roosters are struggling to get any possession in an attacking position.

53 min: TRY-Roosters Brain explosion from Liam Fulton throwing a poor cut-out ball just 15 metres out from his own line which was intercepted by Joel Monaghan who crossed under the posts. Conversion successful from Craig Fitzgibbon. Tigers 18-12

55 min: TRY-Tigers Ben Galea reaches out to score from close range. Conversion successful from Brett Hodgson. Tigers 24-12

61 min: One would have to question the roosters performance, both tries they have scored have been against the run of play and both times they have allowed the tigers to hit straight back with tries.

66 min: TRY-Roosters Amos Roberts gets the ball down on the line after a scurry from dummy half close to the line. Conversion unsuccessful from Amos Roberts. Tigers 24-16

72 min: NO TRY- Paul Whatuira denied a try after Pat Richards was ruled to have knocked the ball forward out of Amos Roberts' hands. Still 24-16 in favour of the tigers.

75 min: PENALTY GOAL-Tigers Hodgson kicks a peanalty goal from right in front after Michael Crocker was penalised for a dangerous throw. Tigers 26-16

78 min: SIN BIN-Michael Crocker sin binned after a fiery passage of play in which he gave away another penalty close to the tigers' line.

FULL TIME: The Wests Tigers have defeated the Sydney Roosters 26-16 at Telstra stadium. The tigers were far too strong in both attack and defence, the roosters were woeful in every aspect of their game. The tigers keep their finals hopes very much alive and the roosters are now in grave danger of missing the top eight.

----------------------------------------- players of the match: 3 - Anthony Laffranchi (Tigers) 2 - Brett Hodgson (Tigers) 1 - Robbie Farah (Tigers) -----------------------------------------