Willow's match report and player review

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Willow's match report and player review

Post by willow » Fri 26 Mar, 2010 10:45 pm

Round 3 of the NRL premiership saw the Wests Tigers return to the scene of their round 2 demise, the SFS, this time to take on last year's losing grand finalists the Parramatta Eels. Both sides were coming off a short turnaround after playing in scorching conditions last Sunday. The Eels were coming off a very impressive come-from-behind win against Manly after being down 20-0 while the Tigers were smarting after a 44-32 loss to the Sydney Roosters after leading 12-0 early. The Tigers were boosted by the return of winger Beau Ryan, prop Bryce Gibbs and veteran forward Todd Payten while the Eels lost Luke Burt to injury and five eigth Daniel Mortimer on match day through a virus.

As all Tigers fans know, the Eels have proven the Tigers bogey side winning 9 of the last 10 clashes, including a memorable game in round 24 last year which ended the Tigers finals hopes. Could the Tigers claw back a win tonight...

1st half:

The Tigers received the ball from the kickoff through Keith Galloway and got away to a safe start. Todd Payten came up with a early chargedown however the Eels regathered for another set of 6. The Tigers defused the set comfortably for a 20 metre re-start and were rewarded with the first penalty of the game in the 3rd minute. The Tigers were unable to crack the Eels defence with both sides looking conservative early on. Tigers winger Beau Ryan was playing at fullback in defence too, an unsual move by Sheens. The Tigers opened the scoring in the 7th minute after a nice series of catch and pass down the Eels right side resulted in Benji Marshall seeing the Eels had rushed up out of their line and putting in a well placed grubber kick which saw Lote Tuqiri regather and crash over in the corner. Marshall's sideline conversion was just waved away to give the Tigers an early 4-0 lead.

From the re-start the Tigers played it safe and kicked deep to force the Eels to work it out of their own end however the Tigers were awarded a penalty after Chris Heighington was taken out late without the ball. It was a dubious penalty, but one the Tigers happily took. A mistake from Keith Galloway in playing the ball brought an end to the Tigers attacking raid. Eric Grothe was hit hard from the scrum win which jolted the ball loose. A Robbie Farah kick resulted in the Eels gaining a penalty after Hayne was ruled to be tackled in mid-air. The Tigers defence was proving strong early though and they held the Eels out. The Tigers were again awarded a penalty after catching the Eels out with quick play the ball and soon crossed for their second try through centre Blake Ayshford after he grounded a well placed grubber from half Tim Moltzen. Marshall's kick was again waved away as the Tigers goalkicking woes continued.

The Tigers kicked early from the re-start turning the Eels side around well. The Tigers continued to look solid in defence and attack as the Eels struggled to get into the match. Keith Galloway came up with a big hit on Justin Poore in the 19th minute which brought a roar from the crowd. The Eels received a penalty in the 20th minute allowing them to have a crack at the Tigers in their own half. Fui Fui Moi Moi dropped the ball cold on the 2nd tackle though as Keith Galloway was lining him up. The Tigers caught the Eels short down the blindside however the grubber kick put through by Mitch Brown was defused by the Eels. The Eels would need a touch of luck if they were to score and almost got it after Jaryd Hayne put through a chip kick, which was knocked by a Tigers player and regathered by Hayne however a pass out wide to Eric Grothe was dropped and went over he sideline which brought relief for Tigers fans.

A lost ball by Blake Ayshford gave the Eels another chance to attack inside the Tigers half. An attacking raid down the Tigers rightside saw the Eels go into touch. The Tigers needed to tighten their game up and get to their kick. A good attacking raid on the Tigers last tackle saw Mitch Brown put in a good grubber kick forcing Hayne touch in-goal. The Tigers worked it close to the Eels line bu a grubber kick into the posts by Farah favoured the Eels on this occasion. The Tigers had the Eels backpeddling and they looked to be struggling as you could just sense the Tigers regaining their composure and the upper hand again. The Tigers again looked threatening in the 32nd minute however the Eels defence managed to hang on. The Eels did receive a penalty in the 34th minute as the Tigers were caught offside.

A great hit by Gareth Ells on Justin Poore saw the ball spill free, with both players stunned from the hit. Ellis was ruled to have lost the ball seconds later though. The Tigers defence held and then they counter-attacked brilliantly through Marshall, Tuqiri and Ellis. A nasty cut to Chris Lawrence's ear saw play halted temporarily and Benji Marshall promptly slotted a field goal with 1 minute remaining before halftime. The Tigers again spread the ball on the last tackle with Lote Tuqiri flying down the sideline however the grubber kick forward was defused by Hayne as the halftime siren sounded. The Tigers went to the sheds with a 9-0 lead and looking solid and composed while the Eels looked out of breath and out of sorts.

For the first half the Tigers were led well by Marshall and Farah with Lote Tuqiri, Keith Galloway, Gareth Ellis and Chris Heighington all looking strong. The Eels made 175 tackles to the Tigers 108 as the Tigers enjoyed a possession advantage.


2nd half:

The Tigers kicked off and got away to a safe start. Beau Ryan pulled up with a sore ankle from his first run. A great offload from Ellis saw Mark Flanagan race into open sace before throwing a pass backwards which was scooped up by Ryan who was runnng again. Mitch Brown was brought down just short of the corner post on the last play. An Eels mistake saw the Tigers go on the attack on the halfway line. The Tigers were given a penalty shortly after from another Eels indescretion. The Tigers scored from the set through Benji Marshall as the Tigers attacked with a deep backline which saw Marshall feign on pass left, step back to the right as a hole opened up before passing to Mark Flanagan who burst through before drawing the defence and passing back to Marshall who crossed under the posts. Marshall converted his try and the Tigers now led 15-0.

The Tigers got to their kick from the re-start as Marshall found the sideline. A bad pass by Hayne went to ground however Tigers prop Keith Galloway failed to regather as he spilt the ball and gave it back to the Eels. The Eels received a penalty moments later and finally had a good chance to crack the Tigers line. The Tigers defence held firm until the last tackle as the Eels put in a cross field kick which was taken by Joel Reddy as he managed to time his jump perfectly to beat Lote Tuqiri to the ball. The conversion was successful by Inu as the Eels now trailed 15-6.

The Tigers seemed to go back to their bad ways as they gave the Eels a penalty late in the tackle count from the re-start. This gave Parramatta another opportunity in the Tigers half. A stumbling break made by Hayne appeared to result in him being injured. Hayne got to his feet eventually as the Tigers defence held as the Eels tried yet another cross field kick. The Eels continued their comeback as they ran the ball on the last tackle and spread the ball down the Tigers rightside defence and crossing in the corner through Inu as the Tigers were caught short. Inu's conversion never looked like missing from the sideline as the Eels now trailed 15-12 and with momentum.

An Eels forward pass from the re-start gave the Tigers some respite. The Tigers attacked dangerously but to no avail as the Eels held on. A good defensive set saw the Eels kick deep from within their own half. Some play from dummyhalf by Robbie Farah saw the Tigers receive a penalty late in the tackle count as they went on the attack again. A difficult grubber kick by Robbie Farah was brilliantly regathered by Lote Tuqiri who bagged his second try for the night. The sideline conversion was waved away again as the Tigers jumped out to a 19-12 lead with 16 minutes remaining.

The last tackle kick from Benji Marshall proved to be his worst of the night as the ball went over the sideline on the full. The Eels attacked the Tigers again however the Tigers repelled in brilliant fashion as Chris Lawrence cut opposite Joel Reddy in half with an excellent tackle which saw him lose the ball. A good kick chase saw the Eels having to work it out of their own half once again. Some good pressure applied from the Tigers saw the Eels look very disjointed in trying to work the ball out of their own half which resulted in a poor kick in the 70th minute. A poor last tackle kick by the Tigers saw the Eels regather in decent field position as they tried to counter-attack, however Blake Ayshford came up with an intercept shortly after.

A clever chip kick from Farah on the Eels line saw Eric Grothe hit mid-air which saw the Eels come away with a penalty, and a subsequent follow up penalty which saw them go on the attack inside the Tigers half. Jaryd Hayne lost the ball towards the end of the set which brought relief to the Tigers. From the scrum win Benji Marshall drifted to his left as only he can with Lote Tuqiri in support, before he dummied and sliced through the Eels defence and raced 80 metres to score an excellent solo try. Benji's attempted conversion was terrible as the score remained 23-12 to the Tigers. Marshall was then replaced by Daniel Fitzhenry.

The Eels tried a short kick off however they knocked the ball on as the Tigers came away with it. The Eels had one last crack at the Tigers however they spilled the ball yet again. The Tigers held on to record a very good 23-12 win which was built off the back of a good completion rate and excellent line speed in defence all night.


Onto the players (All stats provided by NRL.com):

5. Beau Ryan - Shifted to fullback by Sheens tonight in what proved to be a very smart move, as Ryan brought the ball back strongly all night in a very good performance. He wasn't really tested in defence as the Tigers held firm pretty much all night. Ryan ran for a massive 248 metres as he came down with cramp late in the game, 3 tackle breaks. Keep him at fullback I say.

2. Lote Tuqiri - Scored a double tonight as he crossed for the Tigers first try. Also showed excellent skill to ground the ball in his second try which had all the channel 9 commentators raving. Proving to be an astute buy as he ran hard whenever he touched the ball and also came up with a couple of good tackles. His only blemish was being outjumped by Joel Reddy in the second half. Otherwise Tuqiri was all class. 2 tries, 146 metres in attack, 5 tackle breaks.

3. Blake Ayshford - Produced a stronger overall game tonight as he was improved in defence and generally took 2-3 players to bring him to ground each time he ran the ball. Kept up his try scoring rate as he crossed for another try and generally had a solid game. 1 try, 58 metres in attack, 1 error and 16 tackles.

4. Chris Lawrence - Good game from Lawrence tonight as he hit hard in defence and ran the ball hard in attack. Gave Tuqiri a couple of nice passes in the first half and came hit Joel Reddy with a ballistic missile in the second half as the Eels were desperately trying to crack the Tigers line. No open space for Lawrence tonight, but he's had a good start to the season. 86 metres in attack, 1 linebreak assist and 22 tackles.

1. Mitch Brown - Ended up on the wing and did ok. He's not great, but tonight he held his own, although he looks tentative at times when he runs the ball. I feel he could hit the line harder, it's like he doesn't trust himself at times if that makes sense. He was caught out in defence once in the second half when the Eels crossed through Inu, but they did well to exploit the Tigers on the last tackle. 75 metres in attack, 1 error and 1 linebreak.

6. Benji Marshall - Man of the match on channel 9 and deserved it. He was the Tigers best again tonight as he became the Tigers highest ever tryscorer and proved dangerous everytime he touched the ball. The footwork is there, the speed, the passing and skill level we have come to expect, except now Benji is starting to look consistently dangerous. Not troubled in defence either. His only real error was kicking out on the full in the second half when under no pressure. If he can cut these errors out of his game, then he'll become a more complete player. Goalkicking is his nemesis with 1 from 5. 2 tries, 1 field goal, 134 metres in attack (although I think it will end up being more), 7 tackle breaks, 2 linebreaks, 1 error and 10 tackles.

7. Tim Moltzen - Looks much more at home at halfback and had a safe game tonight in general. Took the line on a few times however didn't find any open space tonight but I'm sure we'll see him improve further as he settles back into the halfback position. Put in a nice grubber for the Ayshford try. 62 metres in attack, 12 tackles.

8. Bryce Gibbs - Very good game in defence tonight from Gibbs. Came up with some important one on one tackles and played extra minutes as Cayless and Fifita were only used in short bursts. Ran the ball ok too. 83 metres in attack, 20 tackles, 2 offloads.

9. Robbie Farah - Welcome return to form tonight as Farah was heavily involved and got out of dummyhalf smartly and fixed his defensive issues from last week. His kicking game was also good tonight as he turned the Eels around on several occasions and came up with a low percentage, but brilliantly executed grubber for Tuqiri's second try. 70 metres in attack, 2 offloads, 2 tackle breaks, 26 tackles and no missed tackles tonight.

10. Keith Galloway - Another strong game from Galloway tonight as he proved to be best prop on the field and had the better of Poore and Moi Moi. Ran the ball hard and defended well and looks hungry for rep football, and looks ready for it. Very good effort once again. 138 metres in attack, 1 offload, 1 error and 24 tackles.

11. Todd Payten - Good to see Payten back from injury and his first game of the season was solid without beng great, but he's sure to improve with match fitness. Didn't notice him much in the second half so hopefully there is no injury. 57 metres in attack and 22 tackles.

12. Gareth Ellis - Great game from Ellis tonight as he ran the ball hard and hit the Eels hard in defence. Came up with a great shot on Justin Poore and took some stopping in attack. Also got away a great offload to send his UK compatriot Flanagan into open space in the second half. Ran for a massive 184 metres in attack, 1 error, 1 linebreak assist, 25 tackles.

13. Chris Heighington - Strong game from Heighno as well, as he ran the ball hard all night and defended well too. Also showed good discipline. His running game looks to be improved this year and Heighno looks a bit stronger, he's showing good leg drive which we last saw in 2008. Ran for an impressive 152 metres in attack, 2 offloads, 5 tackle breaks, 1 linebreak assist, 29 tackles and 2 missed tackles.

14. Jason Cayless - Did not get much gametime and we only saw him in the second half for a few minutes. Not sure how much longer Sheens will persist with him as he is not playing many minutes and not making an impact. Better served in State Cup building up some match fitness, and hopefully form. 40 metres in attack, 5 tackles.

15. Andrew Fifita - Used in two short 10 minute bursts as Sheens is bringing him along slowly, but certainly holding his own and looking alright out on the field. Definitely looks to be the Tigers 3rd best prop behinf Galloway and Gibbs. Should hold his spot for next week. 59 metres in attack and 14 tackles.

16. Mark Flanagan - Another good game from Flanagan tonight as he was busy in attack and defence and generaly looked to get involved. Came up with a linebreak running off Ellis and also did well in linking with Marshall for his first try in the second half. Looks a good player to have coming off the bench and will hopefully improve further as the season goes. 77 metres in attack, 1 linebreak and 29 tackles.

17. Daniel Fitzhenry - 3 minutes gametime, not enough to comment on.


Overall Analysis:

Attack:

The Tigers were more conservative with the flashy plays, although we did see some with a great counter-attack from an Eels kick in the first half, and some brilliance from Marshall late in the game. The most pleasing aspect of the Tigers attack tonight, was the direction. They won the battle of the ruck and there was some very good passing shown by the forwards as well as the Tigers playmakers in Farah, Marshall and Moltzen. Three of the Tigers 5 tries came from short kicks while Benji Marshall took care of the other two with his running game.

In the forwards, Galloway, Ellis and Heighington all played strongly as each player easily made over 100 metres in attack. Farah was also good out of dummyhalf tonight. Of the backline, Marshall, Tuqiri were dangerous and provided the excitement, Ryan did plenty of running from the back and Lawrence and Ayshford were both solid.


Defence:

The most pleasing part of the Tigers game tonight. They really did defend well as a team as they showed good line speed and gave the Eels littlet time to think with the ball in hand. The Eels relied on Hayne too much and the Tigers handled him well tonight. He looked dangerous on a couple occasions, but the Tigers did scramble well whenver they were under pressure. They should take good stock from tonight's game and look to replicate their defensive effort every week. Gibbs, Galloway and Ellis came up with some solid hits in the forwards while Lawrence and Ayshford defended well out wide.


Kicking game:

Again, the kicking game tonight was pretty good. The Tigers turned the Eels around well and definitely came out on top in this battle. Farah generally kicked well out of dummyhalf, Marshall had a couple of good kicks and Moltzen also kicked a couple of times. Marshall's goalkicking is the nly real problem as he looks sketchy from out wide with his kicks and is generally hooking the ball at the moment.


Team stats (Eels in brackets)

Completions: 32/38 at 84% (23/35 at 65%)
Possession: 56% (44%)
Penalties: 5 (7)
Scrums: 10 (6)
Errors: 6 (12)
Linebreaks: 3 (2)
Offloads: 11 (19)
Total Tackles: 258 (321)
1 on 1 tackles: 20 (16)
Missed tackles: 18 (32)

Final washup:

The Tigers did very well to bounce back after a lacklustre performance last week and controlled the game very early with good field position built off a good defensive platform. The Eels tried to mount a comeback in the second half with back-to-back tries as they reduced the deficit to 15-12, however the Tigers regained their composure and kicked clear with Farah and Marshall upping the ante.

There was no bad player on the field tonight for the Tigers, however they were led brilliantly by Marshall who has had a great start to the season. He received very good support from Farah, Ellis, Galloway and Heighington who all were heavily involved. Lote Tuqiri was again strong out wide and I cannot wait until the human wrecking ball Taniela Tuiaki returns from injury...What a combo these two will be! I guess the only players who were really quiet were Cayless, Fifita and Fitzhenry as they only played a few minutes. Flanagan and Fifita are the two certainties who must remain on the bench, however Cayless and Fitzhenry would be better off replaced by Junior Moors and possibly another backrower. The Tigers will hopefully be boosted by the return of Liam Fulton next week which gives the team a better balance, as this would allow Todd Payten to return to the bench, or allow Fulton to come off it, although we know he is an 80 minute player.

Tonight was a very good win though as the Tigers played a well structured game and never really allowed the Eels to get going.

Next week sees the Wests Tigers travel to the nation's capital as they look to record back-to-back wins as they take on the Canberra Raiders. :sign:
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Post by bradexl » Fri 26 Mar, 2010 10:51 pm

Good report as always willow..Nice work mate

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Post by stryker » Fri 26 Mar, 2010 11:53 pm

Only 3 meters for Fafita in attack? What was the actual number mate? thought he did well.

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Post by Sabre » Sat 27 Mar, 2010 12:13 am

stryker wrote:Only 3 meters for Fafita in attack? What was the actual number mate? thought he did well.
was thinking the same thing. Im sure he made more than 3 meters

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Post by MacDougall » Sat 27 Mar, 2010 12:14 am

Hey Willow. I've started writing match reports at Leagueunlimited.com and if I ever do up a Tigers one, can postmark it with one of your awesome photos?


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Post by AndTheKungFoSing » Sat 27 Mar, 2010 12:25 am

Great report mate! Spot on... bit generous on Farah's game i thought... 3 or 4 times he went down the wrong side which cost us probably points i thought...
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Post by Geo. » Sat 27 Mar, 2010 12:35 am

Thanks Willow...great as always.....

But geez.....What does Galloway have to do than get a bit better than solid....

Best Prop on the Park shading Gibbs....
Wests Tigers don't need a Coach.. The playing group has taken over..

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Post by southerntiger » Sat 27 Mar, 2010 12:47 am

I thought Cayless made a couple of nice charges tonight and looked to be finding his legs a bit.

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Post by X-Pac » Sat 27 Mar, 2010 1:23 am

the stats for the game are better than what was said here :shock:

Ryan 248 metres 0 line breaks :shock:
Tuqiri 2 tries 146 metres 0 line break
Benji 2 tries 134 metres 2 line breaks
KG 138 metres 24 tackles 2 misses
Ellis 184 metres 25 tackles 3 misses :shock:
Heighnington 152 metres 29 tackles 3 misses
Flanagan 77 metres 1 line break 29 tackles 1 miss

i wonder why we won with that sort of go foward

metres gained
Tigers 1683 eels 1186
line breaks
Tigers 3-2
miss tackles
Tigers 18-32

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Post by turnstyle » Sat 27 Mar, 2010 3:27 am

man, fitzy was awesome...

seriously though, thanks for all your work with another great report.

couple of thoughts personally (apart from benji):

very happy to see gibbs play like that tonight. ive not been a fan of him for a while but tonight i thought he was great and didnt even give away a stupid penalty!

go lote. i said before the season i thought he would carve but he has exceeded my expectations! awesome addition.

beau ryan was great too.

what the hell are those flaps cayless has going on?! theyve gotta go before they cost us a game...

side note: the tigers have a tough start to the season imo and at this stage things are looking veeeeeeeery promising. lets hope they keep it up!
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Post by jadtiger » Sat 27 Mar, 2010 5:45 am

Good report as always Willow well done

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Post by westTAHger » Sat 27 Mar, 2010 8:15 am

willow thanks for the great reveiw.
good all round effort from the team.
hopefully it can happen again against the raiders.
as we have seen in previous seasons being consistent can be a problem.
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Post by The Phantom » Sat 27 Mar, 2010 8:25 am

Always look forward to your report,great work..

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Post by Poppa » Sat 27 Mar, 2010 8:30 am

Good report willow.I thought all our run on forwards went well,and really took the game to Parra forwards with our forwards winning the battle by a big margin.Good to see Todd Payten back.I thought this was where we needed to win the battle and we did.Our backs were far superior to Parras.Tim Moltzen had a great game at 1/2 back.So well done to all...




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Cheers Poppa

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Post by willow » Sat 27 Mar, 2010 9:58 am

Thanks for the comments, appreciate it.

Player stats and team stats have been updated now that the dust has settled. Usually the stats are adjusted a few hours after the game and the stats guys can go through and take their time to review things.

What does look more impressive are the metres run by Ryan, Tuqiri, Marshall, Galloway, Ellis and Heighno. Cayless only made 4 hitups but did average 10 metres per run so maybe I was a bit harsh on him. Fifita made good yards for only limited time and Flanagan is settling in very nicely with a good workrate.

Despite the Eels making far more tackles, the Tigers made more effective one-on-one tackles which is a pleasing stat.

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Post by willow » Sat 27 Mar, 2010 10:01 am

MacDougall wrote:Hey Willow. I've started writing match reports at Leagueunlimited.com and if I ever do up a Tigers one, can postmark it with one of your awesome photos?
Yeah that's cool, they're SMH photos anyway mate!

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Post by willow » Sat 27 Mar, 2010 10:02 am

Geo. wrote:Thanks Willow...great as always.....

But geez.....What does Galloway have to do than get a bit better than solid....

Best Prop on the Park shading Gibbs....
I did say he was best prop on field mate ;) Very impressed with sauce last night, really sticking it to his opposite props.

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Post by Geo. » Sat 27 Mar, 2010 10:16 am

willow wrote:
Geo. wrote:Thanks Willow...great as always.....

But geez.....What does Galloway have to do than get a bit better than solid....

Best Prop on the Park shading Gibbs....
I did say he was best prop on field mate ;) Very impressed with sauce last night, really sticking it to his opposite props.
:lol: I know,,,I just wanted to say it again.... ;)
Wests Tigers don't need a Coach.. The playing group has taken over..

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