Willow's match report and player review

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Willow's match report and player review

Post by willow » Sun 25 Jul, 2010 7:26 pm

Round 20 of the Telstra NRL Premiership saw the Wests Tigers travel up to Bluetongue Stadium at Gosford to take on Manly for the second time this year. It was home game for Manly which suited the Tigers as they have a terrible record at Brookvale Oval and both sides had an unblemished record at Bluetongue, although that would most certainly change today. The Tigers suffered a let blow losing fullback Wade McKinnon to a knee strain which saw Daniel Fitzhenry move to fullback and Andrew Fifita promoted to the bench. Manly had no changes and were at full strength.

Could the Tigers continue their winning run and beat Manly for the second time this season?

1st half:
The Tigers received the ball and looked very sharp in their first set, almost scoring in their first set as they spread the ball down the left side through Lawrence and Tuqiri, a kick ahead by Lote was too deep though. The Tigers were given a penalty in the 3rd minute however Daniel Fitzyhenry was hit in a solid tackle and ruled to knock the ball on despite it bouncing backwards. It didn’t prove costly though as Whatmough walked off the mark moments later to give the Tigers another penalty. Manly had a good chance to attack the Tigers line in the 7th minute however a grubber kick went over the dead ball line to let the Tigers off the hook. The Tigers opened the scoring in the 9th minute through a penalty goal to Benji Marshall after Robbie Farah caught Josh Perry offside.

The Tigers continued to look sharp early on as they enjoyed the majority possession and went close to scoring in the 14th minute however Manly forced the ball dead. From the drop out The Tigers worked it towards Manly’s line and went close to scoring through Liam Fulton who was cut down just short of the line. A cross field kick from Farah on the last saw Chris Heighington come down with the ball to score the Tigers first try. Marshall converted to give the Tigers an 8-0 lead. A big call went against the Tigers in the 17th minute as Anothony Whatmough charged down a kick from Marshall and was ruled to not play at the ball which gave Manly great attacking position and they didn’t waste any time in hitting back through Shane Rodney as he stepped back through some weak Tigers defence. Lyon converted to bridge the gap to 8-6.

The tide of the game started to really turn in the 22nd minute as Manly received a soft penalty to get them out of their own half and they scored their second try as a result. It came on the back of Steve Matai who beat a very poor attempt from Blake Ayshford and offloaded back inside for Foran to score under the posts. Lyon made no mistake with the conversion and Manly now led 12-8 after 25 minutes. Again the Tigers gave away a cheap penalty from the re-start to let Manly right back in their own half again and this time forced the Tigers into a line drop out. Manly went in again through Jamie Lyon this time as he crossed for a simple try after Hodgkinson who offloaded with Lui and Tuqiri hanging off him. Lyon converted his own try to extend Manly’s lead to 18-8 after 31 minutes.

Again the Tigers were their own worst enemy giving away yet another penalty from the re-start to give Manly great field position once again. The Tigers defence held this time and they were able to come away from their own line. The Tigers then got some luck of their own as Manly spilt a grubber kick allowing the Tigers to attack Manly’s line. Robbie Farah came up with a terrible pass which went into the grandstand though, although replays showed Steve Matai hit him in the head after he passed the ball. This gave the Tigers a penalty and Matai was then sin binned for slapping Farah on the back as players rushed in from everywhere. Marshall threw a great ball to Fulton only to see him chopped down just short of the line but Rob Lui went one better when he juggled a pass from Farah and scooted through to score out wide. Marshall missed the conversion to leave the Tigers trailing 18-12 and back in the game. It wasn’t to be though as Farah threw a poor pass moments later to put the Tigers under more pressure and Manly scored right on halftime to extend their lead again to 24-12.

Best for the Tigers in the first half were Todd Payten and Keith Galloway who were both strong with the ball and Liam Fulton was very busy in defence once again.

2nd half:
The Tigers kicked off and got away to a poor start as they gave away another cheap penalty to let Manly out of their own half. The Tigers defence fortunately held on this time. The Tigers came up with a good piece of play in the 44th minute as they spread the ball down the right hand side of the field through Ayshford and Manly were forced to kick the ball over the sideline to save a try as Ayshford kicked ahead for himself. The Tigers received a penalty in the next set while attacking Manly’s line and they scored on the last tackle through Blake Ayshford as Benji Marshall threw a great cut out pass to him. Marshall’s conversion missed again to leave the Tigers trailing 24-16.

A massive bomb from Marshall in the 50th minute saw The Tigers regather the ball through Tuqiri only for him to throw a forward pass to Todd Payten coming through in support. Manly turned the ball over to the Tigers shortly after, only for Simon Dwyer to give the ball right back to them after a couple of strong runs earlier. Lote Tuqiri did well to defuse a bomb shortly after but was unable to hold onto it forcing the Tigers into a line drop out. Manly went ahead further through Jamie Lyon as he did very well to reel in a cross field kick to outjump Chris Lawrence. He converted his own try to extend Manly’s lead to 30-16 after 55 minutes. The Tigers rallied again though as they received a penalty in the 57th minute and received a back-to-back penalty as John Skandalis entered the match. Liam Fulton lost the ball shortly after but Mitch Brown did well to steal the ball back. The Tigers got yet another penalty while camped right on the Manly line. They then hit back through Tuqiri after he latched onto another good pass from Marshall and crashed over the top of Farrar to score in the corner. Marshall again strayed badly with the conversion to leave the Tigers trailing 30-20 with 20 minutes to go.

The Tigers received a decent chance to attack inside Manly’s half in the 63rd minute however Liam Fulton dropped the ball on the first tackle. Manly in turn pushed back at the Tigers and went close to scoring however a grubber kick from Matai went touch in goal. Manly put the game beyond doubt in the 67th minute as Farrar crossed under the posts as Manly did well to keep the ball alive with some good offloads up the middle of the field. Lyon converted to blow the scoreline out to 36-20. Manly added a further 2 points to their tally in the 72nd minute through a goal to Lyon as Skandalis wouldn’t let go of Whatmough in a tackle. There would be no further change to the score as Manly ran out comprehensive 38-20 winners over an undeniably flat Tigers outfit.

Onto the players:

17 - Daniel Fitzhenry – Shifted to fullback with the loss of Wade McKinnon and played poorly, finishing the game on the wing as Mitch Brown was deemed a safer and more effective option. Fitzy tries most of the time, but it is painfully apparent that he just isn’t up to FG standard most of the time. He submitted far too easily in tackles and just looks pedestrian out there. I can’t find a place for him in the Tigers 17, but I’m sure Sheens will. 76 metres in attack, 1 tackle, 1 missed tackles, 1 error. 3/10.

2 - Lote Tuqiri – Had a couple of good moments and scored a good try in the second half but ultimately didn’t get a huge amount of ball today. One of the better Tigers out there today, particularly in a backline which didn’t really threaten a great deal today. 72 metres in attack, 1 try, 2 linebreaks, 3 tackle breaks, 3 tackles, 1 error. 7/10.

3 – Blake Ayshford – Mixed bag again from Biggles as he came up with a poor miss on Matai in the first half which led directly to a Manly try, while he clawed back a try of his own in the second half just as he did against the Cowboys. Reminds me of Lawrence’s early days in defence where he would drop off tackles and if he can put on a few kilos and gain some more strength, I’m sure he will be stronger defensively next season. Had a couple of ok runs but capable of better. 89 metres in attack, 1 try, 1 linebreak, 4 tackle breaks, 13 tackles, 4 missed tackles, 1 error. 6/10.

4 – Chris Lawrence – Kept well in check today and received limited opportunity in attack while he was sound in defence. It sort of went with the way the Tigers played with the backline not really getting a chance to fire. 55 metres in attack, 1 linebreak assist, 13 tackles. 5/10.

5 – Mitch Brown – Did ok with limited opportunity once again. Came up with a nice try saver on Robertson late in the game and a good one on one steal too. Finished the game at fullback. 70 metres in attack, 4 tackles, 1 error. 5.5/10.

6 – Benji Marshall – Goalkicking again was very poor. His running game was also quiet as Manly kept Benji in check. Threw a couple of dodgy passes early, but threa a couple of great passes to Ayshford and Tuqiri to score. General kicking was far from great as well, but he has developed a very good bomb when he hits it right. Missed a couple of tackles too. 55 metres in attack, 2 try assists, 2 linebreak assists, 1 offload, 5 tackle breaks, 6 tackles, 2 missed tackles, 1 error. 6.5/10.

7 – Rob Lui – Needs to find his feet in FG again as he scored a try but also let one in with a poor attempted tackle. Allowed Marshall to play a bit wider but the backline just didn’t gel today. Hopefully he will be a bit sharper against Cronulla next week. 20 metres in attack, 1 try, 1 linebreak, 9 tackles, 4 missed tackles. 5.5/10.

8 – Bryce Gibbs – Down in attack again today and needs to lift coming into the business end of the season. Defence was ok but capable of better. 88 metres in attack, 26 tackles, 4 missed tackles. 6/10.

9 – Robbie Farah – Quiet today and didn’t offer a lot of spark in attack, with a couple of uncharacteristic poor passes going over the sideline. He will want to bounce back next week and needs to. 47 metres in attack, 1 try assist, 1 offload, 35 tackles, 2 errors. 5/10.

10 – Keith Galloway – Strong today and the Tigers best forward I thought. Made good ground and took 3 players with him on every run. Still not at his best, but there were promising signs for Keith and he’ll be up for a big one against his old club next week. 113 metres in attack, 4 tackle breaks, 2 offloads, 16 tackles. 7.5/10.

11 – Todd Payten – Good game from Todd today too, making good metres and defending well. Along with Galloway, he is the only real forward who can hold his head high after today IMO. 136 metres in attack, 1 offload, 23 tackles, 2 missed tackle, 1 error. 7/10.

12 – Liam Fulton – Poor hands today, dropping a couple of passes which was a shame after last Monday’s good effort. Did plenty of tackling, but his attack let him down today. 64 metres in attack, 2 offloads, 4 tackle breaks, 36 tackles, 2 errors. 6/10.

13 – Chris Heighington – Unusually quiet today despite scoring the Tigers first try. Way down on attack and well handled by Manly when he did run the ball. Several errors late in the game also dulled his performance. 57 metres in attack, 1 try, 1 offload, 28 tackles, 3 errors. 5.5/10.

14 – John Skandalis – Came on pretty late in the game and only played the last 20 minutes. Had a couple of ok runs, got penalised late in the game which cost the Tigers 2 points, but the result was decided by then anyway. Sheens used both props sparingly today which was unusual, and didn’t work either. 38 metres in attack, 10 tackles, 2 missed tackles. 5/10.

15 – Mark Flanagan – The Ab King only played the last 20 minutes or so as well which was unusual. Tried as usual, but didn’t have much of a chance to shine with the Tigers playing catch up football poorly. 35 metres in attack, 19 tackles. 5/10.

16 – Simon Dwyer – Mixed bag today, gave away a couple of cheap penalties but had a couple of strong runs and busy in defence when he was out there. The learning curve continues. 53 metres in attack, 22 tackles. 6/10.

20 – Andrew Fifita – Only played a short stint in the first half when the Tigers were under the pump and wasn’t sighted in the second half, so I don’t know whether he was injured or Sheens was just unimpressed. 17 metres in attack, 10 tackles, 3 missed tackles. Not really fair to rate him based on 15 minutes.

Overall Team Analysis

Attack – It didn’t look cohesive today with the Tigers backline failing to fire, despite 3 tries coming through the backs. The forward pack failed to get on top of the Sea Eagles with only Galloway and Payten making over 100 metres in attack, Heighington was unusually quiet, as was Farah and Fulton who failed to impress in attack. Out wide Tuqiri had a couple of good moments but that was about it really. Marshall threw a couple of great passes in the second half which led to tries, but didn’t take the line on enough and didn’t create enough uncertainty among the Manly side. Despite the Tigers failing to gel and excite in attack, they still scored 20 points which was pleasing.

Top metres – Payten (126), Galloway (125), Fitzhenry (75). Marshall had 2 try assists and 2 linebreak assists to his name.

Defence – This was the most disappointing aspect of the Tigers game today. The team did look flat, but the urgency and scrambling defence was absent today and some poor misses really hurt the Tigers, with Ayshford and Lui the main culprits in the first half. Fulton, Farah and Gibbs were all busy in defence.

Top tacklers – Fulton (36), Farah (35), Gibbs (28).

Kicking game – Poor today and didn’t really put Manly under any pressure apart from a couple of brief moments early in the game. Marshall put up a couple of bombs which Manly couldn’t handle and this tactic should be used more often when inside the opposition half. The long kicking was poor though.

Overall team stats (Subject to change and Manly in brackets):

Try assists: 3 (6)
Offloads: 9 (11)
Linebreaks: 4 (5)
Linebreak assists: 2 (3)
Tackles made: 274 (262)
1 on 1 tackles: 19 (20)
Tackle breaks: 26 (28)
Missed tackles: 28 (26)
Total metres made: 1088 (1209)
Possession: 49% (51%)
Completion rate: 27/35 = 77% (27/32 = 84%)
Errors: 10 (10)
Penalties conceded: 5 (9)

Part of me thinks the Tigers had this loss coming, the Tigers looked a bit flat today and it certainly showed with some poor defence and a lack of urgency defending their own line which cost them dearly in the first half. Another criticism I have is the use of the interchange bench today. Fifita was used in one short stint in the first half and wasn’t sighted again. I didn’t see what he did so poorly. Skandalis didn’t make it on until the final 20 minutes, same with Flanagan and the Tigers were playing catch up at that point. That just didn’t make sense today.

So the Tigers return to Leichhardt next Saturday night and will be looking to get things back on track with a win over Cronulla. Hopefully the side will be boosted by the return of Ellis, McKinnon and Ryan. Today while disappointing to lose, the Tigers were far from their best yet still scored 20 points. There are plenty of things to work on, and with a bit of effort and a better overall mentality, the Tigers can get back in the winners circle next week.


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Post by Newy Tiger » Sun 25 Jul, 2010 7:37 pm

Good review mate spot on with the scores.

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Post by king sirro » Sun 25 Jul, 2010 7:40 pm

I thought Farah was our best in the first half and deserved more than a 5.
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Post by Geo. » Sun 25 Jul, 2010 7:52 pm

Hows this for some stats

Wests Tigers turned over the ball

0 tackle Once
1st tackle 3 times
2nd tackle 3 times
3rd tackle Once
Last tackle Once...

That was just the first half...

Great report Mate.....just like being there....
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Geo nailed it...

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Post by PYMBLEPETE » Sun 25 Jul, 2010 8:00 pm

That is exactly the way I saw it Willow.

I will note that I was disappointed with Mitch Brown's defensive read for Manly's second try; I thought he clearly had to take the man with the ball (cant recall who) but to his credit he was strong thereafter and showed more pace in that last covering tackle than I thought he had.

It really was the loss that has been coming for a while and that we probably had to have.

Anyway onward and upward .... lets give the Sharks a hiding and fix up our F&A.


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Post by willow » Sun 25 Jul, 2010 8:01 pm

king sirro wrote:I thought Farah was our best in the first half and deserved more than a 5.
Not with the 2 passes he threw over the sideline. One of those passes cost the Tigers 6 points.

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Post by king sirro » Sun 25 Jul, 2010 8:10 pm

willow wrote:
king sirro wrote:I thought Farah was our best in the first half and deserved more than a 5.
Not with the 2 passes he threw over the sideline. One of those passes cost the Tigers 6 points.

Fair enough. Probably fair to say his 2 bad passes cost us 10-12 points as i think Brown was in for sure if Farah found his chest........but in saying that, Farah created that whole play like no other hooker could. Hard one to judge really.
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Post by willow » Sun 25 Jul, 2010 8:16 pm

king sirro wrote:
willow wrote:
king sirro wrote:I thought Farah was our best in the first half and deserved more than a 5.
Not with the 2 passes he threw over the sideline. One of those passes cost the Tigers 6 points.

Fair enough. Probably fair to say his 2 bad passes cost us 10-12 points as i think Brown was in for sure if Farah found his chest........but in saying that, Farah created that whole play like no other hooker could. Hard one to judge really.
Yeah, I see what you're saying Sirro. If it came off he would have looked like a hero, but it was one of those days where it didn't. Sheens said in the ABC interview that the knock to the head by Matai wasn't faked and Farah was basically a passenger in the second half.

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Post by king sirro » Sun 25 Jul, 2010 8:21 pm

Mate, me and da missus argued with the in-laws on this. They thought he was faking, but to me it was obvious he was ko'd. If someone like Matai collects u with a forearm when u not expecting it, it can do some damage. and Farah has shown that he can be ko'd when not looking (Watts). Im offended if anyone suggests he faked it.
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Post by cuzzo » Sun 25 Jul, 2010 8:37 pm

Geo. wrote:Hows this for some stats

Wests Tigers turned over the ball

0 tackle Once
1st tackle 3 times
2nd tackle 3 times
3rd tackle Once
Last tackle Once...

That was just the first half...

Great report Mate.....just like being there....
We do like to chance our arm in attack but this is useally more prominent when we are chasing tail, scoreboard pressure. This is also not helped by the conversion percentage. Ayshford struggled last week and again today. Poor defence dropping off tackles failing the lock up the ball he wasn't the only one though, Manly really dominated us with their offloads & 2nd phase play. Robbie's dummy half running in the 1st 20 minutes today really put us on the front foot & I was thinking were on today but it wasn't spotted after the 20 minute mark. Another thing was the fact that everytime Manly got inside their 20 they scored, lazy defence missed tackles. Lawrence was good but had limited ball. Confidence is a massive thing for young guys, Fifita, Brown, Moors, Dwyer, Daniella we need to to get them in the side and persist with them. Do away with the dead wood, Skando, Fitsy, Flanagan? Once Ryan comes back in with Daniella I believe there is no reason to continue with Fitzhenry as a stop gap.
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Post by willow » Sun 25 Jul, 2010 8:38 pm

Player and team stats updated.

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Post by tiger tigers » Sun 25 Jul, 2010 9:01 pm

cuzzo wrote:
Geo. wrote:Hows this for some stats

Wests Tigers turned over the ball

0 tackle Once
1st tackle 3 times
2nd tackle 3 times
3rd tackle Once
Last tackle Once...

That was just the first half...

Great report Mate.....just like being there....
We do like to chance our arm in attack but this is useally more prominent when we are chasing tail, scoreboard pressure. This is also not helped by the conversion percentage. Ayshford struggled last week and again today. Poor defence dropping off tackles failing the lock up the ball he wasn't the only one though, Manly really dominated us with their offloads & 2nd phase play. Robbie's dummy half running in the 1st 20 minutes today really put us on the front foot & I was thinking were on today but it wasn't spotted after the 20 minute mark. Another thing was the fact that everytime Manly got inside their 20 they scored, lazy defence missed tackles. Lawrence was good but had limited ball. Confidence is a massive thing for young guys, Fifita, Brown, Moors, Dwyer, Daniella we need to to get them in the side and persist with them. Do away with the dead wood, Skando, Fitsy, Flanagan? Once Ryan comes back in with Daniella I believe there is no reason to continue with Fitzhenry as a stop gap.
daniella isnt a first grader full stop ...and definately not a centre.....

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Post by Marshall_magic » Sun 25 Jul, 2010 10:07 pm

willow wrote:
king sirro wrote:I thought Farah was our best in the first half and deserved more than a 5.
Not with the 2 passes he threw over the sideline. One of those passes cost the Tigers 6 points.
It only cost us 4 points. Benji would've missed the goal ;)

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Post by Paris Cobbs » Mon 26 Jul, 2010 12:53 am

Thanks Willow, as always. Reading your reports helps restore my blood pressure levels.
Cheering for the mighty Wests Tigers, all the way from France.

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Post by NZTiger » Mon 26 Jul, 2010 6:41 am

Yep. Spot on with review once again. Disappointing that the Tigers let an opportunity to go clear 2nd and gain 2 points on dragons but there was unfortunately no commitment there.
I'm a little worried about the Sharks but at least we'll have a few players wanting to make up a disappointing effort and maybe a few coming back from injury. Marshall may get a fair bit of goalkicking practice next weekend.....hopefully.
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