'Season-defining' Storm win for Tigers - Benji
Benji Marshall called it season-defining and Robbie Farah rated it Wests Tigers' most complete NRL performance in recent times after they upset defending premiers Melbourne 22-4 at a rain-sodden Leichhardt Oval.
Young wingers Tim Simona and David Nofoaluma were outstanding in the treacherous conditions on Saturday night and were instrumental in three of the Tigers' four tries, with the former producing two game-changing long-distance runs.
They were also galvanised by the efforts of NSW Origin forwards Farah and Aaron Woods.
Prop Woods ran for 181 metres while hooker Farah pulled off 52 tackles.
It was a fourth win in their past five starts for the Tigers, who produced their best defensive display of the season as they kept the opposition to single figures for the first time this year.
"It was a season-defining win in terms of trying to make the top eight," said Marshall, who capped of a memorable Tigers' performance with their final try in the last minute.
Farah added: "It was probably the most complete 80-minute performance we've put in in a long time."
The Tigers moved to within a win of eighth spot, but Farah wasn't talking up their finals prospects.
"We're heading in the right direction, but the fact of the matter is those seven losses in a row mean that we need to win footy games," Farah said.
"We're not in the eight, our for and against is terrible... we've just got to keep winning.
The result meant Melbourne suffered successive losses and could drop to third if the Sydney Roosters beat Manly on Monday.
Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy said the Storm looked like a team thrown together for the game.
"We tried reasonably hard but we just didn't have that cohesion there tonight," Bellamy said.
Halfback Cooper Cronk, who captained the side in the absence of the injured Cameron Smith, said the Storm didn't play smart.
"It was very unlike Melbourne Storm, we normally go out there and grind out a performance and work together and commit to the full 80 minutes and it wasn't that tonight," Cronk said.
Maurice Blair scored a try in one of Melbourne's first forays into Tigers' territory, but the home team piled on 22 unanswered points.
On the half hour, Simona ran 80 metres to score after swooping on the ball when winger Sisa Waqa dropped a pass from fullback Billy Slater.
Seven minutes later, Simona set up one of the tries of the NRL season.
Collecting a Slater kick in his own in-goal area, Simona charged 60 metres into Storm territory and linked with Farah and Marshall to set up centre Blake Ayshford for a top-drawer four-pointer.
Veteran Storm prop Jason Ryles left the field within the first 40 seconds of the second half with a medial ligament knee injury.