Roosters cruel Tigers finals hopes
Wests Tigers face an uphill battle to make the finals after suffering a shock 44-20 loss to the Roosters at Sydney Football Stadium.by NRL
Wests Tigers face an uphill battle to make the finals after suffering a shock 44-20 loss to the Roosters at Sydney Football Stadium.
A win would have seen the Tigers move up to seventh on the ladder going into the final round of the minor premiership, but they were blitzed by the 15th-placed Roosters in an eight-tries-to-four display.
The result leaves the Tigers in ninth position with 26 points and a for-and-against of -25, giving Canberra (seventh, 28 points) and Brisbane (eighth, 26 points) some much-needed breathing space heading into next weekend.
Tim Sheens' side now need to topple second-placed Melbourne at Leichhardt Oval on Saturday and hope lowly Penrith beat the Broncos at Lang Park 24 hours earlier to have any hope of playing in the finals.
Sheens admits the Tigers are resigned to missing out on the play-offs.
"They knew their season was on the line today," he told Grandstand.
"I don't think that affected them as such, but it certainly weighed heavily on them as the game started to get way from them.
"But there just wasn't enough attitude to defence."
A hat-trick from hulking winger Daniel Tupou, in only his second NRL match, laid the foundations for the win as the Roosters marked Anthony Minichiello's 250th match in style.
The Tigers, who were without skipper Robbie Farah due to a broken hand, were never at the races in the first half as the Roosters opened up a 26-0 lead by the break, their highest-scoring opening period since round 18 in 2008.
Frank-Paul Nuuausala opened the floodgates in the 13th minute before Tupou grabbed his first, hauling in a Braith Anasta kick to the corner and brilliantly putting the ball down.
Tim Moltzen then booted the kick-off out on the full and from the resulting penalty, Shaun Kenny-Dowall scored in the right corner to leave the Tigers shellshocked.
Young centre Tautau Moga and Tupou went over before the interval to stretch the advantage further for the hosts, with Anasta, playing his final home match before joining the Tigers next year, kicking three goals.
The second half started in a similar fashion with Mitchell Pearce finishing off a move that had a suspicion of obstruction about it after he ran behind decoy runner Minichiello, to score and end the game as a contest.
Stand-in Tigers captain Benji Marshall did his best to try and inspire his side, firing a brilliant cut-out pass to Marika Koroibete for the visitors' first try of match and Blake Ayshford scored his fourth of the season shortly after.
But there was to be no second-half capitulation from the Roosters with Tupou grabbing his third after Junior Moors dropped the ball under his own posts from the kick-off.
Minichiello got in on the scoring act 13 minutes from time, much to the delight of the crowd after some unselfish play from Pearce, who crossed the line but flicked a pass so the veteran full-back could touch the ball down.
The Tigers finished with some pride, scoring two late tries as Chris Heighington marked his 200th match with a four-pointer before Ben Murdoch-Masila crossed.
Meanwhile, Marshall was put on report for a high shot on Jared Waerea-Hargreaves.
Sydney Roosters: 44 (D Tupou 3, FP Nuuausala, S Kenny-Dowall, T Moga, M Pearce, A Minichiello tries; B Anasta 6/8 cons)
Wests Tigers: 20 (M Koroibete, B Ayshford, C Heighington, B Murdoch-Masila tries; B Marshall 2/4 cons)
Source: ABC Sport
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