Jackson Hastings the hero as Tigers stun Eels with last-ditch drop goal in NRL

Tigers players celebrate on fulltime after Jackson Hastings kicked a drop goal to win the game at the death. Picture: STUFF SPORTS.

Jackson Hastings was the hero for the Wests Tigers against Parramatta, kicking a match-winning field goal in the final seconds to snatch a 21-20 win.

Hastings was part of a new-look spine fielded by besieged coach Michael Maguire and had a hand in everything the Tigers did right, on his return from suspension.

With the game locked up at 20-20 with less than 30 seconds to go, the Great Britain international banged a field goal over from 40 metres out to claim an upset win for the Tigers in front 28,336 fans at Commbank Stadium.

Hastings was deployed as the halfback and Luke Brooks was shifted to five-eighth in a move which yielded positive results.

Rather than it simply being a cosmetic change, Brooks played with greater freedom and set up two tries before shifting to hooker when Jake Simpkin was injured late in the clash.

The victory was the Tigers’ first this season and first over the Eels since 2018 , with Maguire’s men having to withstand early a relentless onslaught from Parramatta.

As soon as they went up the other end the Tigers cracked the Eels with Brooks sending a bullocking Luciano Leilua over in the 10th minute.

Mitchell Moses snapped Parramatta back into contention when his grubber in-goal was touched down by Clint Gutherson a few minutes later.

Under usual circumstances the Tigers might’ve wilted but they backed up their fast start with a quick-fire double for winger David Nofoaluma.

The first came off the back of a jinking Starford To’a break with Brooks sending a three-man cut-out pass to the winger who crossed under heavy pressure from the Eels defence.

The second came with Hastings lofting a deft chip into the in-goal with Nofoaluma beating William Penisini to the ball and touching down.

The Tigers’ blemishes were Brooks’ goalkicking (one from three ) and their continued attempts to slow the Eels’ quick ruck.

Parramatta cut the deficit to 14-10 at halftime with Isaiah Papali’i crashing over from close range.

Both sides began the second half in a tight tussle, but the Eels undid their hard work when in the space of five minutes they were pushed off their own scrum feed and Reed Mahoney hoofed a 40/20 attempt out on the full.

Off the ensuing set Ken Maumalo touched down in the corner to push the Tigers ahead, but their lead was cut when Mahoney backed up a crafty Dylan Brown run.

The Tigers held a 20-16 lead with 20 minutes to go but suffered the losses of Simpkin and Maumalo to ankle and calf injuries respectively.

The Eels lost Reagan Campbell-Gillard and Tom Opacic but levelled the scores through a Marata Niukore try.

Moses was unable to convert to leave the game tied up with 10 minutes left on the clock.

Eels No.7 Moses missed one shot at a field goal with Hastings going down the other end to seal victory.

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