Tigers get video ref help, end NRL losing streak
A 78th-minute David Nofoaluma try sealed a controversial 22-20 NRL win for the Wests Tigers over North Queensland on Friday night and ended a seven-game losing streak.
In atrocious conditions at Leichhardt Oval, the Cowboys were below their best against a brave Tigers outfit but were desperately unlucky not to leave with the competition points.
The home side showed far more fight than last round's 54-10 thrashing to South Sydney and lifted themselves off the bottom of the NRL ladder with their third win of the season.
Cowboys skipper Johnathan Thurston looked to have orchestrated a stunning comeback win before a Brent Tate error with three minutes to go gave the Tigers one last opportunity.
Nofoaluma's outstanding finish just inside the corner-post was confirmed by the video referee in one of several decisions which didn't go the Cowboys way.
The Cowboys had every right to feel aggrieved by the video referees, having had four crucial decisions go against them in the 80 minutes.
In the first half, Benji Marshall scored on a questionable grubber while Ash Graham was denied - with the video referees disagreeing with their on-field counterparts on both occasions.
After the break, Kane Linnett was denied a try double when a knock-on was found by the video referee and Graham was denied by a simultaneous grounding.
Graham looked to have got over the top of Tigers winger Marika Koroibete, who was struggling with a foot injury, but couldn't get the green light to flash.
Playing the conditions perfectly, the Tigers scored two tries from Robbie Farah grubber kicks, to Marshall and Jack Buchanan.
Their third was a brilliant 65-metre effort finished off by Koroibete, but it was Nofoaluma who got them home.
Rushed back into the Tigers' starting line-up to help halt their horror losing streak, Marshall was involved in the opening two tries of the game.
After just five minutes he had a downfield kick charged down by Cowboy Scott Bolton, who then led the chase and then brilliantly soccered the ball into the path of Tariq Sims who scored the first of two tries.
Thurston's sideline conversion with 20 minutes to go put the Cowboys in front and looked to have secured them the victory, but ultimately Marshall's superior goalkicking got the Tigers home.
Tigers forward Liam Fulton left the game in the first half with a hamstring injury, while Cowboy Gavin Cooper finished with a knee injury.
Koroibete, who was twice penalised for shoulder charges, also finished the game on the bench with a foot injury.
Wests Tigers 22 (J Buchanan M Koroibete B Marshall D Nofoaluma tries B Marshall 3 goals) North Queensland Cowboys 20 (T Sims 2 K Linnett A Winterstein tries J Thurston 2 goals) at Leichhardt Oval. Referee: Gavin Morris, Jason Robinson. Crowd: 7,125