After stunning so many last week, the Wests Tigers have proved winning was no fluke following their 23-22 victory over the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Commbank Stadium.
The Tigers were under pressure early on but they were able to withstand that pressure when they turned defence into attack when Daine Laurie threw a beautiful cut out pass that found David Nofoaluma who had too much strength close to the line to score. The try wasn't the only pain the Rabbitohs felt from that play with Taane Milne sent to the sin bin after making forceful high contact with Laurie as he passed the ball.
Despite having a player in the sin bin, the next 10 minutes was about the only time in the half that Souths were able to dominate running in two tries in the space of five minutes. The first of the Bunnies try was a case of right place right time for the Red & Green as Alex Johnston tried to force his way to the line but was stopped but not before getting an offload away that Cody Walker was on the spot to clean up.
The Bunnies took an unlikely lead five minutes later when Alex Johnston was able to score out wide after the Rabbitohs looked as if they had the extra man when the space was created. Blake Taaffe couldn't take advantage by adding the extra two points.
Having Taane Milne return from the sin bin was the catalyst for momentum shifting again and the Tigers were back in control of the game with a dominance in possession and field position. Despite all that field position and dominance, the Tigers could only manage the one try and that came when the Tigers took advantage of having a 3-on-1 overlap and scored out wide through Ken Maumalo.
The Rabbitohs trailing by 2, had a big chance right on the stroke of half-time when referee Ziggy Przeklasa-Adamski used the sin bin for the second time tonight when Alex Twal was given his marching orders for a professional foul. Souths had a chance but an error cost them the chance to take the lead just before half time and went into the break trailing by 2.
Starting with the extra man, The Rabbitohs took advantage of the extra man although it took almost nine minutes to take advantage when Josh Mansour chased through a kick and got it down just in time to score. Blake Taafe's conversion extended the Bunnies lead to 4.
Off the back of an error, the Tigers had prime field position with a centrefield scrum on the Souths 10m line and they took advantage straight away as the Souths defence was left in all sorts and David Nofoaluma took advantage out wide to score. Jackson Hastings hit the post with the conversion and scores remained locked up at 16-16.
Souths scrappy play cost them dearly when a wayward pass from Lachlan Illias was swooped upon by Luke Brooks who only had open Commbank Stadium turf in front of him to race away and put the Tigers back into the lead by 6 after Jackson Hastings converted the try.
The pattern of the game meant that there were multiple twists left, and that happened when Keaon Koloamatangi scored inside the final ten minutes and Blake Taaffe converted to level the scores again.
Both sides had good chances to take advantage, the Tigers were able to get their field goal attempts off the boot but were denied whilst the Bunnies made errors and then arguably cost themselves the game when Jai Arrow idiotically tried to take the field goal attempt that cost Souths field position.
A bad piece of luck against Souths, gave the Tigers a final chance inside the final minute when an accidental offside was ruled after Damien Cook's chargedown came off Jai Arrow and back to the Rabbitohs number 9. The Tigers took advantage of the good field position when Luke Brooks took his shot and nailed it securing the 23-22 victory for the Wests Tigers.
Next week, the Rabbitohs are playing host to the Sea Eagles in Gosford on Friday night, whilst the Wests Tigers will be confident of a third straight win when they travel to Wollongong to take on the Dragons.