Wests Tigers halfback Luke Brooks has silenced a few of his doubters by leading his side to an upset 34-6 NRL win over South Sydney at ANZ Stadium.
With the Tigers missing their NSW State of Origin stars Robbie Farah and Aaron Woods, Brooks stepped up on Friday night, scoring a scintillating solo try and setting up another to ease the pressure on coach Jason Taylor.
After winning just two of their previous 10 matches and losing their last four, questions were being asked about the club’s young halves combination of Brooks and Mitchell Moses.
However, they rebounded in a big way against the premiers.
New Zealand Test back-rower Martin Taupau provided plenty of aggression up front as well as scoring two tries, while fullback James Tedesco was also instrumental, crossing for two tries as well as making two line breaks.
Rabbitohs halfback Adam Reynolds made his comeback from a broken thumb but his side – missing Greg Inglis (Origin) and Issac Luke (knee) – were badly beaten in the middle of the field.
The Tigers went up 12-0 after 10 minutes after an early onslaught spearheaded by young guns Brooks and Tedesco.
Tedesco created the overlap before mopping up Tim Simona’s grubber for their first four-pointer before Brooks sent Taupau over four minutes later.
Brooks undid some of his good work when he kicked out on the full, gifting the Rabbitohs field position which led to Bryson Goodwin strolling through some paper-thin defence to make it 12-6 at halftime.
The Tigers should have been in front by more but David Nofoaluma failed to hold onto a Tedesco pass with the line wide open and in the shadow of the break Ava Seumanufagai crossed but Manaia Cherrington’s final pass was called forward.
It didn’t matter in the end though, as it was all the Tigers in the second half.
They piled on four tries, starting with Brooks in the 44th minute, cutting open the Souths defensive line before showing great pace to beat Alex Johnston to the line.
The Tigers sealed the win when Taupau powered his way over four defenders before Nofoaluma and Tedesco put the icing on the cake.