The Wests Tigers have come away with a vital 28-16 victory over the last placed Bulldogs to keep their slim finals hopes alive, but the game showed that the Tigers were more of a bottom 4 side than a top 8 outfit.
The Tigers opened the scoring in the 4th minute when Adam Doueihi was held in a tackle on the left side, but he passed back inside to Luke Brooks who ran right, linked with Jacob Liddle who drifted right while showing the ball, then half a gap opened up. Liddle poked his nose through before he got a pass back inside to Luciano Leilua who crashed through a weak tackle to score near the posts. Doueihi converted.
Five minutes later the Bulldogs hit back with a stunning try when Nick Meaney made a break just inside his own half, before linking with Jake Averillo who is caught, but not before he gets a spectacular back-door flick pass away to the left which Meaney takes cleanly and runs the rest of the way to score under the posts. Averillo converted to level the scores.
In the 23rd minute Moses Mbye sent a long cut-out pass to Ken Maumalo who stepped back inside his opposite number and scored in the left corner. Doueihi converted from touch.
Luke Brooks kicked a 40/20 at the end of the Tigers first set after the restart, then the Tigers earned a set restart a full second before Brooks threw a forward pass to Mbye close to the Dogs line.
Ten minutes before halftime, the Tigers extended their lead when Brooks on the last, kicked to the left and found Maumalo who caught the ball cleanly and grounded it as he fell to the ground to score a good try. Doueihi nailed another sideline conversion.
Just minutes before the break, the Bulldogs scored a vital try when they had bodies in motion leading up to Corey Waddell getting the ball, hitting the goal line defender and then spinning and falling over the line, back first, yet managing to plant the ball down for a try to the right of the sticks. Averillo converted to reduce the Tigers halftime lead to just 6 points.
Doueihi kicked a penalty goal 3 minutes after play resumed and 5 minutes later, he put in a cross-field kick that found Tommy Talau who scored to the right of the posts. Doueihi converted.
The game from this point was very ill-disciplined, sloppy and full of poorly executed sets from both sides. The Tigers very nearly scored in the 60th minute but the bunker found a knock on by Talau, denying Zac Cini a try.
In the 63rd minute the Bulldogs hit back when Will Hopoate got a lovely ball to Corey Allan, who scored in the corner. Averillo failed to convert from touch.
Jack Hetherington was sin binned in the 75th minute for a controversial high tackle. Adam Doueihi kicked another penalty goal to give the Tigers a 28-16 lead which they hung on to for the final 5 minutes.