Full Time
4:05pm Sun June 23, 2024
Round 16 - Campbelltown Sports Stadium, Leumeah / Dharawal - Crowd: 10106

Match Overview

The Wests Tigers have overcome a massive scare to put away the Canberra Raiders 48-24 in a seesawing affair at Campbelltown Sports Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

The Tigers looked to be cruising to one of their most comfortable and impressive wins in recent memory, leading the Raiders 42-8, before a sin bin flipped the game on its head as Canberra scored three tries in six minutes.

But Adam Doueihi, playing his first game in the NRL in 441 days, iced the win with an intercept try in the 73rd minute to snuff out Canberra's comeback and celebrate his return in style.

Sunday's game opened in bizarre fashion as the Raiders were gifted the first try-scoring opportunity off a Jahream Bula error, quickly finding an overlap on the left edge only for Brent Naden to intercept an Ethan Strange pass and turn defence into attack.

The Tigers then did what the Raiders couldn't and converted the field position into points, doing so almost immediately as Apisai Koroisau quickly went left to Lachlan Galvin, who beat a few defenders on the way to the line.

A lazy error from Sebastian Kris a few minutes later then had the Tigers suddenly on the attack once more and they almost made it two quick tries, only for Jahream Bula to bounce the ball over the line.

It didn't take long for the home side to extend its lead though and once again it was off the back of a Raiders error, with Jordan Rapana spilling a Galvin bomb as Luke Laulilii barged over on the next tackle in his NRL debut.

It was 12-0 at that point with the Tigers challenging the clock and Benji Marshall's side almost pushed it out to 18 as Rapana coughed up another kick, with Samuela Fainu on the spot to pick up the scraps and flick it to Koroisau in support.

But replays later showed Aidan Sezer making contact with the ball as he contested the kick, seeing the try overturned as the Raiders hung on - just.

The same was true in the 20th minute as Doueihi looked to have scored in his first game back from injury after brilliant lead-up work from Galvin and Fainu, only to be held up after a sensational one-on-one tackle from Rapana.

The close calls kept coming as a Hudson Young toed the ball dead to deny Galvin a try in the 23rd minute before the hand of Zac Woolford stopped Sione Fainu from charging over soon after.

Fainu couldn't be denied in the 35th minute though as he reached out to extend the Tigers' lead out to 18-0, although even that was after another missed opportunity for the home side in the 30th minute.

In other words, as much as the scoreboard reflected the Tigers' dominance, it didn't tell the full story as Canberra could have easily been trailing 30-0 at that point.

But the Raiders couldn't find the final pass on two occasions to end the half as they failed to convert on two potential try-scoring opportunities.

A try definitely went begging in the 39th minute as a surging run from Nick Cotric was backed up by a similarly powerful Hudson Young charge had the Raiders second rower closing in on the try line.

But instead of trying to get there himself Young attempted to link up with his support on the outside, only for Bula to get his hands to the ball to save what would have otherwise been a try.

Still, the Tigers regathered the ball in an offside position which saw Canberra get on the board with a penalty goal to close out the half.

If anything, the shaky finish to the first half was a good thing for the Tigers because it served as a wake-up call of sorts, proving they couldn't come out into the second complacent and simply expecting to go on with the job.

They certainly didn't do that, scoring two tries in the space of five minutes to open the second half and blow away the Raiders.

First, a confident shift inside their own half ended with Galvin scoring his second before another Rapana error saw Koroisau put Bula over under the posts as the Tigers went up 30-2.

Danny Levi was able to burrow over for a cheap try soon after but had no hope when a clever Koroisau shaped to go left before sending it right to Stefano Utoikamanu, isolating the Raiders hooker in the defensive line as the Tigers quickly re-established their ascendancy in the 53rd minute.

Galvin then showed maturity beyond his years on a chaotic last-tackle play as he took his time to put in a perfectly-placed kick that ended sitting up for Koroisau to put the Tigers ahead 42-8.

The home side faced some adversity late in the piece as Alex Seyfarth was sent to the sin bin in the 62nd minute for interfering with a Levi quick tap and the Raiders quickly capitalised on the one-man overlap as Cotric scored.

Even still, Canberra needed a miracle at that point, trailing by 30 points with only 16 minutes left.

The Raiders quickly made it two tries in just as many minutes as Kaeo Weekes sold Doueihi on a dummy and then outpaced Bula to score, reducing the deficit to 24 with 14 on the clock.

Suddenly, the Tigers were in freefall as Strange went over and Rapana once again added the extras, leaving the Raiders needing three converted tries in 11 minutes.

The Raiders pulled the Tigers apart on the right edge once more on their next set but a desperate tackle from Fainu saved the day, although an error immediately after put the home side under pressure once again.

But some more committed defence saw the Tigers hold firm before Doueihi pounced on a Rapana pass to race away for the intercept try that sealed the win for Marshall's team.

The Tigers face a stern test against the Roosters next week as they look to make it three on the trot while the Raiders have an even bigger challenge with a trip to Melbourne on the cards.


3. Apisai Koroisau

Masterful from Koroisau, who had the ball on a string in a team that had plenty of standout players but it was Koroisau who stood tall in the big moments, setting up three tries.

2. Lachlan Galvin

Continues to show maturity beyond his years, proving particularly lethal with his running game as he recorded 111 metres to go with two tries, five tackle busts and a try assist.

1. Adam Doueihi

Have to give the point to the man returning from injury. Doueihi didn't look to be holding back in his first game, running with intent to finish with a team-high 174 metres while he was also very sound in defence.