Willow's match report and player review

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willow
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Willow's match report and player review

Post by willow » Sat 27 Feb, 2010 10:20 pm

The Wests Tigers final trial of 2010 saw them travel to Bluetongue Stadium, at Gosford on the NSW Central Coast to take on the Cronulla Sharks in the first of two matches being played. The Sharks practically named enough players to run two sides, showing their intent to trial many players. The Tigers went with a more traditional lineup for this match, with a 5 man bench. Tigers winger Daniel Fitzhenry was ruled out of this match and was replaced by Geoff Daniela on the wing. Young up-and-comers Jake Mullaney and Chris Corby were added to the Tigers bench.

Conditions were sunny and quite warm and the ground was in excellent condition. The Tigers were looking for an improved showing after a disappointing last start effort against the Roosters. So would they deliver...

1st half:

The Tigers got away to a shaky start as halfback Tim Moltzen kicked out on the full on the Tigers first set. This gave the big Sharks side a chance to attack the Tigers early, however some good early defence from the Tigers saw the Sharks lose the ball. The Tigers first real chance came in the 7th minute as Bryce Gibbs charged towards the line, however he was penalised for a shephard, allowing Sharks off the hook (no pun intended). The Sharks looked to score first in the 12th minute when Mitch Brown spilt a bomb on the Tigers line, the Sharks touched down but the Tigers were awarded a penalty as Brown was pushed away from trying to ground the ball.

Wests Tigers opened the scoring in the 16th minute through Chris Heighington as Robert Lui threw a great ball close to the line to hit Heighno on the chest who managed to crash over between two defenders. Tim Moltzen was given the goalkicking duties with Benji Marshall sitting on the sideline and he made no mistake with the wide conversion to give the Tigers a 6-0 lead.

The Tigers were at it again 5 minutes later as Robbie Farah scooted out of dummyhalf to find Robert Lui who went straight through the middle of the Sharks pack. Lui drew the fullback and offloaded back to Farah who scored near the posts. Moltzen had an easy time of it with the conversion and the Tigers were up 12-0 and looking the far more dangerous of the two sides, despite dropping plenty of ball.

A couple of minutes later Lui was at it again, this time with his right foot, as a well placed and timed kick resulted in the Sharks being pinned in the in-goal. The Tigers looked set to score several tackles later through Heighington however the Tigers were penalised for obstruction. The Tigers defence meanwhile was holding up well to the Sharks attack, anything they tried, the Tigers had an answer for, although I must say, the Sharks attack still looks predictable.

The Tigers extended their lead close to halftime, as big Keith Galloway crashed over from close range next to the posts in the 36th minute. Again, Moltzen had no dramas with the conversion. The Sharks had their best chance of the half go to waste just before halftime, as Blake Ferguson beat an attempted tackle by Lui and raced away downfield. Young Tigers fullback Jake Mullaney came across in cover and as Ferguson tried to pass, his support player knocked the ball on. It was a good first up test for young Mullaney. The Tigers went to the sheds up 18-0 and looking the dominant side.

2nd half:

The Tigers started the second half poorly, with the Sharks making good ground from the kickoff and then forcing the Tigers into their in-goal. They proceeded to score several plays later as one of their big forwards got away an offload to young half Albert Kelly who beat a couple of Tigers defenders to score under the posts. Luke Covell had no trouble with the conversion and the Sharks were back in the game at 18-6. It was shortlived however as the Sharks coughed the ball soon after, allowing the Tigers to go on the attack. Mitch Brown extended the Tigers to 22-6 after Robert Lui offloaded in a 3 man tackle to eventually find Chris Lawrence, the master of the draw-catch-and-pass to put Brown in the corner. Moltzen's conversion attempt missed to leave the Tigers in front at 22-6.

The Tigers continued to build pressure as Robert Lui looked very dangerous in beating the Sharks up the middle of the field again. A grubber kick from Farah caught the Sharks in-goal in the 58th minute and the Tigers were awarded a penalty on the next set. From this set the Tigers crossed again through captain Robbie Farah as he rolled his way over the line. Moltzen missed the conversion to leave the Tigers leading 26-6 and well in control.

The Sharks managed to score again through winger Isaac Gordon who showed great pace getting around a couple of Tigers defenders to streak away down the sideline before racing around to touch down under the posts. Covell had an easy time landing the conversion and the score was back to 26-12 ater 65 minutes. Any chance of a Sharks fightback ended shortly after as Tigers halfback Tim Moltzen scored a fine individual try after showing a neat left foot step to beat a couple of Sharks defenders close to the line to score. Moltzen converted his try to extend the Tigers lead to 32-12.

Minutes later Tigers almost looked to score again as Rob Lui took the Sharks line on, throwing a beautiful pass intended for Mitch Brown. A desperate Sharks hand was the only thing blocking Brown from his second try of the match. The Tigers weren't finished however, as import Gareth Ellis looked set to score as he crashed over the line only to be held up by some desperate Sharks defence. Chris Heighington scored his second try shortly after though as he crashed through the Sharks defence. Moltzen's conversion attempt was ugly - it went nowhere near the posts unfortunately, however the damage was done as the Tigers lead 36-12. The score remained this way for the next couple of minutes as the Tigers ran out clear winners.

Onto the players...

1. Mitch Brown - From what I saw he's no better at fullback than Moltzen. He dropped an early bomb from the Sharks and didn't have a whole lot to do in attack. He was easily handled when he did run the ball. He can finish a backline movement though as Chris Lawrence put him in for a try in similar fashion to last week. Is he the Tigers answer to their fullback problem? I don't think so based on what I have seen so far.

18. Daniela - Played the first half and didn't have a whole lot to do. Easily handled in attack and nothing to write home about in defence. I'd be much more inclined to have Fitzy in on the wing ahead of him but above that I'd like to see Rhys Pritchard given a run as he has shown good trial form and ticks the pace, elusive and finsishing boxes.

3. Ayshford - Pretty quiet again today. Not a whole lot of ball was thrown his way but Ayshford is looking comfortable in the centres and defending fairly well.

4. Chris Lawrence - Solid game today and better than last week in that his hands didn't let him down. Took a bit of stopping each time he ran the ball and it's great to see him injury free. Good defence and put Brown in the corner with a nice catch and pass. It would be nice to see him get some quality ball this year.

5. Ryan - Came up with some good tackles and held his own in attack, although to real attack was thrown down his side of the field. He almost scored late in the game with a nice grubber and chase but the ball just beat him over the in-goal line. More than likely has one wing sport sewn up.

6. Robert Lui - What a difference a week makes, or a number on his back, I'm not sure. Whatever the case, Lui was very good today and was dangerous in attack, making a couple of linebreaks, throwing some excellent passes and his general kicking was also good. Defensively he was fine apart from one bad miss on Blake Ferguson at the end of the first half. He certainly put forward his claim to start the season in first grade, but I'll talk more about this later.

7. Tim Moltzen - A bad kick out on the full early was Moltzen's worst mistake. Otherwise he went alright at halfback, although took a backseat to Lui and Farah. Scored a nice try in the second half and looks a better prospect at half than he does at fullback. Goalkicking was ok, but he's no better than Benji in this department. Didn't take on a huge role in general kicking with Lui and Farah running the show predominantly. He's in the 17 somewhere...Just not sure whether it will be 1 or 7.

8. Bryce Gibbs - Not a bad game from Bryce. Defended very well and did ok in attack. Doesn't surge forward like Galloway does, but he offers good support to KG and is a different type of player. Got some good gametime and looks set for a good season from what I can see so far.

9. Robbie Farah - Turned in a man of the match performance today, just shading Lui. Showed plenty of spark out of dummyhalf and the Sharks had no real answer to him. Scored two tries, defended well and came up with a couple of neat kicks. Looks set for a bumper season.

10. Keith Galloway - Good strong game from KG. Ran with purpose and apart from an early dropped ball, there wasn't much to complain about with his game today. Came up with several strong one-on-one tackles in the second half and if he stays injury free, he's surely going to press for rep selection once he's fully match fit.

11. Gareth Ellis - Good game from Ellis as he ran hard as usual, got away the occasional offload and defended strongly. Looked to score a try late in the game only to be held up and other than that...there wasn't much else I could pick up really. Might have given away a penalty and dropped a ball but that's about it.

12. Liam Fulton - Not as prominent in attack today as he was last week, but he defended well and got through plenty of work without throwing up. Looks to have a starting position wrapped up.

13. Chris Heighington - Strong game from Heighno today, 2 tries, some good hard running and decent defence. Heighno is hopefully in for a stronger season than last year and certainly looks very fit. He's hitting the line in attack with more pace and not getting bent back and went well against the big Sharks pack today.

14. Jason Cayless - Decent game from Cayless, he's slowly getting there, looked a bit more comfortable than last week and made decent ground up the middle. Didn't take anyone's head off with his elbow today and defended quite soundly from what I saw. The way he's shaping up, he'll make a very good replacement for Galloway when it's time for an interchange.

15. Junior Moors - Not bad today, used to replace Gibbs and probably about as effective as Gibbs in attack IMO. He's a strong looking bloke and I think he'd be a bit more effective wide of the ruck, but Sheens looks set to use him as a front rower so he's doing the hard yards up the middle instead. I'd have him in my starting 17.

16. Mataka - A slightly smaller version of Moors, although noticeably quicker. Willie came on with 20 minutes to go and looked ok from what I saw. Didn't get a whole lot to do in attack, but he hits the line hard and defended well. I wouldn't complain if he is in the top 17 but with Payten still to return from injury someone has to miss out...Or do they?

19. Chris Corby - Came on with 7 minutes to go. Had one bad blunder in knocking on the kick off after Heighington's second try. Otherwise he looked sharp out of dummyhalf and if he goes well in the State Cup, he'd be my choice to substitute for Farah should he miss any matches.

22. Jake Mullaney - Played around 43 minutes today. Didn't do anything poorly although didn't look dangerous in attack. He was easily handled by the Sharks defence and his size will be a liability in first grade at the moment I feel. Is he the Tigers answer to the fullback position? Not on what I saw today.


Overall Analysis:

Attack - Much better than last week. There was more purpose and direction in the Tigers attack today. The Tigers forwards went forward, Farah got out of dummyhalf quickly and Lui took the line on, and it worked. Farah and Lui were the two main attacking catalysts for the Tigers today with some good support from Moltzen. There was still plenty of dropped ball and handling errors from the Tigers, but with the ball in hand they were clearly the more dangerous side and more like the attacking outfit we know them as.

Some questions still remain though...Who does Sheens play at fullback? Going off today, Brown is not better than Moltzen at fullback. Moltzen meanwhile was solid at 7, but was outplayed by Lui. Lui took the line on and caused the Sharks plenty of problems, his passing game was very good and his kicking game was 1000% better than last week. He certainly put forward a strong claim to start in FG. I'm just glad I'm not selecting the side for round 1.

Mullaney meanwhile had a sound game at fullback, but wasn't given any room to move and when he lurked around the ruck in attack, he was easily met by the Sharks defence. I have no doubt he can play fullback in FG, but I don't think he's there yet.

Defence - Also much improved from last week. The Sharks boasted a pretty big side but were handled well by the Tigers today. Blake Ferguson looked the best of their outside backs but he only found open space once after beating Lui. For the most part, Cronulla's attack is predictable, and the Tigers had an answer to everything that was thrown at them. The team just needs to watch the offloads, that's what hurt them as the Sharks 2 tries both came from big forwards getting away offloads.

Kicking game - Again, far superior to last week with Lui finding open space with little difficulty. The Tigers forced two line drop outs, one from Lui and one from Farah and apart from Moltzen kicking out on the full at the start of the game, the only other poor kicking option came from Moltzen in the second half when he put one straight down the throat of the Sharks fullback, although the Tigers chase was good and he went nowhere.

Overall today was a much improved effort from the Tigers. There were plenty of handling errors from both sides which frustrated the decent crowd, however the Tigers were clearly the more dangerous side. They looked composed in defence and were just a bit quicker than the Sharks in everything that they did. General kicking was solid, the forwards laid a platform and Farah and Lui were dangerous up the middle of the field.

It now begs the question as to who start the year at fullback and halfback for the Tigers. With Benji Marshall to return from injury, Tim Sheens needs to bite the bullet over Lui or Moltzen. Both had fine games today although Lui was definitely the more dangerous today. Based on what I saw, Mullaney is not the answer at fullback, not yet anyway.

And on the forwards, does injured prop Todd Payten walk back into the starting side with no trial form and match fitness under his belt? Personally I'd give him a week or two in State Cup. Some may see it as a big call, but the Tigers pack today was good, and I'd be less inclined to fiddle with it at this stage.

For any other Tigers fans who were up at Gosford today, please feel free to add your comments.
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Geo.
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Post by Geo. » Sat 27 Feb, 2010 10:34 pm

I wasn't there but now I feel as though I was....thanks for the report mate informative as ever....

One question........ Did Lui predominately attack down the left hand side of the field and how was his passing game left to right?

Maybe two...How many minutes did Keith play?
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Post by willow » Sat 27 Feb, 2010 10:37 pm

Geo. wrote:I wasn't there but now I feel as though I was....thanks for the report mate informative as ever....

One question........ Did Lui predominately attack down the left hand side of the field and how was his passing game left to right?

Maybe two...How many minutes did Keith play?
Yeah Lui attacked predominantly down the left where he was very dangerous, but he also went right a couple of times, throwing some decent passes. The right side was Moltzen's domain mainly though.

Galloway and Gibbs probably played 45 minutes each.

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Post by hybrid_tiger » Sat 27 Feb, 2010 10:39 pm

Lui seemed to have a roving role, but I'd say he was more often than not down the left side. He and Farah really ran the show.

Galloway played probably around 50 minutes all up.

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Post by Geo. » Sat 27 Feb, 2010 10:56 pm

Hmmm ...seems Lui is much more comfortable down the left ..just as Benji is....plays better with a roving commission,,just like Benji does...

Still got me buggered why Sheens is pumping for that 7 6 combo...

At least Moltzen can play down the right a lot more naturally.........
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Post by Sabre » Sat 27 Feb, 2010 11:24 pm

did Lui spend any time at halfback?

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Post by Yossarian » Sat 27 Feb, 2010 11:56 pm

I pretty much agree with how you saw it Willow. I thought our forwards did a good job of making metres and resticting the Sharks. Daniela was ordinary. For me it will be 1. Moltzen 2 Brown 5 Ryan 6 Marshall 7 Lui when Round 1 team is announced.

Interesting night - very intense atmosphere for a trial especially the Roosters v Eels game.

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Post by Yossarian » Sat 27 Feb, 2010 11:58 pm

Sabre wrote:did Lui spend any time at halfback?
Hard to say really - we more seem to have split halves rather than the 5/8 playing inside the half back. Moltzen and Lui did their fair share of playmaking/kicking.

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Post by tiga4eva » Sun 28 Feb, 2010 12:13 am

Do you think(if fit) Payten will be in the 17 for Rd1.If no,who will be Bench Props considering Gibbs and Sauce appear certs.to start.

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Post by Balmain Bug » Sun 28 Feb, 2010 12:29 am

Great report Willow.

Daniela and Brown very poor.

If Lotto is back I will go with

1. Lawrence
2.Lotto Tiquri
3. Ayshford
4. Marshall (The wider the better for Benji, he will destroy them out here)
5. Ryan
6. Lui
7. Moltzen

If Daniela or Brown get a start the Fonz will be making a very poor mistake. We all know there are half a dozen better players than them that we can use.
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Post by Yossarian » Sun 28 Feb, 2010 12:50 am

Balmain Bug wrote:Great report Willow.

Daniela and Brown very poor.

If Lotto is back I will go with

1. Lawrence
2.Lotto Tiquri
3. Ayshford
4. Marshall (The wider the better for Benji, he will destroy them out here)
5. Ryan
6. Lui
7. Moltzen

If Daniela or Brown get a start the Fonz will be making a very poor mistake. We all know there are half a dozen better players than them that we can use.
Brown was better than Daniela but yeah Lote (assuming he is ready to play round 1) and Ryan will play on the wings. Marshall would be dead set wasted in the centres. I like Lawrence at FB but happy enough with him as he is.

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Post by TheSunTanSuperman » Sun 28 Feb, 2010 2:14 am

[quote="Balmain Bug"]


4. Marshall (The wider the better for Benji, he will destroy them out here)
quote]

And you bag Tim Sheens selections?

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Post by westTAHger » Sun 28 Feb, 2010 8:09 am

was at the game. willow has summed it up perfectly.
it was first time I have seen them play this year, IMO good solid performance.
there will be ' fine tuning' done with the backs, as forwards looked to work well together.
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Post by tigergirlz » Sun 28 Feb, 2010 8:36 am

Thanks for the report Willow.
Marhsall locked into a centre position :( . He is the ultimate rover at 6 :D, but it seems that Lui is also at home at 6
The 7,1 combo is a dilemma :?: I really liked the way Moltzen and Marshall play together at 7 and 6

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Post by red dogg » Sun 28 Feb, 2010 8:48 am

it looked like ellis, heigno and fults payed the 80 mins.
which u would then think we would play kg and gibbs start and payton/moors and cayless on the bench. that beefs up our pack

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Post by shiretiger » Sun 28 Feb, 2010 9:01 am

willow wrote: 18. Daniela - Played the first half and didn't have a whole lot to do. Easily handled in attack and nothing to write home about in defence. I'd be much more inclined to have Fitzy in on the wing ahead of him but above that I'd like to see Rhys Pritchard given a run as he has shown good trial form and ticks the pace, elusive and finsishing boxes.
He must be ordinary to be edged in your opinion by the WT greatest try scorer

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Post by alexaki » Sun 28 Feb, 2010 9:01 am

Willow you are a deadset legend with your reports. We are so lucky "to have you on our side"..your reports are a great read, unbiased and leaves me feeling well informed. Thanks for the great work!!:-)

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Post by JET » Sun 28 Feb, 2010 9:13 am

Why not consider Pritchard for full back! He is big, strong and has pace galore.His defence has improved out of sight.
I have watched him playing for the Magpies and believe he could fit into the backline in any position. I am told he played 5/8 for most of his Junior days and represented in that position. I believe he is streets in front of Daniels and Brown.

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