Tigers defeat doesn't help Mick Potter's cause
Wests Tigers have done little to prop up Mick Potter's tentative hold on the reins of the joint-venture club after succumbing to a 28-12 loss to St George Illawarra at ANZ Stadium tonight.
All the pre-game focus was on reports Potter was set to be axed as coach at a board meeting on Sunday night - with his assistant David Kidwell a likely successor - despite piloting the Tigers to within striking distance of the NRL's top eight with seven rounds remaining.
A win would have pushed the Tigers into the top eight at the end of round 20 but an enthusiastic Dragons were far too good before 22,618 fans to keep their own finals hopes intact.
In the first half it was all the Dragons, five-eighth Gareth Widdop starring with two tries and three goals.
After the early softening-up period which saw Tigers prop Keith Galloway leave the field with a shoulder injury in the 19th minute and not return, Widdop scored a minute later.
The England pivot chased down a Brett Morris kick after the NSW winger busted the Tigers' line.
Gerard Beale crossed six minutes later when Morris skilfully tapped down a Widdop kick and the playmaker scored his double on the half hour when Mitch Rein broke out of dummy-half and toed inside.
In the 36th minute Adam Quinlan had a try disallowed for obstruction before Tim Simona was also curiously denied a four-pointer - also by the video referees - when they ruled he didn't get the ball down.
The Dragons took full advantage of that favourable call when Jason Nightingale produced a classic finish to score and St George Illawarra went to the sheds leading 22-0.
The Tigers admirably fought their way back into the contest after the break with Blake Austin dummying his way over seven minutes in, before Robbie Farah dummied his way over four minutes later to claw the score back to 22-12.
A Widdop penalty goal settled the Dragons and then the Dragons created space out wide for Morris to cross for the match-sealing try with just over 10 minutes to play.
In an interview with Channel Nine, Potter said he was keen to stay on amid suggestions it was a case of him or club boss Grant Mayer who would exit the club as a result of Sunday night's board meeting.
CEO Mayer said on Twitter he was only focused on the game.