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18 Mar 2018 13:29
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  •   Home > News > Sports > Rugby League

    Tigers' dramatic NRL upset of Roosters

    Wests Tigers fullback Tuimoala Lolohea has kicked a 79th-minute sideline conversion to upset the Sydney Roosters 10-8 in round one of the NRL.

    - article from

    A 79th-minute sideline conversion from Tuimoala Lolohea has given the Wests Tigers a dramatic 10-8 upset of the Sydney Roosters to open their NRL season.

    The Roosters were leading 8-4 on Saturday when Tigers winger Corey Thompson fielded a Lolohea long ball that ricocheted off Michael Chee Kam's head.

    Thompson showed composure and athleticism for a one-handed putdown, with Tigers coach Ivan Cleary heaping praise on the off-season recruit.

    "The way he played today is basically the way he started training at the start of November. He's turned up every day and done well, done well in the trial games," Cleary said.

    "He epitomises what we're trying to build here. Not a huge signing, with all due respect to Corey, but we thought it was a great signing and always admired him as a player.

    "He's turned up, earned his spot and played well again."

    It was an impressive performance overall from the Tigers, who also overcame the 42nd-minute sin-binning of halfback Luke Brooks for a professional foul.

    They also lost five-eighth Josh Reynolds who suffered a hamstring injury in the captain's run that could keep him out for up to a month.

    The win steals the thunder of Roosters debutant and key signing Cooper Cronk, who along with winger Blake Ferguson had been two of their team's best at ANZ Stadium.

    It also ruined the club debut of former Tigers star James Tedesco, who bombed a certain first-half try and was incessantly booed by the crowd of 18,243.

    Ferguson appeared to have saved his team's blushes when he finished off a 65th-minute try to give his team an 8-4 lead with 15 minutes to go.

    But a Tedesco error gave his old team possession late in the match, paving the way for Thompson's heroics, which included drawing a penalty for the game-deciding set.

    Benji Marshall was also strong for his former side, winding back the clock with a vintage playmaking performance to celebrate his comeback to the club.

    Twice the Roosters should've scored inside the opening 15 minutes, including a regulation dropped ball from Tedesco in the 13th minute that drew a bronx cheer from the crowd.

    Cronk showed why the club were ready to give up on long-time halfback Mitchell Pearce, forcing two line dropouts and nailing a 40-20 to give the Roosters plenty of shots in attack.

    But the Tigers proved their resilience by turning the premiership favourites away each time to take a 2-0 lead at halftime, with prop Ben Matulino particularly strong in defence.

    Roosters coach Trent Robinson admitted he wanted more out of his new-look spine. But they were let down by errors that had them on the back foot for most of the second half.

    "I thought we tried to do what we wanted to do in attack but there wasn't enough combinations and high errors," he said.

    "We had good, strong running without many combinations and high errors. I think that was a big difference in our play."

    © 2018 NZN, NZCity

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