Indigenous Wests Tigers duo Daine Laurie and James Roberts have shone in their beloved round to inspire their club to a 34-18 win over the St George Illawarra Dragons.
Proud Bundjalung and Yaegl man Laurie again reminded the rugby league world of his supreme talent, scoring a try, setting up another, making a line-break and registering 196 metres.
Meanwhile, proud Bundjalung man Roberts marked his comeback from a four-week injury lay-off with a double, crossing for a try in both halves as he turned out for the Tigers on the right wing.
Roberts bagged the opening try of the Bankwest Stadium clash when he got on the end of a sweeping passage of passes in the 16th minute.
And the former NSW Blues enigma snared a second four-pointer when five-eighth Moses Mbye hit him with a one-man cut-out ball in the 62nd minute.
Roberts strikes first for Wests Tigers
Former Cronulla Sharks captain Paul Gallen said he thought the switch to a wing suited Roberts.
“Sometimes in the centres you do less than the wingers actually do, so it probably wasn’t a bad move putting him on a wing, getting him more involved and starting their sets of six,” Gallen said on Nine’s coverage.
“He obviously managed to score two tries, too, and he loves scoring tries.”
Roberts has long drawn adulation for his brilliance with the ball, but Fittler praised the running off the ball of the 28-year-old.
“I watched him from above – the amount of work. As a winger you’ve got to work pretty hard,” Fittler said.
“I watched him chase to get back on side and then once they got the ball he actually went over to (David) Nofoaluma’s side and then sprung back to the other side. He never got used, but seeing those sorts of efforts from Jimmy you know he’s going to come up with tries in another part of the game because he’s just thinking, ‘I’m going to get out there and go as hard as I can’.”
Laurie iced the most entertaining try of the night, ignited by a searching Luke Brooks run and deft short ball on the left edge 28 minutes into the contest.
Brooks put centre Tommy Talau through a gap and Talau linked with Laurie on his inside, who tore away for a try untouched.
Tigers speedster pops up for sparkling try
Laurie spoke of his pride for his Aboriginal culture after the match.
“It was awesome, it was unreal (to play in Indigenous Round),” Laurie said.
“Get to represent my family and my culture and to run out in the jersey means heaps.
“Seeing all 16 teams have the designs on their jerseys is awesome and it’s a really special week for us Indigenous fellas.”
Michael Maguire’s men took an 18-0 lead into half-time, and while the Dragons salvaged two second-half tries, through Brayden Wiliame and Ben Hunt, late resistance ensured the Tigers would wrap up victory.
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