Api Koroisau makes mockery of State of Origin snub in NRL masterclass for Wests Tigers

The veteran hooker had a hand in everything as the Tigers broke a 1464-day drought.

Api Koroisau produced an absolute masterclass as the Wests Tigers shocked the Canberra Raiders on Sunday, with many in the NRL world questioning how he was overlooked for State of Origin selection. The Tigers captain scored a try and provided two assists as they stunned the Raiders 48-24 at Campbelltown.

It marked the Tigers' first win at Campbelltown Stadium in 1464 days, and Koroisau had a hand in everything as well as making 41 tackles. Overlooked by NSW for State of Origin this year, the veteran hooker produced the play of the match when he scooped up a loose ball and flicked it back for Jahream Bula to race away and score.

Api Koroisau in action for the Wests Tigers against the Canberra Raiders.
Api Koroisau had a hand in everything as the Wests Tigers stunned the Canberra Raiders. Image: Getty/Channel 9

He then capitalised on another Jordan Rapana blunder, producing a spectacular acrobatic effort to grab the ball and score after a Lachie Galvin kick. Koroisau also kicked eight goals from eight attempts in a superb display that helped the Tigers get off the bottom of the NRL ladder.

Koroisau played the first game of last year's Origin series for NSW, but has since been leapfrogged by Reece Robson. His form in 2024 had many calling for him to be picked by Michael Maguire for Game 1 this year, and his snub didn't go down particularly well with Wests Tigers fans.

Api Koroisau.
Api Koroisau scored a try and had two assists for the Tigers against Canberra. Image: Getty

After his virtuoso performance on Sunday, plenty of fans were once again questioning why he isn't in the NSW team for Game 2 in Melbourne. "I still have absolutely no clue as to why we are handing the Maroons a W by leaving Api off our side," one person wrote. "Classic NSW overthinking things."

Robson has also been in good form in 2024 and performed well in Origin 1 when NSW were reduced to 12 men after just seven minutes. His defence is rock solid and better than Koroisau's, but he doesn't provide as much creativity in attack.

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Koroisau is by far the oldest member of a Wests Tigers team whose average age sits at 23. Sunday marked the best game for a number of youngsters who are continuing to develop for Benji Marshall's side.

Galvin bagged the first two tries of his NRL career, while fellow 18-year-old Luke Laulilii scored on debut. Laulilii was called into the first grade team on gameday for an ill Charlie Staines, and became the 10th Tiger to debut this season and the sixth from the Wests Magpies' 2022 U17s premiership.

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

with AAP