Kevin Naiqama celebrates a try for Wests Tigers against the Parramatta Eels.
Kevin Naiqama celebrates a try for Wests Tigers against the Parramatta Eels.

Benji brilliance helps Tigers turn on style

IVAN Cleary's giant killing Wests Tigers have continued Parramatta's disastrous start to the season with a 30-20 win in Monday's clash at ANZ Stadium.

With a Easter Monday crowd of 30,420 on hand, Benji Marshall produced another masterclass in the five-tries-to-four victory that leaves the Eels still winless and last on the NRL ladder.

After starting the season as one of the favourites to take out the wooden spoon, the Tigers have now scored three victories against top four teams from last year with their only loss coming in that controversial golden point defeat to Brisbane.

Having beaten Melbourne back in round two, the Tigers now take on the reigning premiers again on Saturday while the Eels have to back up against inform Penrith on Sunday.

As outstanding as their defence was during the first three rounds, today the Tigers' attack was equally impressive for most of the game with old Benji in everything while Luke Brooks also had a terrific game.

In comparison, the Eels lost the match in the opening 40 minutes and while they staged a late fightback it all came too late.

It's hard to believe this is the same team that finished last year in the top four and started this season as one of the competition's genuine premiership favourites.

The problem for Brad Arthur now is that history shows it's going to be virtually impossible for the Eels to make the top four after losing their opening four games.

Parramatta actually opened the scoring with a 5th minute try to Will Smith off a clever Mitchell Moses kick.

But from that point Cleary's men took charge, charging 20-6 clear on the back of three first half tries to one.

Tui Lolohea nailed all four of his conversions before the break, including three from the sideline before the break.

But Marshall was the general, instrumental in the Tigers' first two tries to Robbie Rochow and Kevin Naiqama while his general organisation and kicking game was equally outstanding.

The Eels were forced to make 55 more first half tackles with the Tigers dominating a 64-36 per cent split of possession and completing 19 of their 21 sets.

The Tigers continued the onslaught after the break.

Matt Eisenhuth scored a soft try through Parramatta's left edge while Marshall again played a part in the next try that handed Corey Thompson his second of the match.

The Eels finally got over for their second try in the 63rd minute and two more to Josh Hoffman and Kirisome Auva'a pulled the margin back to 10 points.

But desperate Tigers defence managed to hold them out late to secure another valuable win.


WESTS TIGERS 30 (C Thompson 2 M Eisenhuth K Naiqama R Rochow tries T Lolohea 5 goals) bt PARRAMATTA 20 (K Auva'a J Hoffman G Jennings W Smith tries M Moses 2 goals) at ANZ Stadium. Referee: Gerard Sutton, Gavin Reynolds. Crowd: 30,420