2005 Wests Tigers season

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The 2005 Wests Tigers season was the 6th in the joint-venture club's history. They competed in the NRL's 2005 Telstra Premiership, captained by Mark O'Neill and Scott Prince and coached by Tim Sheens. The Tigers finished the regular season in 4th position before reaching the 2005 NRL grand final, their first. After a Clive Churchill Medal-winning performance by Prince, Wests won and claimed their maiden premiership.

Minor Premiership

The Tigers started the season at long odds for the 2005 premiership. The team had never qualified for a final series and had a relatively inexperienced squad. The season kicked off with a home game against Parramatta. The game turned when fullback Brett Hodgson had to leave the field with an eye injury. Two late tries allowed the Eels to wrap up the game. For Round 2 the team had a bye. In round 3 against defending premiers, the Bulldogs, the Tigers trailed 0–12 and 6–18 before scoring thirty unanswered points to lead 36–18 with 10 minutes remaining. The Bulldogs, inspired by Braith Anasta, fought back to tie the game 36–36. With extra time seeming inevitable, a Dogs' error gave the Tigers possession and, with seconds remaining, a Scott Prince field goal gave the side its first win. In Round 4 the Tigers beat the other 2004 grand finalists with a hard fought 26–16 win. A win followed against New Zealand in the rain in Christchurch (a Tigers home game).

In rounds 6–9 the team lost four games in a row despite often being competitive. The losing streak ended against the winless Newcastle Knights. During rounds 11–15 the Tigers remained in the bottom half of the table mixing promising wins with heavy defeats. They then shocked the league by going on a club record eight game winning streak. With victory against the Cowboys they guaranteed their first ever finals appearance. The winning streak included a club record 54–2 win over defending premiers, the Bulldogs. Despite losses in the final two games the Tigers finished in the top four and earned a home semi-final.

Season results

Players used

No. Position Player
Australia PR Ray Cashmere
Australia CE Dean Collis
Australia CE Shane Elford
Australia HK Robbie Farah
Australia WG Daniel Fitzhenry
Australia LK Liam Fulton
Australia PR Bryce Gibbs
Australia LK Ben Galea
New Zealand SR Dene Halatau
New Zealand SR Bronson Harrison
England LK Chris Heighington
Australia FB Brett Hodgson
Australia PR Matt Jobson
No. Position Player
Australia PR Anthony Laffranchi
New Zealand FE Benji Marshall
Australia FB Shannon McDonnell
Australia WG Robert Miles
Australia SR Mark O'Neill (captain)
Australia PR Todd Payten
Australia HB Scott Prince (captain)
Australia WG Matthew Rieck
Australia HB Ben Reynolds
Republic of Ireland WG Pat Richards
Australia PR John Skandalis
New Zealand CE Paul Whatuira
Australia SR John Wilson


Team Pld W D L B PF PA PD Pts
1 Parramatta colours.svg Parramatta 24 16 0 8 2 704 456 +248 36
2 St. George colours.svg St George Illawarra 24 16 0 8 2 655 510 +145 36
3 Brisbane colours.svg Brisbane 24 15 0 9 2 597 484 +113 34
4 Wests Tigers colours.svg Wests Tigers 24 14 0 10 2 676 575 +101 32
5 North Queensland colours.svg North Queensland 24 14 0 10 2 639 563 +76 32
6 Melbourne colours.svg Melbourne 24 13 0 11 2 640 462 +178 30
7 Cronulla colours.svg Cronulla 24 12 0 12 2 550 564 -14 28
8 Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly 24 12 0 12 2 554 632 -78 28
9 Eastern Suburbs colours.svg Sydney 24 11 0 13 2 488 487 +1 26
10 Penrith colours.svg Penrith 24 11 0 13 2 554 554 0 26
11 New Zealand colours.svg New Zealand 24 10 0 14 2 515 528 -13 24
12 Canterbury colours.svg Bulldogs 24 9 1 14 2 472 670 -198 23
13 South Sydney colours.svg South Sydney 24 9 1 14 2 482 700 -218 23
14 Canberra colours.svg Canberra 24 9 0 15 2 465 606 -141 22
15 Newcastle colours.svg Newcastle 24 8 0 16 2 467 667 -200 20

Finals Series

The Tigers played their first ever semi-final against fifth placed North Queensland Cowboys, a team who had played in the 2004 final series. After a tight opening, the Tigers ran riot to score a 50–6 win. Both teams qualified for week two with the Tigers meeting six time premiers the Brisbane Broncos in a knock-out game. The Broncos dominated early possession with Benji Marshall preventing a Darren Smith try before scoring a long range intercept try against the run of the play. Towards the end of the game the Tigers kicked clear to win comfortably. The win saw the Tigers meet the Dragons in a Grand Final qualifier. In the lead up to the game there was controversy over the venue with calls for the game to be moved from Aussie Stadium to the much larger Telstra Stadium. As the Dragons had qualified for this game after week one their fans had an extra week to buy tickets to the game. As a result, the majority of the capacity crowd were Dragons fans. An early Marshall try gave the Tigers a lead they never gave up. The 20-12 win meant the Tigers qualified for the Grand Final.

Wests Tigers 2005 Finals Series Results[2]
Round Opponent Result Date Venue Crowd Referee
Qualifying Final  North Queensland Cowboys Win 9 September 2005 Telstra Stadium (H) 26,463 Paul Simpkins
 50 - Wests Tigers (Tries: Hodgson 3, Richards, Fulton, Whatuira, Fitzhenry, Elford; Goals: Hodgson 9)

 6 - Cowboys (Tries: Sing; Goals: Hannay)

Semi-Final  Brisbane Broncos Win 18 September 2005 Sydney Football Stadium 36,563 Tim Mander
 34 - Wests Tigers (Tries: Fitzhenry 2, O'Neill, Prince, Marshall, Hodgson; Goals: Hodgson 5)

 6 - Broncos (Tries: Lockyer; Goals: Seymour)

Preliminary Final  St. George Illawarra Dragons Win 24 September 2005 Sydney Football Stadium 41,260 Tim Mander
 20 - Wests Tigers (Tries: Halatau 2, Heighington, Marshall; Goals: Hodgson 2)

 12 - Dragons (Tries: Barrett, Naiqama; Goals: Ennis 2)

Grand Final  North Queensland Cowboys Win 2 October 2005 Telstra Stadium 82,453 Tim Mander
 30 - Wests Tigers (Tries: Payten, Fitzhenry, Laffranchi, Richards, Gibbs; Goals: Hodgson 5)

 16 - Cowboys (Tries: Sing, Norton, M Bowen; Goals: Hannay 2)

2005 Grand Final

Both the Cowboys and the Wests Tigers were playing in their first ever grand final. The Cowboys scored early and led 6–0. A Cowboys error allowed Bryce Gibbs to score a try to level the game. In a game defining moment, Benji Marshall returned a kick beating several defenders before a flick pass to Pat Richards. Richards, who needed an injection to overcome a leg injury, pushed away from Rod Jensen to score, the Tigers leading 12–6 at the break. After half time Anthony Laffranchi crashed over the try-line for an 18–6 lead before the Cowboys hit back. A Daniel Fitzhenry try gave the Tigers a 24–12 lead. With two minutes to go the Cowboys crossed the try-line wide but the conversion attempt missed, leaving the score at 24–16. A try on full-time to Todd Payten saw a final scoreline of 30–16.


  1. ^ "Rugby League Tables". Archived from the original on 21 August 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-16.
  2. ^ "Rugby League Tables". Archived from the original on 21 August 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-18.
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