Wests Tigers have shrugged off a week of negative headlines over the Robbie Farah saga to beat an injury-hit South Sydney 30-14 at ANZ Stadium.
While Tigers coach Jason Taylor was vindicated by his side’s impressive six-try display on Friday night, his Souths opposite, Michael Maguire, has a massive headache after superstar Sam Burgess spent most of the game on the bench with a shoulder injury.
In the lead-up, all eyes were on NSW hooker Farah after he was benched in favour of Dene Halatau, but Taylor’s men got on with the job, and James Tedesco and Mitchell Moses led the onslaught.
After going on to applause in the 25th, Farah had a relatively quiet night but capped it with a second-half try, running 50m to dot down, prompting a “Robbie” chant from the Tigers faithful among the crowd of 14,490.
NSW coach Laurie Daley also has a nervous wait on his hands after Adam Reynolds appeared to twinge his knee late in the match but played on.
When five-eighth Moses opened the scoring in the 18th, the Tigers set the tempo for the rest of the match when they put it through six sets of hands, running 100m from the kick-off to score a spectacular four-pointer through Tim Simona.
They boldly spread it on their own goal line, with Kevin Naiqama getting through before Moses drew fullback Cody Walker to put Simona over.
Moses had a blinder, coming up with a beautiful tip-on pass in a slick Tigers back-line movement that resulted in David Nofoaluma crossing in the shadows of the break as the home side went into the sheds up 14-4.
With utility Luke Keary an 11th-hour omission because of an ankle injury, the Rabbitohs were struck a massive blow in the 25th minute when back-rower Burgess left the field clutching his shoulder.
Winger-turned-back-rower Bryson Goodwin also spent the last 50 minutes on the sidelines after suffering a wrist injury.
When Souths winger Alex Johnston scored his second of the night in the 55th, he gave his side a sniff but three tries in eight minutes to Chris Lawrence, Naiqama and Farah sealed the result.
MORE TO COME