Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
Photo by AAP - Scott Radford-Chisholm
In round 18 the Wests Tigers lost a close game to an under-strength first-place Penrith Panthers side who were missing their State of Origin stars.
The result meant that the Tigers would remain at the bottom of the ladder behind the Gold Coast Titans on for and against which meant that they maintained the title of wooden spoon favourites.
Unfortunately for Brett Kimmorley’s side not much has changed since.
On Sunday the Tigers travelled to North Queensland to take on top four side the Cowboys and thought they had won the game before the home side was awarded a controversial penalty after the full-time siren had sounded.
Valentine Holmes then kicked a penalty goal and the Cowboys won 27-26.
Earlier in the day the Titans lost a high-scoring game to the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs 36-26.
These results keep the Tigers in last place yet again and mean that they will remain wooden spoon favourites for the week.
However, the gap between the two sides on for and against has closed with the Tigers now just 13 points behind the Titans on points difference.
Captain James Tamou was playing in his 300th NRL game and spoke about how proud he was of his team in the post-match press conference following the loss to the Cowboys.
“The boys had their heads down and as frustrating as it was, I would love to get the win, but they had their heads down and I said: ‘Lift your heads high boys, I couldn’t have asked for any more’,” said Tamou.
“They really stood up. Like ‘BG’ said, we tested one of the top sides of the game and it seems to be a trend here each week the last month. We’re going in the right direction.”
Both the Tigers and Titans will be playing on Saturday with the Titans kicking off the afternoon against the Canberra Raiders who are still in the hunt for a spot in the top eight while the Tigers face a top four side for the third time in as many weeks when they host the Brisbane Broncos.
A win for the Tigers will be hard to come by so they will likely focus on conceding fewer points and hope that the Raiders put on a big scoreline against the Titans.