Hail Sezer! Veteran slots field goal to deliver fairytale Tigers win as Galvin announces himself NRL’s hottest talent


Aiden Sezer has delivered a famous Easter Monday victory to the Wests Tigers with a last-minute field goal to upset Parramatta 17-16 on an afternoon in which Lachlan Galvin announced himself as one of the hottes young talents in the NRL.

It was a tale of young and old as the veteran halfback slotted a late winner after the 18-year-old five-eighth had recovered from a second half sin bin to produce the game-breaking play for Benji Marshall’s team.

Even after the comeback, Parra could have nicked it with an after-the-siren penalty goal attempt from Clint Gutherson. The fullback, who did not deserve to be on the losing side, sent a long-range effort wide.

Parra will wonder how they ever ended up in this position in the first place. They had a mountain of possession late in the first half – 22 sets to 11 from the 10th minute until the break – but were repelled time and again by a committed Tigers goalline defence.

“We had plenty of ball, plenty of field position, but I felt like we chased a soft win,” said Brad Arthur.

“The last couple of weeks we’ve built our game around being tough and rolling the sleeves up, but we didn’t want to do that as much as they did today.

“We’ve tried to fluff our way to the tryline rather than run our way to the tryline. When we were running, we were alright.

“Possession helps and you can’t score or win without the ball and we had plenty of it, but we didn’t deserve to win.”

Shorn of Mitchell Moses in the halves, they lacked a little control in the halves with Dylan Brown moving to 7 and their own rookie, Blaize Talagi, to 6. Even so, the stand from Wests both in the first half and while Galvin was in the bin was nothing short of heroic.

Led, as ever, by Api Koroisau in the middle, they showed all the grit and determination that they have missed in recent year, while another older recruit, Justin Olam, scored twice and provided much needed energy to the team in defence.

The Marshall revolution is still in its early days, but with emerging talent like Galvin and Jahream Bula, who grabbed a crucial try backing up his five-eighth, the signs are more than promising.

“It’s the resilience our team showed,” said Marshall.

“To lose Lachy for ten minutes and be down 14-6, the fight they showed to be in it and not let them score for starters, and then when the kid came back on, the brilliance he produced with Jahream is what we play the game for.

“He’s a who wants to do his job and doesn’t want to let the team down, he’s so invested in what we do. I’ve talked about him a lot but we just love the way he plays and the way he is.

“To come back on after feeling down about himself and produce what he did just shows his character.”

Aidan Sezer celebrates with teammates after kicking his field goal. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Brad Arthur will be left scratching his head.

This is definitely two points lost for the Eels, not least given that they did all the things they usually set out to do, but failed to turn it into tries.

He’ll also sweat on the fitness of Kelma Tuilagi, felled by Galvin’s hip-drop tackle, and Maika Sivo, who was clearly hobbling at the end and barely made full time.


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Lachlan Galvin can be anything

If you’re playing in the NRL at the age of 18, you’re probably pretty good. If you’re dominating in the NRL at the age of 18, you might be very special indeed.

After three games in the NRL, it might be early to go all in on Galvin, but on the evidence of what we have seen, the hype is absolutely real.

Galvin wasn’t the best player on the field – when these sides are playing that’s always Koroisau and Gutherson, unless otherwise specified – but he was the key difference maker in helping his side turn their few moments of good ball into points.

(Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

For him to do it while also getting binned, to have the confidence to come back from such a setback with undaunted enthusiasm, shows the mentality that the kid has.

He suffered a huge blow, losing his feet and deservedly getting set down, but returned with interest.

His break for Bula’s try, cruising past his old high school Talagi in the process, was exceptional and his presence of mind to then deliver the offload and ice the moment was just as good.

Having talent is one thing. Being as big as he is – 190cm, 90+ kilos – is another. But throw in the mentality with that and you’re onto a winner.


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Parra’s attack needs a bit of work

Parra would have been very happy with the run of the game before the break: the first ten minutes aside, they totally dominated possession, offloaded at twice the rate of their opponents and played at the right end of the field.

The rule of thumb for a Brad Arthur side is that they need 52% of the ball to win, and had far, far more than that.

Yet the points didn’t come. Without Moses, the attack looked disjointed and the forward-first policy almost became forwards only as Joey Lussick continually hit crash lines from dummy half, rarely letting Brown and Taulagi put on any moves.

The defence was heroic from the Tigers, who did superbly to continually meet the big men and shut down second phase close to the line, but in truth, they weren’t asked enough questions.

Lachlan Galvin was sent to the sin bin for this dangerous tackle on Kelma Tuilagi.

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It took a piece of genius from Gutherson to open them up, but aside from that, Parra didn’t use enough of the pitch.

Perhaps this is the symptom of Moses’ absence. Brown, Talagi and Gutho are all run-first players who benefit from not being the main organiser, while the 9 is a largely a disher and the forwards, while they can ball play well, aren’t in the Isaah Yeo/Cam Murray mould.

The accumulation of pressure bit was near perfect, but the conversion into points didn’t materialise.

It’s a worry for Arthur. The logic has always been that if they keep that much possession, points will follow even if it takes 80 minutes, but that moment never came and, if anything, the defensive stand gave the Tigers hope.

This is week one with the new halves pairing and they will get better. The last tackle, the polish and the creativity do need to improve, however.

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