It wasn’t pretty, but the Wests Tigers are still alive in the NRL season after a 42-24 win over Brisbane that ended a three-game losing streak.
The Tigers ran home with four tries in 18 minutes to inject new hope into their final chances and are now just one top-eight win despite just six wins this season.
Defense was fragile on both sides, but Adam Doueihi and Daine Laurie lit up the Tigers’ offense as their partnership resumed in the backbone of Suncorp Stadium.
Doueihi scored five tries on his return to fifth place after a six-week stay in the centers.
“There is a huge opportunity ahead of us,” said coach Michael Maguire, who considered making a statement on their chances in the final before ruling against it.
“I won’t say it… we’ve talked about what we want to accomplish and I’m going to leave it at that.”
Although the game was rambling, the Tigers had much to celebrate.
A leap forward and a dump from new winger Ken Maumalo got Junior center Pauga to make his debut, while winger David Nofoaluma also achieved a milestone.
With the first of his two tries, he became the club’s top scorer with 86 four-pointers in his career, overtaking club legends Benji Marshall (84) and Chris Lawrence (84).
His second was a nasty run for a loose ball into the goal that gave the Tigers a four-point lead with 11 minutes left, but the Broncos had already started to come undone.
The Broncos were chasing back-to-back wins for the first time since last year’s second round, but poor defense and discipline let them down.
However, barnstorming mainstay Payne Haas has once again shown why he’s worth a 10-year contract with the Broncos with another colossal performance four days after doing the same for NSW.
Haas had to be taken off the field after 50 minutes and 141 yards after crossing 127 yards in 38 minutes in Wednesday night’s 20-18 loss to Queensland.
Once again, the Broncos fell noticeably down the middle without him on the field, but his comeback 15 minutes from time was not enough to revive the momentum.
The Broncos led 18-10 at the break and 24-10 with half an hour to go before it all fell apart.
“The Tigers are a good team with their offense and most of the NRL teams can score points quickly if you’re not resilient in defense and we certainly weren’t today,” said the coach. Kevin Walters.
The challenge gets tougher for Brisbane next week as they take on Penrith, while the Tigers face a near-full-strength Manly.