Willow's match report and player review

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Willow's match report and player review

Post by willow » Sun 20 Jun, 2010 7:58 pm

Round 15 of the Telstra NRL premiership saw the Wests Tigers return to Leichhardt Oval for the first time this season. Greeted with a perfectly sunny Sunday afternoon, a huge crowd was on hand to see the Tigers take on the Green Machine in their second clash this season. The first clash saw the Tigers overhaul a big first half deficit to mow down the Raiders in the second half in a very entertaining game. Tigers fans would be hoping the Tigers could put their foot down early and not let up against the big Raiders pack.

The Tigers entered this match welcoming back Blake Ayshford, Keith Galloway and Daniel Fitzhenry from injury while Wade McKinnon made his debut in Wests Tigers colours at fullback. The Raiders welcomed back origin players Joel Monaghan, David Shillington and Tom Leahroyd-Lars in a big boost for their side. So how did today’s match unfold?

1st half:

The Raiders kicked off out on the full to start the match gifting the Tigers a penalty on the halfway line. The Tigers then received a second penalty in good attacking range and crossed in the 2nd minute through Beau Ryan as Robbie Farah threw a nice cut out pass which was touched by a Raiders player but eventually found Blake Ayshford who headed for the corner and turned the ball inside for Ryan who carried one defender over the line to score. Marshall converted from the sideline to give the Tigers a very good start.

Both teams started energetically and the Tigers forced a mistake from the Raiders in the 5th minute however the Raiders defence held firm. The Tigers were awarded their second penalty of the match in the 8th minute after Rob Lui was ruled to have been hit late in a tackle. The Tigers got close to the Raiders line however a grubber kick by Lui was defused by the Raiders. Beau Ryan was hit in a solid tackle in the 10th minute and appeared to clutch his shoulder, thankfully he regained his feet. The Tigers were also showing some good ball movement early with plenty of runners willing to hit it up. The Raiders started to work their way into the game though and started to get away some offloads from the 15th minute mark.

A Raiders charge down in the 16th minute was fortunately regathered by the Tigers and they were awarded another penalty shortly after. A grubber kick by Marshall for Tuqiri in the 17th minute looked dangerous however Tuqiri just put his foot over the sideline. A poor pass from the Raiders in the 19th minute saw Marshall swoop on the ball only to pass it forward as he fell awkwardly with Tuqiri on his outside. Canberra opened their scoring account in the 23rd minute as the they put the ball through the hands and found the Tigers short out wide. The try was converted to level the score at 6-6.

The Raiders big men now started to look dangerous as they rolled forward, bending the Tigers line back. A classic Tigers scrumplay in the 24th minute saw Chris Lawrence put Lote Tuqiri down the sideline only for Tuqiri to lose the ball as the cover defence came across. The Raiders were then able to build some pressure of their own however the Tigers defence was equal to the challenge. A very risky but ultimately exciting last tackle play from the Tigers in the 29th minute saw the Tigers cut through the Raiders through Benji Marshall as he put in a grubber kick for himself and regathered before offloading to Chris Lawrence who drew the fullback and threw a pass to Tuqiri however it was intercepted by the Raiders.

The scoreboard would remain unchanged to halftime as the match developed into an arm wrestle with the Raiders starting find regular offloads while the Tigers scrambled desperately. It almost ended with tries for both sides though as first Robbie Farah made a great bust up the middle of the field from his own side of halfway only to be caught a metre short of the line. Benji Marshall knocked on the following play and Canberra counter-attacked, first Lote Tuqiri came up with a try-saver on a runaway Raiders player, only for them to again break the Tigers and centre Joel Thompson got across the line only to be held up with Rob Lui hanging on for dear life and Junior Moors lending support late. It was a thrilling final 2 minutes to end the first half with both sides starting to tire from the look of it.

Best for the Tigers in the first half were Gareth Ellis, Chris Heighington, Robbie Farah and Benji Marshall. Wade McKinnon also looked to position himself well at fullback.


2nd half:

The Tigers kicked off but came up with the first mistake of the second half as Todd Payten attempted an offload which was dived upon by the Raiders who went on the attack. A crossfield kick from Campese saw Joel Monaghan outleap Beau Ryan for the ball however the video ref was unable to decide and the referee correctly ruled “no try” as Beau Ryan ended up with the ball. The Tigers were able to come away from their own line without incident. The Tigers created an overlap in the 44th minute as Chris Heighington found open space before offloading to Chris Lawrence who was on the outside of Vidot, however Vidot did well to get a hand to the ball and prevent Lawrence from getting a clean take on it. Canberra continued to go to the air on the last tackle however Beau Ryan was solid under the high ball.

Lote Tuqiri did well to beat several tackles in the 47th minute and avoid being driven into the in-goal. Despite the low score it was an exciting game to watch. The Tigers came up with a good defensive set in the 50th minute as they tried to lift and go with the Raiders. Robbie Farah did well to get a penalty on the back of a quick play the ball from Marshall. This put the Tigers on the attack inside the Raiders half and they looked set to score as Benji Marshall threw a looping cutout pass for Beau Ryan who was unmarked however the pass just too far in front for Ryan to take and it went over the sideline. Marshall was now lifting his involvement rate and looking dangerous. A strong run from Joel Monaghan saw the Raiders get out of their own half with ease on the next set and they actually got across the tryline again through Joel Thompson as Junior Moors brought him down just short of the line and he spilt the ball trying to score.

A forward pass from Rob Lui brought an end to a Tigers attacking movement in the 55th minute. It was shame as the Tigers had an overlap and Lui just held onto the ball a fraction too long. Another Raiders last tackle kick looked dangerous as the Tigers got an ugly bounce only for the Raiders to knock it on. Both teams continued to chance their arm with ball movement only for errors to kill them on the last play. A key turning point came in the 62nd minute as Lote Tuqiri was penalised for a shepherd. The Raiders took the shot at goal after some deliberation and went ahead 8-6 with 16 to go. Wade McKinnon was also replaced with Daniela Fitzhenry coming on. Bryce Gibbs also cut Shaun Fensom in half with a brilliant one on one tackle.

A great break by Lote Tuqiri in the 65th minute saw him streak down the sideline before coming back in field and offloading to Heighington who was unable to take the pass and crashed to the turf. Heighington was then penalised for a lifting tackle on Bronson Harrison however there didn’t look to be much in it. The Raiders then coughed the ball moments later to let the Tigers off the hook. Again the Tigers attacked the Raiders line, with Robbie Farah putting in a grubber kick which was just a bit too hard as Benji Marshall came streaking through. Daniel Fitzhenry defused a good bomb in the 68th minute. A crossfield bomb from the Raiders in the 69th minute was taken by Heighington. A kick out on the full in the 72nd minute by Campese gave the Tigers a decent chance to attack inside the Raiders half. The raid was brought undone by a forward pass from Marshall to Heighington however.

The Tigers came up with a charge-down in the 73rd minute as Robbie Farah put good pressure on the Raiders, The Tigers were able to pounce on the ball as a result. The highlight of the match unfolded shortly after as Wests Tigers brought up their 1000th try in spectacular style as they kept the ball alive with numerous offloads and went from one side of the field to the other. The ball eventually ended up in the hands of Beau Ryan who grubber kicked for himself and won the race the ball to score out wide. Marshall landed the sideline conversion to put the Tigers ahead 12-8 with 4 minutes remaining. The Raiders attempted a short kick off but knocked the ball on to give the Tigers a scrum feed 35 metres out from their own line. From the scrum, Daniel Fitzhenry took the ball and stepped his way through several Raiders players and raced away to score under the posts to seal a nailbiting win for the Tigers in front of a packed house. Marshall made no mistake with the conversion. The Tigers almost ran in another spectacular try only for the last pass to be ruled forward to Rob Lui.

Chris Heighington was aptly awarded channel 9 MOM in a tireless effort, however their were many great performances with Robbie Farah, Benji Marshall, Gareth Ellis, Beau Ryan and Lote Tuqiri all having strong games.

Onto the players:

1. Wade McKinnon – Solid debut in Tigers colours as he positioned himself well at fullback and played roughly 65 minutes before being replaced. Came up with a couple of errors but you could also see him sniffing around the ruck on occasions and he’ll surely be better for the run in weeks to come. 84 metres in attack, 5 tackle breaks, 7 tackles, 1offload, 2 errors.

2. Lote Tuqiri – Came up with a couple of errors of his own today as the Tigers were definitely rusty from the bye and also gave away a penalty but he did play strongly overall, coming up with a couple of linebreaks and a game high 11 tackle breaks. Strong effort from Lote overall. 131 metres in attack, 2 linebreaks, 9 tackle breaks, 2 errors, 5 tackles.

3. Blake Ayshford – Welcome return to first grade for Blake and I thought he had a solid game, particularly in defence where he was very safe. Not as many opportunities in attack, but after spending several weeks on the sidelines, Ayshford will certainly improve. Good effort all the same. 68 metres in attack, 3 tackle breaks, 24 tackles, 2 offloads, 1 try assist.

4. Chris Lawrence – Solid game from Rowdy as he was heavily involved all game and did his SOO chances no harm at all. Looked dangerous on a couple of occasions and defended well. 90 metres in attack, 4 tackle breaks, 17 tackles and 2 errors.

5. Beau Ryan – Beau knows Leichhardt Oval alright, as he raced in 2 tries and defused several bombs in good fashion today. Copped a heavy knock early which looked to hurt him, and got hit hard several times throughout the game but battled on well and had the last laugh, scoring the Tigers first try, and a great second try to retake the lead with 5 to go. Very good game. 80 metres in attack, 2 tries, 1 linebreak, 5 tackle breaks, 6 tackles, 1 error.

6. Benji Marshall – Came up with a few errors today but he chanced his hand and it didn’t always come off. He was still one of the Tigers most dangerous though and handled the ball twice in Ryan’s second try. Looked to turn a corner with his goalkicking too as he landed two sideline conversions. 90 metres in attack, 6 tackle breaks, 2 linebreak assists, 1 try assist, 10 tackles, 4 errors.

7. Rob Lui – Threw a couple of ordinary passes but he was very busy in defence today with 32 tackles. Kicking game was ok without being great. Only 10 games into his first grade career so while he looks shaky on some occasions, he’s also good in others and only going to get better with experience. 27 metres in attack, 30 tackles, 4 missed tackles, 2 errors.

8. Bryce Gibbs – Not as much impact in attack today, but Gibbs was very good in defence which was highlighted by a crunching tackle on Fensom in the second half. Hopefully he can up the attack next week against the Dragons. 54 metres in attack, 26 tackles.

9. Robbie Farah – Very good today and surely deserves to play Origin but I’d rather him be left alone to concentrate on the Tigers as it’s obviously working. Came up with an awesome line break in the first half and topped the tackle count for the Tigers. Kicking game was ok also. 129 metres in attack, 1 linebreak, 1 linebreak assist, 2 offloads, 39 tackles, 2 missed tackles.

10. Todd Payten – Better attacking game today as Toddy made decent metres and also defended well as usual. 103 metres in attack, 22 tackles.

11. Mark Flanagan – His attack lets him down as he doesn’t chew up the metres in the way that Ellis and Heighno do. Nothing wrong with his defence though. I think there has to be some pressure on him though with Simon Dwyer doing the job well and Liam Fulton due back soon. 43 metres in attack, 25 tackles.

12. Gareth Ellis – Another strong game from the big G today. Was a handfull all game and defended well as usual. One of the Tigers best. 143 metres in attack, 28 tackles, 3 missed tackles.

13. Chris Heighington – Channel 9 MOM today and hard to argue. He was in everything and while he came up with a dropped ball with the tryline in sight in the second half, Heighno was in everything and deserves a blues jersey IMO. 105 metres in attack, 1 linebreak, 7 tackle breaks, 32 tackles, 1 error.

15. Junior Moors - Another decent effort off the bench from Junior today. Didn't seem to get huge minutes but he went forward and defended well. 37 metres in attack, 21 tackles, 1 offload.

16. Simon Dwyer - Again looked solid out there and while he didn't break the Raiders line, he did do some good things and got away a couple of offloads which he is renowned for. 63 metres in attack, 2 offloads, 21 tackles.

17. Daniel Fitzhenry - Credit where credit's due, Fitzy did well today in his short little stint in the backend of the game. He got driven hard in one tackle, but his shimmy through the Raiders pack from the Tigers scrum win just before fulltime was great and he just had enough pace to hold on as his stride was shortening close to the line. 112 metres in attack, 1 try, 1 linebreak, 3 tackle breaks.

19. Keith Galloway - Big red didn't play many minutes today, he was clearly short of a run but still bent the line in attack which was good to see. he missed a couple of tackles as match fitness got the better of him, but hopefully he can play a few more minutes next week. 53 metres in attack, 14 tackles, 4 tackle breaks, 1 offload.


Overall Analysis:

Attack:

A C+ today. The Tigers were clearly rusty from the bye, despite being energetic. An excellent early completion rate faded later in the game as fatigue set in. The Tigers had enough opportunities to blow the Raiders away yet the last pass came unstuck on many occasions. Tuqiri, Lawrence, Ryan, Heighington, Lui, they all had chances to score if the last passes had of stuck or not gone forward. Marshall looked dangerous but came up with several errors which also hurt the Tigers.

The forward pack had their work cut out against the Raiders pack. Gibbs, Galloway, Dwyer and Moors didn't make as many metres as I would have liked to see, however Ellis, Heighno, Farah and Payten all made good ground. Out wide, Tuqiri was dangerous, Ryan was safe and scored a double, Ayshford was solid and Lawrence was good once again. McKinnon was also pretty solid and will be better for the run after not playing for a few weeks.

Defence:

Once again the Tigers stood tall in the tackling department. The Raiders got away their share of offloads however the Tigers scrambled well all game and saved 3 tries through last ditch efforts. The forwards all defended well, Ayshford and Lawrence handled the Raiders centres well for the most part and Lui got through 32 tackles which is the most he has made in FG.

Kicking game:

Along with the Tigers handling, this was a weak point, although not truly poor, the kicking game didn't really build pressure and the Raiders had an easy time of it at the back. Farah and Lui found open spaces a couple of times, but it continues to be a sore point for the Tigers.

Overall team stats (Subject to updating) (Raiders in brackets):

Try assists: 2 (1)
Offloads: 13 (19)
Line breaks: 6 (4)
Line break assists: 4 (3)
Tackles made: 325 (310)
Missed tackles: 29 (54)
Tackle breaks: 54 (29)
Possession: 50% (50%)
Completion rate: 25/42 = 60% (27/39 = 69%)
Total metres made: 1410 (1482)
Errors: 17 (12)
Penalties conceded: 4 (5)


This game looked pretty exciting to watch on TV, and with a full house at Leichardt, I'm sure it would have been great to watch there too, if at times frustrating. I say frustrating because once again the Tigers handling let them down, today in numerous situations when they had broken the Raiders and looked set to score, or go close to scoring. The flair was there, the execution wasn't unfortunately. This will need to be fixed for next week as the Dragons will not be so forgiving at home at Kogarah.

Overall it was a gritty team performance though and in the scheme of things, a very important win as the game was in the balance with only a few minutes remaining. Fortunately the Tigers finished off a tough Raiders outfit.

Today's win put the Tigers into 3rd position on for and against and now they have to combat a short turnaround to take on competition leaders St George Illawarra at Oki Jubilee Oval in what should be another local derby sellout. The Dragons sit 4 points clear however they are definitely beatable and the Tigers have the gameplay to knock them over if they can improve their completion rate from today.

Comments, thoughts welcome as usual. :sign:


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Post by everett » Sun 20 Jun, 2010 8:42 pm

Great review Willow once again. McKinnon will be better for the run. Lote hands let him down so many times. Lui needs to improve his attack but with 32 tackles it appears he was targeted by the Raiders. Flannagan stats don't read well and it's about time he is replaced by Dwyer and Moors in the starting line up and Fifita back on the bench. Once Galloway builds up some match fitness he can start at prop and Payten back to second row. I thought we missed Daniele with his speed and footwork. He would have scored a couple of tries today. A win is a win and our defence has improved since the Souths beating. St George played today so both teams will have the same 5 day turnaround plus they will have Gasiner back to haunt us.
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Post by willow » Sun 20 Jun, 2010 9:11 pm

Player and team stats updated.

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Post by softlaw » Sun 20 Jun, 2010 9:15 pm

Thanks as always Willow!
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Post by norm » Sun 20 Jun, 2010 9:17 pm

Great work as usual mate, thanks.


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Post by shiretiger » Sun 20 Jun, 2010 9:26 pm

willow wrote:Today's win put the Tigers into 3rd position on for and against and now they have to combat a short turnaround to take on competition leaders St George Illawarra at Oki Jubilee Oval in what should be another local derby sellout. The Dragons sit 4 points clear however they are definitely beatable and the Tigers have the gameplay to knock them over if they can improve their completion rate from today.

Comments, thoughts welcome as usual. :sign:

The Dragqueens got sick of the Oki Chokey jokes that they have renamed their home WIN Jubilee. Other than that, a great review of todays game.

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Post by Paris Cobbs » Mon 21 Jun, 2010 6:58 am

Thanks Willow, I rely on the accuracy of your analysis. I only saw the second half - but the better team won. Marshall 3/3 goals, that has to bring a smile to the face.
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Post by smeghead » Mon 21 Jun, 2010 8:54 am

Thought Flanagan offered more overall than Dwyer today.

To be completely honest though I would think it is Fulton who has to earn his way back into this side upon his return (although he may get a chance with injury etc)
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Post by TIGER » Mon 21 Jun, 2010 9:55 am

Certainly Morrs made more than 37 metres and Lote making 131 they must be counting sideways Metres. Heighno played out of his skin but i would of given mom to Ryan he was outstanding.

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Post by tigeress » Mon 21 Jun, 2010 12:33 pm

Again thanks for your insights on the game, Willow. We won the game, so I am happy ! Hopefully there are no players injured, as we will need this momentum to continue for the game against St George.

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Post by bradexl » Mon 21 Jun, 2010 2:04 pm

Nice read Willow...As always

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Post by Geo. » Mon 21 Jun, 2010 4:12 pm

Total metres made: 1410 (1482)
Ha 72 metres....that accounts for 4 pathetic chases where the Raiders ran 20/30m before the defensive line was there...

Nice work Willow.....hard to argue...

Except....Toddy deserved a better rap than 'as usual'....reads danger and shuts it down better than most Wests Tigers....
Wests Tigers don't need a Coach.. The playing group has taken over..
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Post by Tiger Watto » Mon 21 Jun, 2010 4:17 pm

Well done Willow.

With the extent you review the games, I think you should give a rating out of 10 for each player.
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Post by The Eclipse » Mon 21 Jun, 2010 5:15 pm

smeghead wrote:Thought Flanagan offered more overall than Dwyer today.
Indeed he did but it seems some people are determined to see him out of the side.

Mark is going ok and will only get better.

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Post by willow » Mon 21 Jun, 2010 6:32 pm

Geo. wrote:
Total metres made: 1410 (1482)
Ha 72 metres....that accounts for 4 pathetic chases where the Raiders ran 20/30m before the defensive line was there...

Nice work Willow.....hard to argue...

Except....Toddy deserved a better rap than 'as usual'....reads danger and shuts it down better than most Wests Tigers....
I guess I just expect him to be good defensively each game mate, he makes so many important tackles around the ruck.

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