Three tries to fullback James Tedesco and a double to winger David Nofoaluma have given Wests Tigers a 36-22 victory over Manly and back-to-back wins to start the NRL season.
Momentum changed regularly in a highly entertaining game at Leichhardt Oval before 11,269 fans, but the Tigers were deserved winners with Tedesco and Mitchell Moses playing lead hands.
Key Manly recruit Martin Taupau was the visitors’ best in his first match against his former club and scored a deserved consolation try late.
The Tigers dominated the opening quarter to lead 16-2 after 32 minutes on the back of tries to Nofoaluma, Kevin Naiqama and Tedesco.
Moses kicked beautifully for Nofoaluma, Naiqama’s was all of his own making as he sliced through the Sea Eagles’ line and Tedesco finished off another Naiqama break.
Manly’s sole score was a third minute Jamie Lyon penalty goal until Lewis Brown burrowed over from dummy half in the 32nd minute.
The visitors had successfully wrestled momentum back their way when Dylan Walker palmed off Moses and and Kyle Lovett to score in the 37th minute for the halftime score of 16-10.
A Jorge Taufua try and Lyon’s conversion in the 42nd minute tied the scored at 16-all and Manly had all the running.
The game then turned on a Taupau error.
Moses had put through a poor last tackle kick and the visitors had the ball on the 35m line. However Taupau was penalised for a shoulder charge on Moses and from the ensuing set of six, Jordan Rankin crossed out wide in the 50th minute to put the home side back ahead.
Nofoaluma scored his second with a sweet step nine minutes later and the Tigers were ahead 24-16.
Tedesco sealed the win with his second four-pointer with nine minutes remaining, adding his third in the 78th minute.
Tigers back-rower Curtis Sironen suffered a 10th minute hamstring injury and didn’t return.
The Tigers, who beat the Warriors in round one, join South Sydney, Brisbane, Canterbury, Melbourne and Canberra as the undefeated teams after two rounds.
Manly were much improved after their poor first round loss to Canterbury, but enter round three without a victory.