WESTS TIGERS 17 CRONULLA 16
Mobbed ... Tigers pile onto teammate Benji Marshall after he kicked the winning drop-goal in extra time. Photo: Getty Images
He missed from the sideline in regulation but Wests Tigers superstar Benji Marshall made no mistake in golden point to get his side out of jail with a 17-16 NRL win at Leichhardt Oval today.
Marshall snapped the match-winning field goal from 35 metres out three minutes into extra time after Sharks halfback Todd Carney had almost pulled off a stunning comeback just minutes earlier.
Tiger hug .... Sharks centre Ben Pomery is tackled by Matt Bell and Chris Lawrence of the Wests Tigers. Photo: Getty Images
With the scores locked at 16-16 after 80 minutes, Carney's extra time restart hit the crossbar and gave possession back to the Sharks, but his field goal on the next tackle was charged down, handing the Tigers a chance they did not waste.
Carney's brilliant second half performance had his side leading 16-12 with three minutes remaining, but Beau Ryan's second of the afternoon added some late drama.
Having butchered a try 12 minutes from time, Ryan made amends with a stunning chip and chase as he hugged the sideline in the 77th minute to lock it up, Marshall's sideline conversion fading across the face of goal.
Benji Marshall of the Tigers celebrates. Photo: Getty Images
The game wasn't even two minutes old when Marshall had his first impact, with his grubber for the sideline bouncing cruelly for the Sharks and into the arms of Ryan for a dream start for the home side.
There was more than a hint of forward pass as the Sharks replied via Isaac De Gois, but Marshall answered like only he can as he danced his way over from short range.
The Tigers were revelling in rarely seen Sydney sun, but while they toyed at times with the Cronulla defence, they had no more points to show for their endeavours.
Benji Marshall of the Tigers kicks the winning drop-goal in extra time. Photo: Getty Images
The mood darkened on the half hour when James Tedesco - with no-one near him - went down with a suspected season-ending ACL injury, halfback Tim Moltzen joining him in the sheds before the break with split webbing which required stitches.
Marshall produced a pearler of a cut-out pass to put Matt Utai over nine minutes after the restart, but the powerful winger couldn't keep his heel in the field of play with the Tigers denied by the video referee.
Carney then awoke from his slumber.
He delivered a cut-out pass to Colin Best who juggled before diving over, then the 2010 Dally M medal winner did it all himself with two big right foot steps to give the Sharks their first lead at 14-12 with just over 20 minutes remaining.
Best couldn't help himself as he was pinged for a double movement as he chased his double, the desperation and heat affecting players from both sides.
Marshall almost conjured up another magic trick with a deft grubber at the Sharks line which was fumbled by Nathan Gardner, but Ryan couldn't finish off the job as he fumbled the ball over the line.
But he more than made up for it with his late solo effort.
WESTS TIGERS 17 (B Ryan 2 B Marshall tries B Marshall 2 goals B Marshall field goal) bt CRONULLA 16 (C Best T Carney I De Gois tries T Carney 2 goals) in golden-point extra time at Leichhardt Oval. Referee: Jared Maxwell, Chris James. Crowd: 19,762.