Injury-hit Wests Tigers have bounced back from their thrashing at the hands of Canberra in emphatic style with a 30-22 NRL defeat of South Sydney, snapping a six-game losing streak.
The Tigers raced out to a 20-0 lead early and resisted a Rabbitohs fightback which narrowed their lead to two points by the 50th minute, before the visitors rallied again to claim a vital win.
Belted 60-6 by the Raiders last week, with captain Aaron Woods already sidelined, the Tigers lost his fellow prop Tim Grant in the lead up to Thursday’s nights round nine clash at ANZ Stadium.
Playmaker Mitchell Moses then pulled out late after suffering a quad strain in the warm-up.
The Tigers were further decimated when fullback James Tedesco didn’t return from the break after struggling with a shoulder injury in the first half.
But with his halves partner watching on, Luke Brooks piloted the Tigers to their most impressive win of the season over a flat Rabbitohs who crashed to their fourth straight loss.
A fourth minute touchdown to Tedesco from a Brooks kick, was followed by a Jordan Rankin try in the 11th minute.
When Brooks picked up his own kick that bounced cruelly past Souths fullback Greg Inglis, the Tigers surprisingly led 20-0 after 20 minutes before 11,229 fans.
Captain Inglis, who was Souths’ best, tried hard to spark his side and Kirisome Auva’a scored the home side’s first try four minutes before the break for a halftime score of 20-6.
Bryson Goodwin scored shortly after the interval and a subsequent Dane Nielsen try brought the Rabbitohs within two with half an hour to play.
Rankin scored his second try to wrest the ascendancy back the Tigers’ way in the 26-18 in the 54th minute.
David Nofoaluma pressed the Tigers further ahead when he scored off a clever short side play engineered by Robbie Farah in the 63rd minute.
Goodwin’s second try in the 73rd minute pegged the gap to eight points.
Tigers coach Jason Taylor praised the toughness of his side.
“We brought all of that pressure on ourselves by a performance that was absolutely not good enough last week and we take that pressure straight away with a win, and it was in such a great fashion,” Taylor said.
“I am really excited about how we won that game. It was a really tough performance that was a really strong win in the circumstances and there was plenty going against us.
“There was a real pride in our performance, when you lose like we did that comes out.”
Coach Michael Maguire was unimpressed with Souths from the get-go.
“The players’ attitudes, we need to sort that out very quickly,” he said.
“Because if we keep letting in simple tries like that we are going to stay in the same place. I thought our defence was very ordinary tonight.
“It was pretty simple out there tonight, Wests Tigers just wanted it more.”
South skipper Greg Inglis added: “You can’t be dipping the toe in and try and play catch up football.
“Our attitude wasn’t nearly good enough.”
Tedesco could face time on the sidelines due to his injury. Taylor said he will go for scans on Friday.
Sam Burgess battled through the second half with an ankle complaint and will also undergo scans.
Souths next meet Parramatta on Friday week after the NRL breaks for the representative week.
The Tigers host Canterbury on Sunday week.