On Sunday, Me and the old boy went to Leichardt oval to watch the Wests Tigers play the Canberra Raiders.
It was the Tigers first game of the season at their spiritual home of Leichardt and the fans marched on the famous oval. A near capacity crowd of 19,428 were on hand to cheer on the Balmain boys and they didn't disappoint producing a game full of of their typical flamboyant attack.
The raiders start could not have been worse when Joel Monaghan kicked the ball dead from the kickoff. The Tigers looked strong and Beau Ryan finished off a solid set when he ran over to score his first try. Benji Marshall converted from the grandstand sideline to have the tigers leading 6-0 after only 3 minutes.
Raiders winger, Joel Monaghan took a Campese bomb in the 23rd minute to dive over the line and Jarod Croker converted to level the scores. The first half would continue to be a tough battle in the 23 degree winter heat. Beau Ryan suffered a neck injury and Lote Tuqiri had a number of breaks and looked dangerous but couldn't capitalise before the half-time siren.
The Raiders came out in the 2nd half and pressured the tigers with Monaghan and Thompson almost crossing. They chose to take the two points after a Keith Galloway high shot gave them a penalty in front of the sticks. It would prove costly when the Tigers fans inspired their team to produce a bag full of attacking plays. The Raiders defence was strong up until the 75th minute when Marshall got the ball wide and went on a side-stepping run all the way to the right touchline where he passed back inside to Ryan who kicked through Croker's legs to score his 2nd try.
Ryan's try sent the Leichardt crowd wild, with the entire hill standing as one applauding the winger's efforts. The pumped black and orange army continued to inspire their men right until the end of the game when replacement Daniel Fitzhenry exploded from the back of scrum to run 58 metres and score under the posts. Marshall converted to make the final score 18-8 and cap off a great day of Sunday afternoon football.
Beau Ryan summed up the game by enthusing, "I think the fans got us home on this one."
What an awesome game of League at a traditional home of the sport. It was so good to see a full hill of fans, they were hanging out of trees and standing on top of the scoreboard trying to get a good vantage point. We headed home straight after but pulled into the Lapo Hotel for a feed and beer !
Adios Amigo, Max.