SYDNEY - Wests Tigers' early-season struggles turned into a full-blown crisis as the one-time NRL premiership favourites slumped to a fifth straight defeat with an 18-14 loss to Brisbane at Allianz Stadium.
Desperately needing a win to stay in touch with the top eight, the Tigers struggled to stay with a Broncos side that could have had the game sewn up midway through the opening half if only they hadn't butchered two try-scoring opportunities.
Fullback Tim Moltzen endured a tough night with a performance he'd rather forget, the final scoreline flattering the home side with late tries to Blake Ayshford and Tom Humble.
Centre Jack Reed scored a double within four minutes for Brisbane, but it wasn't all good for the visitors, with back-rower Ben Te'o sure to find himself in hot water after being put on report for a shoulder charge that put Matt Groat out of the contest due to concussion.
A brilliant Benji Marshall ball for Moltzen looked like putting the Tigers on the scoreboard first, but when the play broke down, the Broncos counterattacked with venom as Reed crossed for his first.
Chris Heighington raced up the tunnel with a suspected broken left hand, but there's little doubt Moltzen would have happily traded places after gifting Reed a second when he allowed a Peter Wallace bomb to bounce in a miscommunication with winger Beau Ryan.
Matt Gillett should have made it three tries in eight minutes only to drop a pass with the line wide open, before Moltzen had another shaky moment - this time with Lote Tuqiri - but his blushes were saved by a Dale Copley knock-on when all he had to do was catch the ball and fall over the tryline.