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Tigers end 1464-day Campbelltown drought as teens star

The Wests Tigers next generation have turned it on to claim their first win at Campbelltown Stadium in 1464 days, shocking Canberra 48-24 to climb off the bottom of the NRL ladder.

Long-heralded as a glimmer of hope for long-suffering Tigers fans, the club's band of teenagers starred on Sunday in the joint-venture's fourth win of the year.

Campbelltown junior Lachlan Galvin bagged the first two tries of his NRL career, while fellow 18-year-old Luke Laulilii, a Macarthur junior, scored on debut.

Called in on match day for an ill Charlie Staines, Laulilii became the 10th Tiger to debut this season and the sixth from Wests Magpies' 2022 U17s premiership.

Tigers club bosses are poised to announce their future stadia strategy this week, and whether they will retain five home games at both Campbelltown and Leichhardt next year.

But with those machinations still being discussed, the Tigers' youngest south-west cubs made the case for why the Tigers need to invest in the region.

Celebrating Wests Tigers players.
The Tigers scored eight tries in the upset win over the Raiders. (Mark Evans/AAP PHOTOS)

Galvin had one of his best days in Tigers colours, beating three defenders to score their first after Brent Naden intercepted an Ethan Strange pass on the previous play.

He scored another in the second half after an Adam Doueihi break, as the Tigers at one stage led 42-8.

Laulilii also showed plenty of confidence, after only becoming eligible to play NRL when he turned 18 last week.

Long regarded as one of the Tigers' most talented juniors, he picked up a ball out of dummy-half, caught Canberra on the back foot and scored with one of his first touches.

Laulilii
Barely 18, Luke Laulilii (r) scored a try on debut. (Mark Evans/AAP PHOTOS)

"You don't throw kids in if you don't think they're ready," coach Benji Marshall said.

"Luke showed signs in the start of pre-season he was ready, he just wasn't 18 yet.

"We are going places in the future, but we still want to win now. Just because we had nine losses in a row, we still want to win now. And we still can win now.

"We've obviously made a point (this region) is important. It's obvious we have made a concerted effort out here."

Api Koroisau was also in everything, by far the oldest member of a team whose average age sits at 23.

Overlooked by NSW for State of Origin, the hooker produced the play of the match when he scooped up a loose ball and flicked it back for Jahream Bula to score.

It was one of three tries he set up, while also scoring one himself.

Still the feel-good story of the day was Doueihi in his return game from a third ACL rupture, shedding a tear as he ended his 441-day wait to play with an 80-metre try late.

The win was the Tigers' first in Campbelltown since June 2020, ending a run of 10 straight losses at the venue.

It also left Parramatta last on the ladder, with the Tigers kicking clear on for-and-against.

For the Raiders, this could well prove a costly loss after also being soundly beaten by North Queensland at home last weekend.

They were particularly poor with ball in hand, made 16 errors and five-eighth Ethan Strange had an afternoon to forget with two intercepts.

Three Raiders tries came late while the Tigers had Alex Seyfarth in the bin, but in reality Ricky Stuart's men were never in the contest.

"Don't get too excited about the fact we scored tries when the game was over," a despondent Stuart said after.

"They took their foot off and had 12 men."

The defeat leaves the Raiders 10th on the ladder, bottom of a logjam of five teams on 18 points and desperately needing a turnaround against Melbourne on Saturday.