Fiji Bati hooker Apisai Koroisau landed a 76th minute penalty to help the Wests Tigers narrowly edge the Dolphins 24-23 in Round 25 of NRL on Saturday.
In doing so, the Tigers have also ended their 10-game losing streak in the competition this year.
Koroisau’s switch to the halves paid early dividends with the skipper placing a pinpoint kick in the air for Jack Bostock to spill and allow Fonua Pole to score early and Koroisau converted for a 6-0 lead in the 13th minute.
Four minutes later, the Dolphins responded with a converted try through Jamayne Isaako but young Fijian Fullback Jahream Bula’s rookie of the year credentials were on full display in the 23rd minute when he slid through a hole to send Asu Kepaoa over with an inside ball close to the line.
Koroisau slotted the conversion to make it full 12 points just before the Dolphins struck again through Euan Aitken but their conversion failed.
Tigers led 12-10 at half time.
The Dolphins came out strong in the second half with an early try to Jack Bostock however their conversion failed and Tigers regrouped to score their third try from Alex Seyfarth and Jake Simpkin while Koroisau converted once to make it 22-14.
Debutant Trai Fuller added the spark for the Dolphins with a try in the 62nd minute and Isaako converted this time before he added a penalty goal and kicked in a field goal which slightly appeared to give the Dolphins victory before Koroisau provided a short kick-off to get the ball back.
When Isaako and Tesi Niu were penalised for taking Junior Tupou into touch it was Koroisau who put his hand up to take the unlikeliest of penalty goals from out wide – a 40-metre effort from the 30-metre line on the left sideline.
His strike curved in before hitting the crossbar and bouncing over in a result that summed up the captain’s performance after he switched to the halves following the withdrawal of Luke Brooks due to a calf injury.