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The Wests Tigers have restored club pride following last week's surrender to the Roosters with a 23-12 victory over an impotent Eels outfit.
A decent crowd of 21,318 people assembled to watch what most thought would be an evening of attacking football. Instead they were greeted with a more defensively determined Wests Tigers and an unenthusiastic Eels side that only briefly appeared as though they could win the match.
The Tigers started the better, dominating possession and field position and converted soon after with a sweeping backline movement allowing Benji Marshall to grubber behind the line. A flying Lote Tuqiri swopped upon the ball and went over out wide.
Wests made it two tries in 15 minutes when another kick, albeit rather clumsy, found the same arms of Blake Ayshford who never gave up on scoring.
With Marshall's radar a little off, the Tigers held a modest 8-nil lead for most of the rest of the half.
A surprise play with a minute before half time saw Marshall snap a field goal from a penalty awarded about 35 metres from the line and the Tigers went 9-nil up at the break.
Looking sluggish and disinterested, the expected attitude re-adjustment from the Eels was not forthcoming in the early stages of the second half. The tigers continued to press on, although they weren't their usual attacking self.
Five minutes in and the Tigers were over again with a long ball from Marshall finding Liam Fulton, who advanced and returned it to their mercurial half to score under the posts.
At 15-nil the Tigers looked a little more comfortable, but the game was just warming up.
Two quick fire scores to Joel Reddy and Krisnan Inu, with the latter adding the extras, saw the Eels storm back to be down just 15-12 with over a quarter of the game to play.
With the game in the balance Wests responded, with Origin hooker Robbie Farah slipping a tough chance into the in-goal. A flying Lote Tuqiri became airborne to score a magnificent try and seal the game for the joint venture outfit.
An 80m effort from Marshall with four minutes remaining put the icing on the cake, sealed his man-of-the-match effort, and took the home side to their second victory of the year at 23-12.
The Tigers now travel to the nation's capital to attempt victory over the Raiders.
As for Parramatta, they dearly missed five-eighth Daniel Mortimer with Kris Keating showing little in the way of attacking enterprise. Once again it was left to Jarryd Hayne to provide the spark, and whilst he gave the last pass for Inu's try and looked dangerous with a chip and chase, it was simply too much for him to dominate.
The Eels travel to Toyota Stadium to face the Sharks next Saturday in a game they will be expected to win.
Wests Tigers 23 defeated Parramatta Eels 12
National Rugby League - NRL - Round 3 - Friday March 26, 2010 7:35pm
Venue: Sydney Football Stadium
Referee: Tony Archer and Matt Cecchin
Video Referee: Steve Clark
Touch Judges: Paul Holland and Adam Devcich
Halftime: Wests Tigers 9 Parramatta Eels 0
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - Benji Marshall (2 Tries, 1 Conversion, 1 Field Goal)
2 Points - Robbie Farah
1 Point - Krisnan Inu (1 Try, 2 Conversions)
WESTS TIGERS (23)
Tries: Benji Marshall (2), Blake Ayshford, Lote Tuqiri (2)
Field Goals: Benji Marshall (1/1)
Conversions: Benji Marshall (1/4)
PARRAMATTA EELS (12)
Tries: Joel Reddy, Krisnan Inu
Conversions: Krisnan Inu (2/2)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Welcome to the SFS on a balmy Friday night in Sydney.
The Wests Tigers and Parramatta Eels are set to do battle in a much anticipated clash.
It hasn't rained in Sydney since Tuesday and the ground is quite dry, allowing for a very open game of footy, which I'm sure the crowd will appreciate.
Kris Keating is starting for Daniel Mortimer, who is out with a virus. Justin Horo (son of Mark) comes onto the bench, the rest is as per the program.
The Tigers are unchanged.
1 min: Parra get the game started, kicking to the Tigers from the southern end.
2 min: Solid crowd.
3 min: Parra with most of the early possession, but they fail to capitalise and the ball is taken on the full in-goal.
5 min: A bit of back and forth, both teams just feeling one another out.
7 min: TRY
A good backline movement to the left sees Benji Marshall given time to plant an accurate kick. Lote Tuquiri collects the ball and goes over in the corner. Good start from the Tigers. Marshall can't add the extras from very wide.
Wests Tigers 4-0
9 min: Tigers dominating, but the ref goes back to an incident involving Heighington, who looks to have done well milking a penalty.
10 min: Tigers can't take advantage as Galloway sloppishly plays the ball, losing possession.
12 min: A square up here as Farah is penalised for tackling Hayne (barely) in the air.
15 min: TRY
A clumsy looking kick is followed through by Ayshford, who scores after never giving up. Tigers looking good at this stage. Benji pushes an easy attempt wide...
Wests Tigers 8-0
19 min: 20m restart to Parra.
21 min: Another 20m restart to Parra.
24 min: Grothe puts down the ball after Hayne chips, finds Reddy and he throws it wide to his unwilling flankman. Try gone begging.
28 min: Dropout from Parra after the Tigers force a repeat set.
33 min: Neither team really stamping their authority on the game, although the Tigers have had more possession in better field position than the Eels.
39 min: FIELD GOAL
The Tigers are awarded a penalty on roughly the 40m line, he calmly slots a field goal and the Tigers are up by nine.
Wests Tigers 9-0
40 min: At halftime the Tigers lead Parra by the unusual margin of 9 points to nil. Neither team has really opened up their cache of attacking arsenal and as such the scoreline is still fairly close. You get the feeling that both sides are going to promote the football in the second half, with the Eels still having a lead to chase down, whilst the Tigers often play their best football when they lead - with the exception of last week.
41 min: Wests Tigers restart proceedings here at the SFS.
45 min: Checking a try to Benji here...
45 min: TRY
A long ball by Marshall finds Fulton, who runs back inside and pops it to his five-eighth, with Benji strolling under the posts. He makes light work of the conversion. Eels on the ropes.
Wests Tigers 15-0
50 min: Eels on the attack...
51 min: TRY
As the Eels get a penalty in enemy territory, Robson puts up a chip to the wing, Reddy flies high beating Tuqiri, and scores just inside the try line. Inu makes no mistake.
Wests Tigers 15-6
54 min: eels miss an opportunity through a bad kick by Hayne.
57 min: TRY
A great backline move sees Hayne deliver a great cut-out pass to Tahu; he draws and passes to Inu who scores in the corner. Great comeback try and we've got a game on our hands. A smiling Inu manages from out wide and the difference is 3 points.
Wests Tigers 15-12
62 min: Ben Smith penalised well into Eels territory, Tigers mounting pressure.
64 min: Possible try to Tigers.
64 min: TRY
A Farah grubber on the line from dummy half sees Tuqiri suspend hmself in mid-air and plant the ball in the corner beating Grothe to the ball. Amazing try. Marshall misses to the left.
Wests Tigers 19-12
65 min: Poore for the Eels off with a corked thigh after colliding with Ellis.
66 min: Marshall kicks out on the full, scrum to the Eels in the middle of the field.
67 min: Tough Tigers defence from Lawrence shuts down an Eels attacking raid.
71 min: Both teams grinding away here, neither giving up.
73 min: Checking a possible try to the Tigers.
73 min: Tuqiri penalised for tackling Grothe in the air.
75 min: Hayne fumbles in the play the ball, it looks a bit of a tough call. I think the Eels are gone here.
76 min: TRY
From the ensuing scrum Marshall dummies at the line and runs 80m to score and seal the match. Very poor defence from Ben Smith. He splays it wide from near the touch line.
Wests Tigers 23-12
80 min: The Tigers shut the game down to record a much needed victory.