Fighting Tigers stay in hunt for NRL finals

Russell Packer slips the ball away against the Raiders
Russell Packer slips the ball away against the Raiders

THEY held off Penrith in the fight to keep their coach.

And on Sunday afternoon the Wests Tigers ensured they remain in the fight for a top-eight finish with a heart-stopping 22-20 win over Canberra.

After leading 16-0 midway through the first half, the Tigers went into the final quarter up 22-20 and it looked like the Raiders were coming to get them.

But the Tigers held on for a valuable win to put to bed what would have been a testing week for the club with all the talk about Penrith's interest in Ivan Cleary.

The Tigers moved to 24 competition points with remaining games against St George Illawarra this Saturday followed by Manly and South Sydney.

Brisbane are in eighth spot on 26 competition points with remaining games against South Sydney this Thursday and then the Sydney Roosters and Manly.

The Raiders made enough mistakes in the first half to give their coach a heart attack but somehow only trailed 20-10.

It was four tries to two and three of the Tigers' tries came in a 10-minute period when Joey Leilua was in the sin bin for a professional foul.

Canberra absolutely self-destructed early on the back of schoolboy errors in attack and defence.

Moses Mbye started on fire. He beat four defenders for a terrific solo try and threw a magnificent cut-out ball to put David Nofoaluma over for another.

As is their way, the Raiders found a way back despite limited possession with tries to Joe Tapine and Josh Papalii before the break reducing the margin to 10 points.

Further tries to Leilua and Tapine set up a thrilling final quarter with the Tigers at that point up 22-20.

WESTS TIGERS 22 (M Chee Kam M Mbye D Nofoaluma M Watene-Zelezniak tries E Marsters 3 goals) bt CANBERRA 20 (J Tapine 2 J Leilua J Papalii tries S Williams 2 goals) at GIO Stadium. Referee: Ben Cummins, Chris Butler. Crowd: 14,583