Wests Tigers capped a stunning second half comeback by scoring the match-winning try after the siren to hand the Vodafone Warriors a devastating 22-28 loss in today’s 22nd-round New South Wales Cup clash in Sydney.
Coming off a humiliating 4-42 loss to the Mounties last week (their heaviest defeat of the year), the Vodafone Warriors were set to rebound emphatically when they shot out to a 22-6 lead early in the second half.
While the Tigers fashioned a comeback with two tries the Vodafone Warriors still led 22-16 with 10 minutes to go.
On the 70-minute mark the Tigers crossed again to tie the contest up at 22-22 and, into the final moments, it remained locked up with a draw seemingly inevitable.
That was until a remarkable finish saw centre Jy Hitchcox leaving the Vodafone Warriors in despair as he scored the match-winning try after the full-time siren had sounded.
The outcome beggared belief after the Vodafone Warriors had started the match so assertively.
In the space of 11 minutes from the 20th minute to the 31st minute they crossed for three tries.
The first was scored by centre Ken Maumalo after standoff Carlos Tuimavave raided down the short side; next Maumalo’s centre partner Dominique Peyroux stepped through the defence and off loaded for back rower David Bhana to cross for his first try of the season; and then Tuimavave added the third. All three were converted and, at 18-0, the Vodafone Warriors were where they wanted to be.
There was a blip when they conceded a converted try before halftime but made up for it in the opening moments of the second half when left winger Jarrod Tua fed off a Tigers error to score his 11th try in 15 games. At 22-6 the Vodafone Warriors were in the perfect position to go on with it.
Instead the Tigers worked their way back into the game and then ultimately stole victory with a run of 22 unanswered points.
The result lifted the home side to third while the Vodafone Warriors, starting the round in sixth spot, slipped a place to seventh, one point ahead of eighth-placed Cronulla and only two ahead of Newtown, now ninth on 25 points.
Next Saturday they take on the Newcastle Knights who trounced Cronulla 56-12 today to leap to fifth place on 28 points, one ahead of the Vodafone Warriors.
Match details | Kirkham Park, Sydney
Wests Tigers 28 (Corey Brown 2, John Tohi, Daniel Abou-Sleiman, Jy Hitchcox tries; Corey Brown 4 conversions).
Vodafone Warriors 22 (Ken Maumalo, David Bhana, Carlos Tuimavave, Jarrod Tua tries; Carlos Tuimavave 2 conversions; Sam Cook conversion).
Halftime: 18-6 Vodafone Warriors.
Referee: Drew Oultram.
Vodafone Warriors: Steve Waetford (c); Ngataua Hukatai, Ken Maumalo, Dominique Peyroux, Jarrod Tua; Sam Cook, Jonathan Carl; Agnatius Paasi, Siliva Havili, Charlie-Paul Gubb; Michael Sio, Abraham Papalii; John Palavi. Interchange: David Bhana, Upu Poching, Raymond Faitala-Mariner, Sam Lousi.