Tigers trample rusty Raiders

A dominating Wests Tigers performance has sent 14,091 Campbelltown faithful home happy tonight, with the home side overcoming a weak Raiders outfit 34-24.

Benji Marshall inspired the Tigers to an early lead, Chris Lawrence crossing and Marshall converting to take it to 6-0. Canberra struck back very quickly to cut the gap to two, but from there possession seemed to favour the home side quite heavily, the Tigers with almost 70% first half possession, and they piled on two more tries to extend their lead to 16-4 at the break. Poor discipline and handling destroyed any chances in the first half for the Raiders, and while the Tigers didn't take every advantage, they created a big enough buffer.

The second half started slowly for both sides, a penalty goal to Benji Marshall kicking the Tigers on after 45 minutes before the Raiders closed the gap slightly on 53 minutes, Canberra's newly recruited winger Blake Ferguson trampling the opposition again to score. At 18-10 the match looked evenly poised but Canberra quickly turned it over and piled on the points to lead 34-10, with Heighington, Fifita and Ayshford putting the result beyond doubt.

It wasn't over though - the last ten minutes helping the Raiders reduce the damage with two tries to Blake Ferguson, who finished with a hat-trick. 34-24 would be the final score and a disappointing finish for the Tigers, who had dominated all night. Next week the Tigers are the away side against the Roosters at the SFS on Sunday afternoon, while Canberra head home to host the lowly Titans on Saturday evening.

Match Details
Wests Tigers 34 defeated Canberra Raiders 24
National Rugby League - Round 3 - Saturday March 26, 2011 7:30pm
Venue: Campbelltown Sports Stadium
Referee: Jason Robinson and Chris James
Video Referee: Steve Clark
Touch Judges: Graeme West and Daniel Eastwood
Crowd: 14,901
Halftime: Wests Tigers 16 Canberra Raiders 4

Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - Benji Marshall (3 Conversions, 2 Penalty Goals)
2 Points - Blake Ferguson (3 Tries)
1 Point - Robert Lui (1 Try)

Tries: Matthew Utai, Chris Heighington, Chris Lawrence, Blake Ayshford, Robert Lui, Andrew Fifita
Conversions: Benji Marshall (3/6)
Penalty Goals: Benji Marshall (2/2)

Tries: Josh Dugan, Daniel Vidot, Blake Ferguson (3)
Conversions: Jarrod Croker (2/5)

LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Campbelltown Sports Stadium hosts the first of four games the Wests Tigers play at the venue this season, this Saturday night's clash against the Canberra Raiders. Originally scheduled for Monday Night Football, this game was rotated with Cowboys v Storm at the request of the North Queensland side.
Team changes: the home side has benched Todd Payten for his 250th game, with Alan Schirnack set to start in the second-row. Canberra welcome back Josh Dugan (#21) for whom #1 David Milne makes way.
We're underway at Campbelltown, the Tigers in their white alternate strip, Canberra in their traditional lime green.
2 min: First error of the day, the Tigers shift the ball, Matt Orford attempts an intercept and drops it. Tigers scrum. Two plays later they earn a penalty as well, working their way into the Raiders' half.
3 min: Chris Heighington (WST) loses the pill, Canberra pick it up.
3 min: Just two plays later, Daniel Vidot loses it for Canberra. Tigers scrum just inside Canberra's half.
4 min: Wow, noone can handle the ball today... the Tigers look to excite, going wide for Marshall, cut-out to Tuqiri and he can't quite grab it. Raiders scrum.
5 min: Penalty against the Raiders for a high shot on Matt Utai. Tigers advance up to halfway.
8 min: Vidot under the high ball drops his second ball of the night... ordinary start for the young winger and he's smashed by Keith Galloway (WST) to boot. Tigers with the scrum 10m from the Raiders line.
10 min: TRY
TRY Wests Tigers
Scored by Chris Lawrence. Conversion attempt by Benji Marshall successful.
Way too easy for the Tigers, Benji Marshall magic sends the ball left to Lawrence and it's the home side who'll start the scoreboard ticking over tonight. Marshall has no trouble with the conversion.
Wests Tigers 6-0
13 min: Canberra benefit from a Tigers error and now the Tigers concede a penalty, a chance for the lime-green brigade to start a charge inside the opposition 20.
15 min: Another Raiders penalty, this one right in front of the posts on tackle four, Sheens won't be pleased with that one. Good defence otherwise from the Tigers so far.
17 min: TRY
TRY Canberra Raiders
Scored by Daniel Vidot. Conversion attempt by Jarrod Croker unsuccessful.
It's try time for the Raiders, they move left and Vidot ducks inside a couple of defenders to crash over. Croker's voodoo of missing goals against the Tigers continues, he splays the conversion to the left.
Wests Tigers 6-4
22 min: The Tigers absolutely dominating possession at the moment, they force another dropout which pushes them to four consecutive sets. Campbelltown explodes in appreciation as 250-game maestro Todd Payten is interchanged on for the first time.
26 min: TRY
TRY Wests Tigers
Scored by Matthew Utai. Conversion attempt by Benji Marshall unsuccessful.
Benji magic responsible for extending the Tigers lead again here, Matt Utai showing skill to get the ball down right in the corner after Marshall had cut out a number of defenders to isolate Utai. Marshall's conversion attempt *just* misses.
Wests Tigers 10-4
31 min: Canberra being forced into plenty of defending as the Tigers again will attack the Raiders' line. Excellent go-forward from the home side tonight.
33 min: VIDEO REFEREE - possible Tigers try. Checking a Chris Lawrence possibly try, looks to be a double movement.
33 min: It is NO TRY, held up, tackle four, and Lawrence will play the ball with two plays remaining in this set...
35 min: Another error from Canberra and the Tigers will go at the Raiders line once more. Credit to the Raiders defence for only conceding two tries tonight so far - they've been defending for what seems like an eternity.
36 min: VIDEO REFEREE: possible try to the Tigers for Robert Lui - question mark on the grounding.
37 min: TRY
TRY Wests Tigers
Scored by Robert Lui. Conversion attempt by Benji Marshall successful.
Top play from the Tigers to move to the right, a great dummy from Robert Lui who wrongfoots the Raiders defence to score. The grounding was touch-and-go but the man upstairs deems it okay. Marshall converts.
Wests Tigers 16-4
38 min: Utai in trouble here, he's injured, tries the chip and chase and looks to have been taken out by Raiders' #11 Joe Picker. Picker goes ON REPORT, but replays show Utai did a bit of Italian Soccer there and took a dive.
39 min: The Raiders make good metres up the middle but just as things look promising, McCrone (CAN) receives an offload which he can't handle. Dropped cold and a scrum will form in the shadows of halftime.
HALFTIME at Campbelltown and it's all the Tigers. They've dominated possession. They've scored the points. More critical observers might say they should be up by more than they are, and that fact keeps Canberra in the game. It will be telling on the Tigers if the Raiders see any possession (and moreover, control it) in the second half, but for now they enjoy a comfortable lead with forty to go. Do join us when play resumes within the next ten minutes.
41 min: We're underway and Canberra already with a penalty inside the opening minute. They'll get inside Tigers' territory here, what can they produce?
43 min: Second half just minutes old and it's end-to-end stuff. Utai breaks down the sideline and is brought down just short. The Tigers shift it left from the play-the-ball and Canberra's Blake Ferguson just fails to pull off an intercept. Tigers scrum, more chance to attack.
Penalty goal attempt by Benji Marshall successful.
Brett White continues to be a disciplinary liability for Canberra, stripping the ball in a tackle. The Tigers take the two and Benji makes no mistake, pushing the home side now to a 14-point lead.
Wests Tigers 18-4
47 min: This half has not started well for the Raiders. "The Ox" Matty Orford punts it out on the full, Tigers scrum on the Raiders' 40.
49 min: A Tigers error sees Canberra reclaim possession and push their way up the park, but it's still an error-a-thon, McCrone spills the ball attempting an offload inside the Tigers' 30.
49 min: Chris Heighington (WST) has been sent behind the play for blood bin.
53 min: TRY
TRY Canberra Raiders
Scored by Blake Ferguson. Conversion attempt by Jarrod Croker successful.
A Tigers error sees the Raiders with a scrum on their own 10m line - ordinary defence from the scrum-base sees Blake Ferguson accelerate down the wing vacated by an injured Lote Tuqiri just minutes earlier... he goes 95 metres to score! Croker takes advantage of Ferguson improving the position and suddenly we have an 8-point ballgame.
Wests Tigers 18-10
54 min: INJURY: As reported Lote Tuqiri has an injured forearm and is off the field. Meanwhile, the Raiders have spilled the ball - or have they? Payten knocked it down but the referee has missed it, and the Tigers will benefit with a scrum from about 35m out. Bad luck for the visitors there.
56 min: TRY
TRY Wests Tigers
Scored by Chris Heighington. Conversion attempt by Benji Marshall unsuccessful.
Todd Payten shows some fantastic skill to put Chris Heighington over out wide, and the Tigers strike back immediately. Benji aims up, tries to fade it back but not enough. Conversion missed, 12 points the difference.
Wests Tigers 22-10
58 min: Momentum building for the Wests Tigers now, a penalty drives them up into the attacking zone again.
59 min: VIDEO REFEREE for a possible Tigers try to Blake Ayshford in the corner...
60 min: TRY
TRY Wests Tigers
Scored by Blake Ayshford. Conversion attempt by Benji Marshall unsuccessful.
Superb, superb, superb try. Brilliant metres, brilliant offloading, brilliant spreading of the ball out wide and the overlap sees Ayshford cross in the corner. Benji Marshall's conversion, on the other hand, is one of the most ordinary goal attempts I have ever seen. I think he kicked the ground. It misses by a good 20 metres and doesn't even make the goalposts.
Wests Tigers 26-10
61 min: Benji Marshall doesn't take long to atone for his sins - a huge 40/20 kick, top stuff from the Tigers' general!
Penalty goal attempt by Benji Marshall successful.
The discipline issues continue for Canberra, Blake Ferguson getting shirty making a tackle on Marshall. Marshall opts for the two and doesn't make a mistake this time.
Wests Tigers 28-10
70 min: TRY
TRY Wests Tigers
Scored by Andrew Fifita. Conversion attempt by Benji Marshall successful.
Huge run from Andrew Fifita, he's... going all the way! Fifita with plenty of gas in the tank scores a top try and the Tigers are making this look easy now. Benji makes it five from eight with the conversion.
Wests Tigers 34-10
72 min: TRY
TRY Canberra Raiders
Scored by Blake Ferguson. Conversion attempt by Jarrod Croker unsuccessful.
A high ball up to the right side and Blake Ferguson comes up with it, and somehow manages to get it down in the corner. A one-man shining light for Canberra tonight Ferguson. Croker misses from the corner.
Wests Tigers 34-14
75 min: INJURY: Chris Lawrence has hurt himself here, it doesn't look good. Hamstring or groin it could be, either way he's being stretchered off. This will be a costly win for the black-and-golds, Tuqiri and Lawrence now in trouble.
75 min: Double knock-on from the next play by the Tigers then Raiders. Canberra scrum 40m out. Can they repair some damage here?
76 min: TRY
TRY Canberra Raiders
Scored by Josh Dugan. Conversion attempt by Jarrod Croker successful.
McCrone puts a handy chip through and returning fullback Josh Dugan grabs the ball. Croker converts quickly and the gap reduces to 14 but there's just not enough time left.
Wests Tigers 34-20
77 min: McKinnon (WST) drops it, he's not happy about it either. Raiders scrum. They'll want to close the gap some more...
78 min: Oh dear, McCrone runs toward the sideline, he passes it infield, and it's the Tigers ball.
79 min: TRY
TRY Canberra Raiders
Scored by Blake Ferguson. Conversion attempt by Jarrod Croker unsuccessful.
Ferguson continues to trouble the Tigers right side defence, he scores in the corner and while it's too late, it's provides some comfort to the Raiders' faithful.
Wests Tigers 34-24
FULLTIME at Campbelltown and it's been all the Tigers. A top win for them to continue their reasonably positive start to 2011. Sheens will be concerned about the late points conceded however they did enough to confirm the result early on.

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