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Brooks leads Tigers' big four to victory

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 23/04/2017 Scott Bailey

Luke Brooks put a month of Wests Tigers turmoil behind them on Sunday, setting up the match-winning try in an 18-12 NRL victory over Canterbury.

With scores locked and four minutes to play at ANZ Stadium, Brooks found space on the left edge before he grubbered for winger Kevin Naiqama to score thanks to a lucky deflection off Josh Jackson.

The only of the so-called big four to have re-signed for next year, Brooks starred in his return from a hamstring injury after being cleared on match eve.

"It will be good for his confidence," coach Ivan Cleary said.

"You could definitely see that the boys had a bit of a lift.

"He gives us a lot more options in the kicking game and in attack."

He wasn't alone, as each of the big names put a turbulent period behind them to claim only their third win of the season.

Against his likely future club, captain Aaron Woods was booed before kick-off but clocked up 172 metres in a monster effort.

He was given the Anzac Medal as man of the match, but was still jeered by Tigers fans.

"Fans pay their money, I guess they can do whatever they want," Cleary said

"I think he showed out there today where his focus is at the moment."

James Tedesco set up their other try for the re-signed David Nofoaluma and regularly looked threatening in attack.

Mitchell Moses also kicked four from four, and provided the pass to Brooks in the match-winning play just as he shaped for a second field-goal attempt.

Leading 10-6 at the break, the Tigers looked as if they had let the match slip until late in the game.

After Marcelo Montoya scored the Bulldogs' only first-half try, they levelled the scores at 10-10 early in the second when Kerrod Holland crossed to complete a 12-pass movement.

Canterbury had the lead in the 54th minute when Holland slotted over a penalty goal, and for a while it looked like they might hold on.

But the match swung when Chris Lawrence was denied a chance to chase down a Tedesco grubber in the 68th minute.

The Tigers were awarded a penalty and Moses levelled the scores on his boot, while Brenko Lee was sent to the sin-bin for the block.

"I thought the 10-minute on the sin binning was harsh - very harsh," Bulldogs coach Des Hasler said.

"The penalty was probably warranted, but not a sin bin."

It was on his edge that Brooks found the Bulldogs short for the match-winning try.

The Bulldogs could come under the microscope from the NRL over the use of the concussion protocol.

After Greg Eastwood's head collected the knee of Tedesco, the trainer appeared to signal for a concussion check.

But Eastwood remained in the defensive line and forced an error from Moses, before he eventually left the field and passed the test.

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