The Wests Tigers kept their slight finals hopes alive with a nail-biting win at Campbelltown Stadium on Thursday night.
The Tigers held off a late charge from the Manly Sea Eagles to seal a 22-20 victory in their round 24 NRL clash.
Manly halfback Daly Cherry-Evans had a chance to level scores on the final siren, but his long-range penalty conversion fell short.
Tigers coach Ivan Cleary told Fairfax Media he was pleased his team remained in the hunt for finals.
“It’s great that we’re still alive at this point,” he said.
“We’ve shown that we can beat the best teams. We have to play a fair bit better though.
“For now, we’ll sit back and see what happens… you’ve just got to keep your fingers crossed.”
It was the Tigers’ last home game for 2018 and the match was played in front of a modest crowd of about 8000 spectators.
Tigers winger Kevin Naiqama scored a double while his teammates Russell Packer, Robbie Farah, Alex Twal and David Nofoaluma were among the standout performers.
The Sea Eagles hit the scoreboard first on Thursday night through a converted try by Cherry-Evans.
Naiqama hit back in the 32nd minute and Esan Masters’ conversion leveled the scores at 6-all.
Cherry-Evans nailed a penalty conversion in the 40th minute to help Manly lead 8-6 at half time.
The Tigers came out firing after the break and jumped to an 18-8 advantage thanks to tries by captain Chris Lawrence and Moses Mbye, both converted by Masters.
Naiqama then scored his second try in the 52nd minute and the home side took a 22-8 lead.
However, the Sea Eagles hit their straps in the final 20 minutes of the game.
A converted try by Trent Hodkinson pegged the deficit back to 22-14 with about 15 minutes remaining.
Good work by teammates then led to Cherry-Evans scoring in the 74 minute to bring the deficit back to 22-20 and that’s how the score remained.
The result means the Tigers sit in ninth spot on the NRL ladder with 26 competition points, two behind the Brisbane Broncos and New Zealand Warriors.
The Broncos and Warriors still have two games remaining this season while the Tigers have one match left against South Sydney Rabbitohs.
The Tigers will need to win that game and rely on the Broncos and Warriors to lose both matches to remain in contention for the NRL finals.