Round 13: Willow's match report

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Willow's match report and player review

Post by willow » Fri 04 Jun, 2010 10:41 pm

Round 13 of the Telstra NRL premiership saw the Wests Tigers travel to ANZ Stadium at Homebush to take on the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs for the second time this season. Round 1 resulted in a comprehensive 24-4 win to the Bulldogs as an injury depleted Tigers side fumbled and bumbled their way through the game to end a 4 match winning streak. Fast forward to round 13 and the Tigers were sitting in 6th spot on the competition table while the Bulldogs had lost their last 4 games in a row and were languishing in 13th position and under all sorts of pressure.

The Tigers entered the match minus regular first graders Keith Galloway, Blake Ayshford, Liam Fulton and Daniel Fitzhenry due to injury, while the Bulldogs were pretty much at full strength. The Tigers also entered this match with confidence though, as they were on a two game winning streak with a solid win over the Knights and a demolition of the New Zealand Warriors last week. Conditions for the match were terrible however, with almost 45mm of rain falling at Homebush during the day, which would no doubt make for slippery footing and would require an emphasis on ball control, winning the ruck and a good kick/chase. Could the Tigers continue their good form and gain revenge on the Bulldogs?

1st half:

The Bulldogs kicked off and the Tigers got away to a clean start. The Bulldogs looked to open the scoring in the 3rd minute as the Tigers fell off Luke Patten which resulted in Josh Morris streaking downfield to be pulled down just short of the line by the Tigers defence. It was a close call for the Tigers though. A lost ball from Beau Ryan in the 5th minute put the Tigers under pressure after they had come up with a good defensive effort on the previous set. A penalty was awarded to the Bulldogs after the Tigers were caught offside on the next play. Some good defence on the Tigers line forced a mistake from the Bulldogs though and they were able to come away safely.

The Bulldogs were awarded another penalty in the 9th minute as Gareth Ellis was too slow in getting off a player as the Bulldogs were pinned in their own corner. Mitch Brown came up with a fantastic effort in the 11th minute to make it back into the field of play after beating 3 players in the in-goal. The Tigers were given a relieving penalty shortly after. A dropped ball from Rob Lui on the next set saw their good field position wasted however. The game continued in arm wrestle mode as both sides focused on completing their sets and getting to their kick. Beau Ryan came up with a massive play in the 17th minute as he somehow defused what looked to be a certain 40/20. Benji Marshall kicked out on the full at the end of the set to put the Tigers under pressure unfortunately. The Tigers defence held however they were forced to come up with a line drop out. A bad miss from Rob Lui saw Bulldogs captain Andrew Ryan run into a hole and with Josh Morris in support, it was just a matter of drawing Beau Ryan and offloading. Morris scored under the posts to open the scoring and the try was converted by Goodwin to give the Bulldogs a 6-0 lead.

The Bulldogs lost the ball from the re-start just as they started to look dangerous out wide. This gave the Tigers their best opportunity for the match so far. A cross field bomb from Farah was easily defused by Jamal Idris. The Bulldogs came up with possibly their second try of the match as a Michael Ennis kick found the Tigers in-goal. Beau Ryan watched the ball inch towards the dead ball line as Jamal Idris steamed through. Luckily the ball touched the chalk. The Tigers forced a line drop out of their own on the next set as they made good ground downfield and Rob Lui came up with a good grubber kick. The Tigers levelled the score up in the 29th minute as Benji Marshall placed a grubber kick in behind the line which was spilled by Luke Patten, Simon Dwyer regathered and offloaded to Marshall who crossed under the posts. Marshall converted to level things up at 6-6.

The Tigers got to their kick from the re-start which was pleasing. Andrew Fifita conceded a penalty however which put the Bulldogs on the attack inside the Tigers half. Beau Ryan did well to defuse a grubber kick during the Bulldogs set. The Tigers were given a penalty in the 36th minute as Mitch Brown was dragged over the sideline in a second effort play. Simon Dwyer then lost the ball on the first tackle from the penalty. This gave the Bulldogs great attacking field position close to halftime. Chris Armit went close to scoring before throwing the ball up in the air, Todd Payten juggled the ball as Beau Ryan just managed to force the ball ahead of Michael Ennis. The Tigers had to come up with another line drop out though. A lost ball from the Bulldogs let the Tigers off the hook fortunately. The Tigers were caught with the ball on the last tackle with 20 seconds remaining to halftime, but fortunately it didn’t cost them. The teams went to the sheds at 6-6 at halftime.

Best players for the Tigers in the first half were Gareth Ellis, Chris Heighington and Benji Marshall while Junior Moors, Bryce Gibbs and Lote Tuqiri were all strong. Interestingly Robbie Farah did not run the ball at all in the first half. Possession favoured the Bulldogs while the Tigers had to make almost 20 extra tackles. Sheens had a long conversation with Farah and Marshall during the halftime break, hopefully whatever his instructions were would help the Tigers.

2nd half:

The Tigers kicked off and forced the Bulldogs to kick from within their own half. A nice grubber kick from Benji Marshall in the 43rd minute forced the Bulldogs to work the ball away from their own line. A clever grubber kick from Robbie Farah saw the Tigers go close to scoring in the 45th minute as Geoff Daniela went close to scoring however the Bulldogs forced the ball dead resulting in a line drop out. Benji Marshall came up with a knock on towards the end of the set as the Tigers were looking dangerous. Tigers prop Andrew Fifita came up with a very neat intercept in the 47th minute and the Tigers were awarded a penalty from a strip. Benji Marshall stepped up to take a shot at goal from 30 metres out and missed unfortunately. Andrew Fifita came up with another strong run from the re-start. The Tigers came close to scoring in the 50th minute as Rob Lui put in a grubber kick which just went dead.

The Bulldogs then forced a line drop out of their own as Robbie Farah was trapped in-goal in the 51st minute. The Bulldogs scored through Andrew Ryan beat Beau Ryan to the ball to score next to the posts. The try was converted to give the Bulldogs a 12-6 lead after 52 minutes. The Bulldogs looked to gain the ascendancy from the re-start as they made inroads into the Tigers half. A dropped ball from Jamal Idris in the 56th minute let the pressure off the Tigers temporarily. The Tigers were given 6 more tackle in the 57th minute as Michael ennis failed to regather a charge down. A double knock on gave the Tigers another crack at the Bulldogs line. Robbie Farah ran the ball for the first time in the 59th minute and scored under the posts to get the Tigers right back into the match. Marshall converted to even the score at 12-12 after 60 minutes.

The Tigers made good ground from the re-start however the Bulldogs came away with a 20 metre re-start. The Tigers were lucky in the 64th minute as the Bulldogs broke the Tigers out wide only to come up with a forward pass. A chip and chase from Benji Marshall in the 67th minute saw him regather the ball to offload to Beau Ryan who was unable to get the ball away to the Tigers support. The Bulldogs were caught with the ball on the last tackle on the next set and then the Tigers were awarded a penalty moments later. Rob Lui came up with the all important field goal in the 70th minute as Benji Marshall did a good job of distracting the Bulldogs defence. A great tackle from Todd Payten in the 72nd minute forced the ball loose from Andrew Ryan. Chris Lawrence did even better by coming up with a ball and all tackle on Luke Patten to force him in-goal in the 73rd minute. A nothing kick from Beau Ryan at the end of the set saw the Bulldogs come away with a 20 metre re-start. An attempted field goal from Brett Kimmorley in the 75th minute fell short and wide and Lote Tuqiri did well to bring the ball back into the field of play. Benji Marshall then did well to find touch at the end of the set.

Brett Kimmorley then knocked on in the 77th minute to give the Tigers the ball inside the Bulldogs half. The Tigers then wrapped up the match in the 78th minute as Simon Dwyer ran onto a brilliant pass from Benji Marshall. Dwyer hit the ball at pace and did well to beat Patten to score near the posts. Marshall converted to give the Tigers a 19-12 win in tough conditions.

Onto the players (stats to be updated):

1. Beau Ryan – Looks better at fullback than on the wing IMO and had a strong game tonight in heavy conditions. He was safe at the back and his dummyhalf running was again effective. Should he stay at fullback? I’m not sure, he does the job well but with Wade McKinnon now at the club, the mind boggles at how he would go in the Tigers backline. Regardless, I’m happy with Ryan at the back and he didn’t let anyone down tonight. 178 metres in attack, 3 tackle breaks, 2 errors.

2. Lote Tuqiri – Strong game tonight with some good running and didn’t let Turner get around him. Safe as usual and did his selection chances for Qld no harm at all. 171 metres in attack, 4 tackle breaks, 5 tackles.

3. Geoff Daniela – Quiet tonight as not a lot of ball went down the Tigers right side, with Lawrence and Tuqiri getting most of the ball. Daniela was ok although it was hard to notice him with the lack of ball he got, plus the Bulldogs did not send a great deal of traffic his way. 24 metres in attack, 9 tackles, 2 missed tackles.

4. Chris Lawrence – Good game tonight given the conditions. His hands were good tonight and he came up with some good runs plus his defence was rock solid. Outplayed Idris tonight and NSW could do far worse than selecting Rowdy for game 2 in SOO. 115 metres in attack, 22 tackles.

5. Mitch Brown – Also quiet tonight as very little ball went his way. Brown was safe though and came up with a very good play in the first half by beating 3 players in the Tigers in-goal when it looked like he would be trapped. Deserves to hold his spot, whether he does, who knows. 62 metres in attack, 3 tackles.

6. Benji Marshall – The lowlight was a kick out on the full in the first half, otherwise I thought Benji was one of the Tigers best and was busy all game. Some of his short kicks were very good, there was a grubber which Patten knocked on in the first half when Benji scored, as well as forcing a line drop out. Didn’t really take the line on as it was a very controlled performance from the Tigers. Great pass to put Dwyer in at the end of the game and seal the result too. 41 metres in attack, 4 tackle breaks, 1 try, 1 try assist, 1 linebreak assist, 13 tackles.

7. Rob Lui – Had a shaky start with the lowlight being a very poor miss on Andrew Ryan which resulted in the Bulldogs first try. He didn’t drop his head though and plugged away and I thought he was alright for the rest of the game. Came up with some ordinary kicks and also came up with a couple of good ones. At the end of the day it wasn’t his best performance, but he’ll learn from it and he’s still only a 20 year old finding his feet in first grade. 32 metres in attack, 14 tackles, 4 missed tackles, 1 error.

8. Bryce Gibbs – Pretty good game from Gibbs tonight. Came up with some very good tackles around the legs and did well with the ball in hand. Good effort I have to say. 115 metres in attack, 32 tackles.

9. Robbie Farah – Surprisingly he did not run the ball in the first half, which is unusual as Farah likes to probe around the ruck early. Defensively he was everywhere though and his kicking game was ok too. He was more prominent in the second half though and scored the vital try to get the Tigers back in the game. 21 metres in attack, 3 tackle breaks, 1 try, 1 linebreak, 48 tackles, 2 missed tackles, 1 error.

10. Todd Payten – Didn’t chew up big metres tonight, but his defence was excellent and he held the ruck very well I thought. Did all the little things well that generally go unnoticed and it was a good effort tonight. 69 metres in attack, 3 tackle breaks, 27 tackles, 2 missed tackles.

11. Mark Flanagan – Battled away well but I think the Tigers could benefit from a backrower with more impact, as Ellis and Heighno are both 80 minute workhorses and Flano really isn’t offering much in attack, as he gets dominated due to his size. Nothing wrong with his workrate and defence though. Good effort, but I just feel the Tigers may benefit from a bigger second rower out there. 48 metres in attack, 35 tackles.

12. Gareth Ellis – Picked up another MOM tonight, and the wet conditions obviously suit him. Very strong once again and proved a handful each time he ran the ball and defended strongly. Great performance and led by example once again. 156 metres in attack, 4 tackle breaks, 33 tackles, 1 error.

13. Chris Heighington – Another quality game from Rhino too. Didn’t have the same impact Ellis did, but was busy in attack and defence all night and really aimed up once again. Strong game. 127 metres in attack, 36 tackles.

14. Andrew Fifita – Pretty good again. Got stopped a few times while running the ball, but also came up with some good runs, swatting defenders out of his way once again. Very promising young prop and his second match against the Bulldogs was a big improvement over his first match against them. Also defended well but did give away 1 penalty which was his only real let down. Came up with a very nice intercept in the second half too. 86 metres in attack, 6 tackle breaks, 18 tackles.

15. Junior Moors – Very good game tonight I thought. Ran strongly and was a real handful for the Bulldogs defence. Idris tried to put a shot on him in the second half and came off second best as Moors just kept on running. Starting to look like he really belongs out there and his defence was sound. 77 metres in attack, 3 tackle breaks, 14 tackles.

16. Simon Dwyer – Impressive once again. Defended well around the ruck and ran the ball hard. He was rewarded with a try to seal the match as he ran a very nice line off Marshall and was too big and strong for Patten to do much about it. He’s young, he’s big, he’s mobile, knows how to tackle and run a good line…Very good player in the making here and he’s got plenty of improvement left in him. 49 metres in attack, 3 tackle breaks, 1 try, 1 linebreak, 22 tackles.

17. Sean Meaney – Did not get enough gametime to judge unfortunately.

Overall team analysis:

Attack:

Given the conditions the Tigers attack was hardly imaginative tonight, as they focused on completing their sets, getting to their kick and grinding away with the Bulldogs. There wasn’t a great deal of expansive play, but when the Tigers did go wide, the Bulldogs numbered up well. In the second half the Tigers changed their attack and worked harder at going through the Bulldogs and in the end it worked, as their bench offered more impact throughout the match and the likes of Ellis, Moors, Heighington, Gibbs and Dwyer all made ground up the middle and wide of the ruck. Farah, Marshall and Lui didn’t really take the line on with Farah being the exception in the second half when he scored under the posts.

Defence:

Overall it was good, although it looked very shaky at the start of the match when the Bulldogs almost scored. The Bulldogs only broke the Tigers once to score a try though, and their second was through a well placed grubber kick which Beau Ryan couldn’t quite get to in time. Rob Lui is a work in progress as far as defence goes. He came up with a terrible miss on Andrew Ryan and missed a few tackles for the match, but it’s something he will have to get used to, and his defence should only improve with experience and confidence. All of the forwards defended well and Chris Lawrence’s defence out wide was excellent.

Kicking game:

At times it was very poor, at other times it was effective and good. Marshall’s kicking game was probably the most effective followed by Farah. Lui came up with some ordinary kicks but to his credit also came up with a couple of decent kicks. Kicking in general is not one of the Tigers strengths though and they need Andrew Johns at training giving them some pointers.

Overall team stats (Bulldogs in brackets):

Try assists: 2 (2)
Offloads: 2 (7)
Line breaks: 2 (2)
Line break assists: 1 (0)
Tackles made: 330 (380)
1 on 1 tackles: 11 (19)
Missed tackles: 27 (43)
Tackle breaks: 43 (27)
Total metres made: 1385 (1242)
Possession: 53% (47%)
Completions: 39/46 = 85% (28/39 = 72%)
Errors: 8 (14)
Penalties conceded: 3 (4)

Overall it was tough grinding win for the Tigers which really wasn’t sealed until the 78th minute really. The Bulldogs looked the better of the two sides at halftime I thought however the Tigers second half was very controlled and they were able to swing around the possession deficit and play with much better field position. It was a good team effort and pleasing to see the side grind out a win against a determined Bulldogs side which tried hard all night but in the end they just couldn’t match it with the Tigers.

The forwards were all good and while it wasn’t a night for the backs, Benji Marshall, Chris Lawrence, Lote Tuqiri and Beau Ryan were all very good. Tonight’s win was basically worth 4 points to the Tigers as they head into the bye next week and welcome back Keith Galloway and Blake Ayshford in a couple of weeks. The team has certainly earned a good rest next weekend after a hard fought win tonight.
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Post by wtffl2005 » Fri 04 Jun, 2010 10:49 pm

Another good match report

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Post by Tigersmurf » Fri 04 Jun, 2010 10:54 pm

Hi Willow, good review although I can't agree with your summation of the performance of Ryan and Brown. I thought Ryan looked suspect and cost us a lot of ground as he was not returning the ball with any intensity. Brown on the other hand had quite a good game. He defended well and he made some critical runs off our own line.

Am really excited about Fifita and Dwyer! Dwyer runs similar lines to Ellis and has the same physique. I hope these guys hold their spot on the bench when Sauce comes back as they are real impact players for us.

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Post by bbobb » Fri 04 Jun, 2010 10:59 pm

Hi Willow - agree with most of your comments apart from Beau - he is a very average, one dimensional fullback.

His support play is poor at best and I thought he was found out in positioning himself for kick returnss a number of times. I do believe his enthusiasm is excellent and is actually my first choice for centre moving Ayshford to the utility role. Beau has the ability to throw a pass to set his winger up and can run a decent line. His one-on-one defence is adequate as well

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Post by Chris » Fri 04 Jun, 2010 11:00 pm

The way our forwards are going who says Sauce will be a walk up start? Great review mate pretty spot on I thought. Love the last pic you posted. What feud?


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Post by willow » Fri 04 Jun, 2010 11:15 pm

bbobb wrote:Hi Willow - agree with most of your comments apart from Beau - he is a very average, one dimensional fullback.

His support play is poor at best and I thought he was found out in positioning himself for kick returnss a number of times. I do believe his enthusiasm is excellent and is actually my first choice for centre moving Ayshford to the utility role. Beau has the ability to throw a pass to set his winger up and can run a decent line. His one-on-one defence is adequate as well
His support play isn't that poor. He was there to back up Benji when he chipped and regathered in the second half. McKinnon's support play is undoubtedly better, but we'll have to wait and see him in Tigers colours. Don't underestimate the 196 metres he made tonight either. They were big metres in slippery and heavy conditions.

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Post by Roysta59 » Sat 05 Jun, 2010 1:27 am

I only watched the second half
1- Ryan - Does not offer anything in attack (but he is so fit he eats up metres) is safe at the back
2- Lote -Big and strong and when he comes in looking for work is very dangerous (loves to tackles which is great)
3- Geoff Daniela - not many chances yet I think het I think he has something to offer
4- Chris - Big and strong plus defence was awesome - He smashed Idris (yes he offloaded, but that could of easily been a mistake) and he tackle Patten to mash him back in goal. Am a big fan
5- Brown -Didnt get much ball but run strong and unlike Fitzy he does not get dragged back
6- Benji - Hot and cold but the rain dont help a classy player. Great ball to Dwyer plus looked strong in defence
7- Lui - Has a great long pass and is strong in defence when is straight up. Would like him to run more as he is so strong
8- Gibbs- His line speed in defence is great, never going to win a game but a true workhorse and less mind blows this year.t
9- Farah - Always a big fan
10- Todd - Did not see much although his defence was good.
11- Mark - I think he would be an ok centre....a little small but masive heart
12- Ellis - I took a few not league boys to the last 2/3 games and all have been fans of his. so strong, so tough -Love him
13 - Hieno - I am a boxer so I love this guys heart - would love to see him box as he never stops -great player
14. Andrew Fifita – This guy must be as strong as an ox - he lacks pace (for now) but throws players off him like it's easy plus has good hands, if he develops an offload the kid will be gold
15. Junior Moors – good game tonight I thought. Ran strongly and was a real handful for the Bulldogs defence. Idris tried to put a shot on him in the second half and came off second best as Moors just kept on running. Starting to look like he really belongs out there and his defence was sound. 63 metres in attack, 11 tackles.
16. Simon Dwyer – No way this guy is only 104kg....he looks massive. him and Fifita are the future (they both defend next to each other in the second half....thats a safe spot as there is no way players want to run there)
17. Sean Meaney - Did not get much game time

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Post by Paris Cobbs » Sat 05 Jun, 2010 1:57 am

Thanks Willow, as always. I managed to see the game and was very pleased overall with our character tonight. We could have dropped our heads when the Dogs scored first in the second half after we had dominated, but we kept on plugging away and gradually overcame them.

In a couple of weeks Sheens is going to have to make some difficult selection choices, when Galloway and Fulton return. On tonight, you wouldn't drop any of our forwards. Our bench was sensational and they are all likely to get better.
Cheering for the mighty Wests Tigers, all the way from France.

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Post by willow » Sat 05 Jun, 2010 10:48 am

Player and team stats updated, mostly improvements all round for the Tigers.

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Post by cnx_tigers » Sat 05 Jun, 2010 10:54 am

Good report. We got a bit lucky last night, that was a shocking "knock on" call against the Dogs (clear pass backwards) and I think they'd of scored for sure. Also Benji's poor kick was charged down by Ennis and we scored off the repeat set. Lucky breaks, but we'll take them :)

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Post by southerntiger » Sat 05 Jun, 2010 10:58 am

I will have to watch that again. My initial thought was that it was forward from the hands but the players momentum made it look like it went backwards. As I recall it he threw it from behind the line and it was received in front of the line.

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Post by cnx_tigers » Sat 05 Jun, 2010 11:04 am

All bias aside, it was a shocking call from the ref. If it had of cost us the game, we'd all be blowing up deluxe :)

These things even out over a season though. We deserved a break or two.

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Post by G. Strombolli » Sat 05 Jun, 2010 11:08 am

Thanks Willow.

Some highlights: Ellis, Ryan saving the 40/20, Lawrence tackling Patten into the in-goal was poetry in motion, Moors bumping off Idris like it was nothing (why doesn't he get more time?) and Payten's defence late in the game.

Great match.

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Post by southerntiger » Sat 05 Jun, 2010 11:10 am

Cnx as I said I will have to watch it again. Bias may have affected my perception but I thought it was forward. I tend to think too many forward passes these days are let go and I would agree that is one that usually wouldnt be picked up.

I agree that I would have been blowing up if it was the Tigers though.

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Post by senexx » Sat 05 Jun, 2010 11:15 am

It was forward. The ball passed before the line, received in front of the line. A forward pass is a forward pass is a forward pass.
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Post by southerntiger » Sat 05 Jun, 2010 11:18 am

senexx wrote:It was forward. The ball passed before the line, received in front of the line. A forward pass is a forward pass is a forward pass.
Thats how I saw it Senexx. I couldnt understand why the commentators were blowing up. It seemed clear to me.

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Post by softlaw » Sat 05 Jun, 2010 11:21 am

Not actually how the laws of the game work senexx.

I haven't watched it again but from the replays at the time I remember it coming out of his hands slightly forward and then bouncing further forward. ie. a forward pass just but generally wouldn;t be blown up.
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Post by southerntiger » Sat 05 Jun, 2010 11:27 am

softlaw wrote:Not actually how the laws of the game work senexx.

I haven't watched it again but from the replays at the time I remember it coming out of his hands slightly forward and then bouncing further forward. ie. a forward pass just but generally wouldn;t be blown up.
Softlaw you're right. Balls are allowed to float forward but this wasnt one of them. As you rightly say, it was thrown forwards out of the hands and continued going forward.

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