Sezer’s match-winner ices Tigers’ upset of Eels

Jasper Bruce |

Aiden Sezer sparked wild scenes with a late field goal to seal Wests Tigers’ win over Parramatta.
Aiden Sezer sparked wild scenes with a late field goal to seal Wests Tigers’ win over Parramatta.

Aidan Sezer has iced a field goal to seal Wests Tigers’ dramatic 17-16 upset of Parramatta on Easter Monday and confirm good signs to start Benji Marshall’s coaching tenure.

The Tigers were made to endure some Clint Gutherson brilliance, an onslaught of Eels attack in the first half and an unfortunate sin-binning of their most important player on the day, Lachie Galvin.

But a Morgan Harper knock-on in the final three minutes put Wests in position for a game-winning shot after they had trailed 14-6 midway through the second half.

Veteran halfback Sezer made no mistake with a flat drop goal that flew over the black dot.

But the Eels had a chance for a game-winning shot of their own when the Tigers were called off-side from the ensuing restart.

Gutherson pulled his penalty goal attempt left of the upright in the final minute and the Tigers held on for their first back-to-back wins since last May.

Justin Olam
Justin Olam of the Tigers scores a try during the NRL match against the Parramatta Eels. (Mark Evans/AAP PHOTOS)

All 28,608 pairs of eyes at CommBank Stadium were on the battle of young halves, with Galvin pitted against former high school classmate and Mitch Moses’ injury replacement Blaize Talagi.

Galvin drew first blood, threading a grubber kick through the line that allowed Justin Olam to crash over for his first of two tries, and third in two games at his new club.

The 18-year-old Galvin saved his best trick for last, giving the Tigers a 16-14 lead when he burst through Talagi on the left edge and offloaded to a flying Jahream Bula, who scored under the posts.

Clint Gutherson had been the Eels’ most important player, showing his class early by hooking a basketball-style pass over to Maika Sivo which allowed the winger to score in his first game back from a three-match suspension.

It was to be the Eels’ only try of a gritty first half, with the Tigers repelling their hosts on the goal-line in six consecutive sets just before half-time.

Lachie Galvin.
Lachie Galvin was busy all day and instrumental in the Tigers’ upset win. (Mark Evans/AAP PHOTOS)

Gutherson ran in support to help turn J’Maine Hopgood’s turn of speed into Parramatta’s first lead of the day just after the break.

The Eels appeared primed to go on with things after Galvin went to the sin bin for a hip-drop tackle on Kelma Tuilagi, which was only pulled up during a captain’s challenge for an unrelated error.

Gutherson gave them a chance with a penalty goal in the final six minutes that tied the scores, but veteran halfback Sezer slotted his 11th career field goal to confirm a famous victory.