NRL: Wests Tigers break drought with monumental upset over defending premiers Penrith Panthers

Last-placed Wests Tigers have pulled off the biggest upset of the NRL season so far, beating reigning back-to-back champions Penrith Panthers 12-8 at Bathurst.

The win snaps a 12-game losing streak that stretches back 273 days, registering their first victory of the season under their new coaching staff, which includes Kiwis great Benji Marshall.

Half Luke Brooks was at the forefront of the Tigers triumph, leading last year's woodenspooners with a try assist, four tackle breaks and two 40-20s in driving rain on the Panthers' home turf at Carrington Park.

Brooks set up the opening try of the match, with a grubber for Brandon Wakeham, before Tyrone Peachey responded just two minutes later for the hosts.

Panthers star Nathan Cleary rues a mistake a the tryline.
Panthers star Nathan Cleary rues a mistake a the tryline. Photo credit: Getty Images

The Tigers emerged unscathed from the sinbinning of Brent Naden for a shoulder charge, with the teams trading penalties to go into halftime locked at 8-8.

Brooks' early 40-20 in the second half helped build pressure on the Panthers line and the champions immediately broke, with David Nofoaluma latching in to Jahream Bula's pinpoint overhead pass to dot down.

Those would be the final points of the match. The Tigers defence held up in the face of a Panthers onslaught - highlighted by Auckland-born Bula's superb tackle to force a Nathan Cleary fumble at the line - to cling to their narrow advantage and complete a memorable win.

"It wasn't just a win, it's a really good win and I didn't think we did anything to not deserve it," said Tigers head coach Tim Sheens. 

"There was no luck, we worked really, really hard. Playing a Cleary-led Penrith side and beating them today is a great effort from the team. 

"I am really pleased for everyone, the coaching staff - Benji, David and Robbie."

The defeat drops the Panthers to fifth on the NRL ladder. They'll move on to face NZ Warriors in the Magic Round at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium next Saturday.

"Credit to the opposition, they played better, so they deserved to win," said Panthers coach Ivan Cleary. "We didn't play real smart tonight and just came up with bad football too often.

"It is very disappointing, we definitely feel like we added to the loss ourselves tonight."

In other NRL action, Canberra Raiders edged Redcliffe Dolphins 31-30 in golden point and Gold Coast Titans stunned Manly Sea Eagles 26-10.

Wests Tigers 12 (Wakeham, Noafaluma tries, Wakeham conversion & penalty) Penrith Panthers 8 (Peachey try, Crichton conversion & penalty)

Join Newshub at 4pm Sunday for live updates of the Warriors v Sydney Roosters NRL clash