The Wests Tigers have moved into second spot on the ladder with just one more match to play before the finals kick-off following their impressive 26 – 14 win over the Storm at Leichardt Oval on Sunday afternoon in front of a capacity crowd of over 20,160 fans.
A top four finish is now a very real possibility for the Tigers after they won their third game on the trot, following important wins over the Panthers and the Eels.
Bets made on the Tigers to ‘Make the Top 4’ at SportsBet early in the season look to pay out well
Their 12 point victory on Sunday saw them push the Titans out of the top two and into fourth spot, making their match against the Gold Coast in Round 26 a must-see.
Melbourne provided some tough competition early and kept the score tied heading into the break, but lost steam in the second half.
The Storm were first to score when Justin O’Neill got over in the seventh minute to give the visitors an early four point advantage.
This came after an early blow to the Tigers who lost centre Chris Lawrence in the fourth minute after he broke his jaw.
But the Tigers were quick to answer back with Benji Marshall putting in one of his most dazzling displays and scoring a match hat-trick to lead the Tigers to victory.
Marshall opened the Tigers account in the 13th minute with a try that will be remembered for a long time and bought back memories of the stunner he pulled back in 2005, to tie the score four all.
Then eight minutes later Andrew Fifita pushed the home side into the lead with their second try.
Robbie Farah converted and the score was 10 – 4 in favour of the Tigers.
But before the end of the first half, the Storm were able to bring the score into a two point game thanks to a 31st minute try from William Isa so Tigers were narrowly in front 10 – 8.
Back in the second half Marshall scored his second of the night seven minutes in, converting his own try, to steal back the lead 16 – 8.
In a real arm wrestle of a match, Melbourne narrowed the margin once again in the 57th minute when Ryan Hoffman got their third of the night, Cameron Smith successfully converting to bring them within two points.
But in a thrilling fourth quarter effort from the home side, the Tigers scored two final tries to secure victory.
First skipper Farah got over in the 68th minute and then Marshall completed his hat-trick three minutes from time.
But a large list of injuries has marred celebrations for the Tigers as they look set to head into the finals without a number of players including Lawrence (jaw), John Skandalis (buttocks), Wade McKinnon (hamstring), Bryce Gibbs (knee) and Liam Fulton (calf).
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