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Post by willow » Sat 24 Aug, 2013 8:25 pm

Match Report: Wests Tigers vs Dragons

Saturday 24 August 2013 4:58 PM
Match Report: Wests Tigers vs Dragons

Wests Tigers have defeated St George-Illawarra Dragons 34-18 at the SCG, with the young superstars of the Club taking centre stage.

The Dragons opened the scoring in the 9th minute when second rower Leeson Ah Mau stepped back against the grain to beat some flimsy defence.

Chase Stanley converted to give St George-Illawarra a 6-0 lead.

Wests Tigers hooker Joel Luani continued the trend of young stars scoring tries when he dived over from dummy half three minute later after Keith Galloway went within centimetres.

Marshall converted easily to lock the scores up.

The game entered a stalemate for close on 20 minutes, with both sides chipping away at each other until Benji Marshall, playing in the centres, came infield to blow the game apart.

Marshall received the ball at first receiver 30 metres from the Dragons line before carving straight through. Braith Anasta loomed in support to score under the posts.

Wests Tigers appeared to have some of the structure missing in recent weeks with Luke Brooks and Anasta in the halves.

And it didn't take long for Brooks to claim his first NRL try assist, going to the line on the left before delivering a sweet short ball to former NYC team mate Curtis Sironen to crash over in the 32nd minute.

Wests Tigers were rolling through the Dragons and James Tedesco almost threw the floodgates open when he burst straight through the heart of the Dragons defence.

Luke Brooks was looming in support and looked likely to grab his first try in the NRL, but a wayward pass from Tedesco killed the young halfback's momentum and led to a knock on.

Momentum turned and the Dragons had a period of possession on the Wests Tigers' line with wide second rowers, Ah Mau, Tyson Frizzell and Bronson Harrison regularly looking likely.

James Tedesco saved the day for his team with a spectacular last ditch effort, knocking the ball loose from Harrison's hand as he looked certain to reach out.

Tim Simona gave Wests Tigers' fans another glimpse to the exciting future at the Club when he went close on one hundred metres to score yet another try for the highlights reel after collecting a loose ball on his line.

That try came right on halftime and set the SCG alight and made the score 22-6 at the break.

The Dragons came out of the blocks strongly in the second half, Adam Quinlan backing up a break down the right side which resulted from a nice offload.

Stanley converted from under the posts to bring the score back to 22-12.

The Dragons were starting to roll and Ben Creagh took full advantage, cutting through easily to score to the right of the posts in the 46th minute.

Stanley grabbed his third for the afternoon and the score was 22-18.

Wests Tigers gave the video referee a work out in the 52nd minute after Brooks bombed nicely, but the officials found a knock on.

It wasn't all bad news though, with Wests Tigers receiving a penalty for a shoulder charge on Brooks as he was kicking.

From the resulting set, Wests Tigers got back in the game Luke Brooks grubbering for Simona to grab his second.

Marshall converted nicely and it was 28-18 in the 52nd minute.

Momentum was a major factor in the game and Brooks was showing why he's had so many wraps in the lead up to his debut, kicking again and following up to trap the Dragons in-goal with a strong individual tackle.

The future had well and truly arrived when Luke Brooks put his name up in lights in the 62nd minute throwing a great dummy to score under the posts after an exciting interchange of offloads on the halfway line.

Marshall made the score 34-18 and Wests Tigers looked to have the game sealed.

Brooks was beginning to lift as he gained confidence and gave Marshall space who sent Ben Murdoch-Masila into a yawning gap, but the second rower could reproduce what he had for the rest of the game, knocking on as he came to the fullback.

Tim Simona almost had his hat trick as the game entered the final 10 minutes, Lote Tuqiri flying down the right touch line, but Simona couldn't find the finish which has had Wests Tigers fans so excited.

There would be no more scoring as Wests Tigers ran out 34-18, the day belonging to the young guns who promise such a bright future at the Club.


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Post by willow » Sat 24 Aug, 2013 8:27 pm

Brooks stars in historic debut
August 24, 2013 - 6:52PM
Michael Chammas - SMH
Rugby league reporter



On a historic day at the most historic ground in rugby league, it was the Wests Tigers' stars of tomorrow who shone brightest in front of the stars of yesteryear.

It was the kid on debut who stole the show in what could only be described as the most anticipated first game in memory. The 18-year-old, in his first year out of high school, took centre stage from Benji Marshall and showed why he is so highly regarded in a five-star debut in front of 15,016 at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

The Holy Cross Ryde graduate finished the game with a try and two try assists, but more importantly lived up to the hype that preceded his first outing in the NRL.

Brooks also finished the game with a line break, line-break assist and two tackle breaks, but more importantly showed he was more than capable in defence.

The Dragons targeted him early and managed to expose the young halfback early when Leeson Ah Mau brushed past him to score, but he managed to hold his own for the remainder of the game.

On an afternoon when the Tigers turned back the clock and played like the entertainers they were once renowned as, Marshall moved to the centres and made the most of his new responsibilities.

The last time Marshall racked up 10 runs in a match was in round 26 last season, but in the first half alone in the unfamiliar centre position he had already reached that mark and finished with a team-high 16 runs, one behind game leader, Dragons captain Ben Creagh (17).

The Tigers lost Ben Murdoch-Masila early with a neck injury in a tackle from Tyson Frizell, which was placed on report by video referees Bernard Sutton and Justin Morgan for a potential "crusher" tackle.

But it didn't deter the Dragons, who posted first points of the afternoon when Leeson Ah Mau brushed past Brooks to score his first try of the year.

Tigers hooker Joel Luani then squared the ledger when he burrowed his way past the Dragons' markers from close range for his first try of his three-game career.

Marshall's decision to roam in-field in the latter stages of the first half paid dividends, bursting through the middle of the field to link with Anasta for a 12-6 lead.

A penalty from the ensuing set piggy-backed the Tigers down field before Brooks' no-look pass to a charging Curtis Sironen saw the back-rower crash over for Wests Tigers' third try of the match. St George Illawarra had a golden opportunity to reduce the deficit on the stroke of half time but a mistake meant the Tigers turned defence into attack with Simona running 90 metres after the siren to give his side a 22-6 lead at the break.

The Dragons came out firing in the second half, with Adam Quinlan and Creagh crossing within the first eight minutes of the period to reduce the margin to four points. However a composed Brooks regained the ascendancy for his side when his well weighted grubber found a diving Simona for a try.

Twitter: @MichaelChammas

WESTS TIGERS 34 (T Simona 2 B Anasta L Brooks J Luani C Sironen tries B Marshall 5 goals) bt ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA 18 (L Ah Mau B Creagh A Quinlan tries C Stanley 3 goals) at Sydney Cricket Ground. Referee: Jason Robinson, Phil Haines. Crowd: 15,016.

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Post by willow » Sat 24 Aug, 2013 8:35 pm

Wests Tigers thump St George Illawarra Dragons at the SCG, with debutant Luke Brooks the match winner

James Hooper
The Sunday Telegraph
August 24, 2013 5:01PM


MAYBE generation next at Wests Tigers ain’t all doom and gloom after all.

Remember the name Luke Brooks, 18, the new Wests Tigers halfback, because on the evidence submitted at the grand old dame of Australian sport, the Sydney Cricket Ground, this debutant has the potential to be a special player.

On Saturday, Brooks and the Tigers legion of talented rookies gave the club’s legion of fans reason to believe there is life beyond Benji Marshall by putting on an attacking masterclass to end a six-match losing streak, finishing over the top of St George Illawarra 34-18.

Quite simply, they out-enthused, out-thought, out-skilled and completely outplayed a struggling Dragons outfit, with Brooks scoring a try and having a key hand in two others.

The little halfback threw the final pass for Curtis Sironen to power over in the opening half, then showed another side to his game with an inch-perfect grubber kick for Tim Simona to bag his second try.

Perhaps more impressive was the way his judicious kicking game single-handedly orchestrated two repeat sets of six tackles, at one point sending a grubber through with nothing on before hammering through on the chase to wrap Dragons fullback Jason Nightingale up in-goal.

It was brilliant and smacked of a special talent.

Sure, Brooks had drawn comparisons with the great Andrew Johns prior to even making his debut on Saturday.

But those kind of accolades at such a young age are completely unfair. Remember when Braith Anasta was labelled the next Freddy Fittler?

Johns was on hand to witness the Tigers halfback’s debut on Saturday, calling the match for Triple M, and was full of praise.

“What a debut. This young guy’s life is never going to be the same,” the Immortal said.

Trailing 6-0 after Dragons forward Leeson Ah Mau powered over inside the opening eight minutes, there were fears the Tigers might fold like a house of cards.

Instead, the club’s growing list of emerging superstars stepped up and delivered, with the likes of Curtis Sironen, James Tedesco, Tim Simona and Joel Luani all submitting career-best opening halves.

The Tigers scored opening half tries through hooker Luani, Braith Anasta, Sironen and Simona on the stroke of halftime, who scorched 90m against the run of play after a brilliant Sironen ball.

Even club outcast Benji Marshall, whose fans have turned the blow torch on the one-time favourite son over the last week, had a good afternoon.

The only problem was, the Tigers clocked off at halftime. When the second half resumed, the Dragons went bang, bang with tries to five-eighth Adam Quinlan and captain Ben Creagh, reducing a 22-6 halftime lead to 22-18 with half an hour to play.

Enter Brooks. With the game on the line, the debutant laid on Simona’s second try and then scored one himself to end any hope of a Dragons fightback.

New Tigers boss Grant Mayer’s decision to recently extend the young halfback’s contract until the end of 2017 appeared a masterstroke.

Coach Mick Potter, considered a certainty to be tapped on the shoulder a fortnight ago, would have slept a little easier on Saturday night.

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Post by Tigersman » Sat 24 Aug, 2013 8:42 pm

Dragons slump to new low as Tigers run riot
By ADAM PENGILLY illawarra mercury Aug. 24, 2013, 5:02 p.m.

Curtis Sironen crashes over for the Wests Tigers against the Dragons at the SCG. Picture: BRENDAN ESPOSITO Curtis Sironen crashes over for the Wests Tigers against the Dragons at the SCG. Picture: BRENDAN ESPOSITO
St George Illawarra will demand further answers from the NRL over concessions to allow the Wests Tigers' salary cap breach after one of the players who profited, teenage sensation Luke Brooks, carved up the Dragons.
Refusing to back down from their mid-week statement which slammed the NRL for granting the Tigers permission to play debutants Brooks and Nathan Brown, Price said Doust will again seek an explanation on the second tier breach.

The 18-year-old whiz kid scored a try and had a hand in several others as the Tigers shed their wooden spoon woes and left them squarely at the feet of the Dragons.

"I clearly support Peter on how we went about it with the NRL this week," Price said after the Tigers romped to a 34-18 win at the SCG. "The outcome was a bit disappointing, but we'll take it up next week.

"We clearly got beat by a better team, but at the end of the day we'll follow it up."

Brooks fronted the post-match press conference and innocently claimed "I don't listen to the media" when asked about comparisons to Immortal Andrew Johns.

So it was left to coach Mick Potter to sing his young halfback's praises, before conceding he will be back in the Holden Cup next week.

"My expectations were that he would go OK and I thought he exceeded that," Potter said. "For him it was a great debut."

Added skipper Benji Marshall: "I think the future for the club, without putting too much pressure on him, if he keeps training hard and working the way he works, is bright. I feel like I'm leaving the club in pretty good hands.

"[But] if we can ease that pressure a bit and not have too much expectation for next year and the years coming forward [will be good]. But he's such a great talent for him and it's exciting."

The result condemned second-from-bottom St George Illawarra to a fifth straight defeat - the worst losing streak in the joint venture's history.

The only thing worrying the Red V faithful now, just how low can they go?

Only four points adrift of cellar dwellers Parramatta, the Eels would realistically need to win all three of their remaining matches to avoid the dreaded honour given their inferior for-and-against.

But that will be of little consolation to Dragons fans, who watched their side squander a bright opening 10 minute period before being embarrassed 34-18 by the previously in-turmoil Tigers.

Price questioned the logic of the on-field officials to not refer a Chase Stanley touchdown upstairs mid-way through the second half. Nathan Fien's bomb, which was contested by Daniel Vidot, appeared to bounce off Lote Tuqiri's head, but the immediate ruling was a knock on against Vidot.

"We've been playing some reasonable footy over a number of weeks now, but we just keep getting pipped at the post," Price said. "That was a very disappointing loss.

"I thought we started quite well in the game, but we were very disappointing in that 15-minute block prior to half-time. We played some reasonable footy to get back into the game and clearly that was a try to Chase Stanley.

"They didn't go up to the video referee which was very disappointing, but in saying that we didn't deserve the two points today."

If one play summed up the Dragons' fortunes, it came only seconds before half-time when Bronson Harrison popped an offload deep in Tigers' territory to opposite Curtis Sironen. His pass found a flying Tim Simona who streaked 90-metres downfield to score after the siren sounded.

Trailing 22-6 at the break, the Dragons clawed their way back to within four points after Adam Quinlan was on the end of a long Charly Runciman break and skipper Ben Creagh barrelled his way over.
But it was as close as they got as the Tigers consigned them to their ninth loss in 11 home matches this year. It was also their first loss at the SCG since 1999.

Even the embattled Marshall got in on the act for the Tigers, slicing through some feeble Dragons defence in the first half and shovelling a pass for the even more maligned Braith Anasta to score.

The electrifying Simona crossed for his own try-scoring double, helping snap the Tigers' six-game losing streak.

WESTS TIGERS 34 (Tim Simona 2, Joel Luani, Braith Anasta, Curtis Sironen, Luke Brooks tries; Benji Marshall 5 goals) defeated ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS 18 (Leeson Ah Mau, Adam Quinlan, Ben Creagh tries; Chase Stanley 3 goals) at SCG. Referee: Jason Robinson, Phil Haines. Crowd: 15,016.
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Post by willow » Sun 25 Aug, 2013 7:21 pm

Brooks comparisons unfair: Johns
By Steve Jancetic
AAP
Sun 25th August, 4:16pm


The comparisons are inevitable, but rugby league Immortal Andrew Johns says likening Wests Tigers wonderkid Luke Brooks to any other player would put too much pressure on the prodigious teenager.

Brooks, whose build and style of play had many reminiscing about a young Johns, produced a debut to remember against St George Illawarra on Saturday, with a try and two try-assists in a 34-18 win.

Johns made a similar lasting first impression when he tallied 23 points in his run-on debut against South Sydney in 1994, but the former Test and NSW Origin star said any comparisons to 18-year-old Brooks were not fair.

"I don't want to compare him to anyone because he's his own man and I don't want to put pressure on him, because he's got so far to go," Johns told Triple M.

"But I think everyone can sit back and see how exciting this young guy is.

"I'm pretty sure this debut is one I'll sit back for the rest of my life and remember this one."

Brooks' debut resulted in Benji Marshall shifting out to the centres - a position he has not played since the very early days of his NRL career.

Freed of the playmaking responsibility Marshall thrived - in what could be a pointer to his role with Auckland when he switches to rugby union in 2014.

He ran the ball 16 times for 133 metres, smashing his previous best effort this season of nine runs in one match.

"Obviously I've been struggling with the running game a little bit," Marshall admitted after the win over the Dragons.

"(It) gave me an opportunity to not worry about ball-playing and just worry about running and I thought Brooksy stood up and took control when he needed to."

While coach Michael Potter would love to continue with the experiment for the next two weeks, Brooks will be back in the under 20s next week due to the limitations of the salary cap.

Chief executive Grant Mayer said the Tigers were comfortable with the NRL's ruling on the matter, with Brooks only given an exemption to play against the Dragons and take the Tigers beyond their second tier salary cap limit because both sides were out of finals contention.

"We know the rules (and) understand exactly how this was going to play out," Mayer told AAP.

"The NRL has made it very clear and we've accepted that.

"To give the guy a taste (against the Dragons) was great but we know he won't be there next week."

Asked if it was wrong of the league to deny Brooks another game, Mayer said"

"Absolutely not ... I'm sure the fans would say it is wrong, but you've got to take your time with him.

"We'll see more of him next year, so (fans need to) be patient."

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