Marshall steers Tigers to victory over Raiders
Acting Wests Tigers captain Benji Marshall delivered a couple of big plays as his eventful week ended with a 17-12 NRL win over travel-sick Canberra at Campbelltown Stadium.
Marshall kicked a match-tying sideline conversion and edged the Tigers ahead 13-12 with a 73rd minute field goal on Saturday night.
Winger Tim Simona sealed the Tigers' win two minutes later when he twisted his body and planted the ball over the line for a try.
The Tigers scored three tries to two in a mistake-marred game, which was played in heavy rain in the second half.
It was a seventh loss in eight away games for Canberra this season and thwarted their bid to win three straight for the first time this year.
Over the past week Marshall had come under criticism for missing several tackles in the Tigers' last game, while the latter part of his week was dominated by more headlines about his ongoing contractual negotiations.
Canberra led 6-4 at halftime.
The Tigers were first to strike, with winger David Nofoaluma crossing in the 13th minute after some slick passing.
Elusive fullback Reece Robinson set up both Canberra tries.
He combined with Josh McCrone and Jack Wighton to send Sandor Earl over in the first half.
There was a tinge of controversy about the try Robinson set up for Anthony Milford in the 58th minute.
Tigers centre Blake Ayshford appeared to have grounded Robinson in a legitimate tackle, but the Raiders fullback quickly bounced back up and continued his run.
Marshall and halfback Curtis Sironen set up Joel Reddy for the Tigers' second try.
Marshall landed a tough sideline conversion to again level the score.
Hit by a crippling injury list, the Tigers lost hooker Masada Iosefa in the 33rd minute with a broken forearm.
Tigers centre Chris Lawrence came off the bench and returned to action after being sidelined with a hamstring injury since round seven, but was placed on report for a shoulder charge.
Joel Thompson was also put on report for a shoulder charge on Marshall in the last few minutes.
That was tame compared to the end of the Holden Cup match, which featured an old fashioned all-in brawl.
Mitchell Barnett (Raiders) and Nathan Brown (Tigers) were sent off, Kyle Lovett (Tigers) and Tahakilu Pangai (Raiders) were sin-binned and Brenden Santi (Tigers) was placed on report.
Marshall said he was happy to end a difficult week on a high.
"I just wanted to do my job today and that was to lead by example and control the game," Marshall said.
"I thought last week I let the control get away from me in the game, so I just wanted to get that back."
Tigers coach Mick Potter described Marshall's effort as "a great captain's knock".
"I said to him after the game that he really led by example," Potter said.
"He's been trying, it's not lack of trying, and I think it just came together tonight."
Potter said he thought the report on Lawrence was the wrong call and suggested he felt the same way about the Milford try.
Canberra coach David Furner lamented opportunities missed by his side, especially in the first half when Brett White and David Shillington both lost the ball trying to get over the Tigers line.
"What we've been very good at is just being patient and I didn't think we were," Furner said.
"A couple of times there forcing offloads, not getting to the areas where we needed to.
"The more the game went on, the more we gave them an opportunity to win it."
Wests Tigers 17 (D Nofoaluma J Reddy T Simona tries B Marshall 2 goals B Marshall field goal) Canberra Raiders 12 (S Earl A Milford tries J Croker 2 goals) at Campbelltown Sports Stadium. Referee: Alan Shortall, Adam Devcich. Crowd: 7833