Wests Tigers hang on to topple Titans - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Wests Tigers hang on to topple Titans

By David Beniuk 25/05/2008 05:08:45 PM Comments (0)

The Wests Tigers made a triumphant return to Leichhardt Oval this afternoon, spurred on by a sea of orange and black to a nail-biting 20-18 win over NRL ladder leaders Gold Coast.

A crowd of 17,493 packed the Tigers' traditional home, creating an atmosphere that had the players turning on an inspired, and at times fiery, match.

Leading 14-6 at halftime, the Tigers had to withstand plenty of second half pressure from the Titans before hanging on for the win after both sides had scored three tries.

Skipper Brett Hodgson latched onto a perfect inside ball from halfback Mathew Head in the 58th minute and the fullback's conversion made it 20-6.

But Titans tries to Brenton Bowen in the 68th minute and Preston Campbell in the 72nd got Gold Coast back to 20-18 and a thriller was on the cards.

The Tigers kept the Coast to their own end of the park in the final minutes and, as they threatened to break away with two minutes left, the Titans were pulled up for a forward pass, much to the relief of the vocal crowd.

For the Tigers, Ben Te'o, Robbie Farah and Hodgson scored tries with Hodgson kicking four goals from four attempts.

The Titans' points came from tries to Aaron Cannings and Bowen while Scott Prince booted three goals in his first match at Leichhardt since quitting the Tigers in 2006.

The atmosphere certainly had the players fired up.

Tigers prop Bryce Gibbs and Titans hooker Nathan Friend were both sin-binned for being third and fourth men in when the game erupted in the 27th minute.

Corey Payne had given Mat Rogers some extra attention in a tackle before Friend ran in to assist his team-mate and then Gibbs got involved as players ran from everywhere.

In the 37th minute, Head lay motionless after a hit off the ball which resulted in Gold Coast centre Luke O'Dwyer going on report.

The big crowd probably also had the Tigers wondering why they play at the cavernous ANZ Stadium for most of the season as their big second-rowers Chris Heighington and Te'o steamrolled their way through the first half.

After Te'o had smashed Titans winger Ben Jeffery and dislodged the ball early, the big No.11 was on hand to pluck a pinpoint Benji Marshall cross-field chip in just the seventh minute and the Tigers led 6-0.

The home side led 12-0 after 14 minutes when Farah dived over from dummy-half.

The Titans hit back in the 21st when Prince laid on a try under the posts for interchange forward Aaron Cannings for 12-6.

But, after Hodgson had missed an earlier penalty shot, the fullback knocked over two points from the O'Dwyer penalty for the Tigers to lead 14-6 at the break.

The win was the Tigers' first in three meetings with Gold Coast.

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