Eighth placed Wests Tigers were the bookies favourites to pick up the two ladder points against fourteenth placed Brisbane Broncos at the Leichhardt Oval in Sydney.
Brisbane coach Anthony Seibold made two changes to last week’s winning line-up as Joe Ofahengaue and Richard Kennar came into the side. Tigers coach Michael McGuire was forced into five alterations to the side which lost to the Rabbitohs in round nine with Billy Walters, Chris McQueen, Russell Packer, Sam McIntyre and Tommy Talau all being named in the seventeen.
Games between these two had been close in recent meetings but the Broncos had by far the better head-to-head record. But this would be the Tigers night.
There was little to choose between the sides in the opening exchanges when from the back of a scrum the Tigers opened the scoring, the ball moved from the centre of the field to the right wing through fast hands with David Nofoaluma being the man on the spot to take the pass and run the angle to ground in the corner. Moses Mbye curled his kick inside the far upright for a 6-0 lead.
A walk-in try for Harry Grant on fifteen was far too easy as the Broncos defence showed naivety buying the dummy. Mbye added the conversion and from nowhere the home side had a 12-0 lead.
A brilliant 40-20 from Benji Marshall, the ball going into touch a metre from the line, saw the Tigers on the attack again on eighteen minutes but they put the ball to ground on their first play.
On twenty-two Luciano Leilua found a massive gap in the Broncos defence as he took a short pass to walk in for the third Tigers try. Mbye was unable to add the extras, his first miss with the boot.
On twenty-five a loose carry by Brisbane on their own ten metre line saw them spill the ball. Marshall was on hand to pick up the loose ball and cross the line to score in the corner. Mbye was again unable to add the extras but it mattered little as Wests took a 20-0 lead.
As the rain became torrential Leilua got his second of the half as he caught a short goal line clearance on the full, spun out of the one attempted tackle, and went down the left wing to score in the corner. Mbye drifted his conversion inside the far upright, the points already in the bag with five minutes left in the first half.
After holding their own for the first ten minutes, the Broncos had no answer to the Wests onslaught as they played, basically unopposed, for the remaining thirty.
Two and a half minutes after the restart the Tigers domination continued as Luke Garner took full advantage of a fractured defensive line to swing himself over the line using the momentum of the Broncos tackler to get the ball down. Mbye couldn’t add the extras but the Tigers had brought up the thirty.
An absolute porridge behind the sticks from the Broncos as Tesi Niu failed to gather the David Nofoaluma grubber and Sam McIntyre was on the spot to get his hand on the ball for the try. Mbye added his fourth conversion of the night for a 36-0 lead.
A sensational try from Billy Walters brought up the forty when he volleyed a high kick from Benji Marshall towards the sticks and outpaced the chasing defenders to get a hand on the ball in the goal area. Mbye added the conversion.
The Broncos lost Cory Oates on sixty-four with what looked like an open leg fracture, not one for the squeamish.
Garner snatched his second, the Tigers ninth, when he took a short pass from Marshall to go through a big gap and dive over for the four pointer. Mbye kicked the conversion to take the final score line to 48-0, nothing short of a demolition with a complete shut out of the Broncos.
It was a game of one-way traffic as the Broncos stumbled around for any answers to Wests testing questions. Despite a reasonable completion rate the Broncos had next to no ball in their opponent’s half and when the Tigers has the ball in hand, they were clinical. This could be Seibold’s las game at the Broncos helm.
Wests Tigers: Doueihi, Nofoaluma (T), Lawrence, Mbye (6G), Talau, Walters (T), Marshall (T), Aloiai, Grant (T), Packer, Garner (2T), Leilua (2T), Eisenhuth. Subs: McIntyre (T), Mikaele, Brooks, McQueen.
Brisbane Broncos: Niu, Isaako, Kennar, Boyd, Coates, Milford, Croft, Pangai Junior, Luke, Haas, Te’o, Oates, Carrigan. Subs: Paix, Flegler, Hopoate, Ofahengaue.
Referee: Adam Gee.
Ground: Leichhardt Oval, Sydney.