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Post by willow » Sun 15 Aug, 2010 7:34 pm

Wests Tigers sink teeth into Penrith at Campbelltown Stadium


August 15, 2010

Englishman Gareth Ellis has bagged a second-half double to lead Wests Tigers to a runaway 43-18 NRL victory over Penrith at Campbelltown Sports Stadium.

Ellis terrorised the Panthers' right side defence, scything through to score in the 58th and 70th minutes to ensure the Tigers' top four hopes remained on track.

Interchange forward Andrew Fifita also scored two as the Tigers scored seven tries to three in a largely grinding affair, with five-eighth Benji Marshall continuing his new kicking form by booting seven from seven in front of 17,208 fans.

Disappointing Penrith have now lost five of their last sixth and, despite sitting in second place when the weekend began, are now in danger of missing out on a home final.

The Tigers led 18-6 at halftime but put in a shocking first set after the break and Penrith capitalised with a 42nd-minute try to Michael Gordon.

After Marshall had put in a poor short-range grubber in his own half, Gordon busted the tackle of Robert Lui and Chris Lawrence when he appeared to be wrapped up and sprinted 20m to make it 18-12.

Lui created Ellis' first, drifting and creating a hole for the Englishman to crash over and make it 24-12 in the 58th minute.

The Panthers were denied six minutes later when second-rower Frank Pritchard was judged to have promoted the ball in a double movement, but Michael Jennings scored after good work from Luke Lewis and Pritchard in the 67th.

Tigers man mountain Fifita was held up in the 70th minute but, after Robbie Farah had added a field goal, crashed over for his second in the 77th.

Centre Chris Lawrence then improved his side's for and against with a final minute four-pointer.

The Tigers scored three first-half tries, but also bombed a sitter.

After Penrith had opened the scoring through Pritchard in just the sixth minute, Lui only needed to fall on a perfect bounce from a Farah grubber in the 12th but spilled it cold.

The home side threw three intercept passes in the first 40 minutes but finally got on the board with a controversial 21st minute ref's call try.

Fifita was ruled to have been stripped as he bulldozed towards the line, despite what looked to be a loose carry, and Farah grounded the scraps.

Seven minutes later Fifita got his own four-pointer and the Tigers grabbed a 12-6 lead after an offload from Gareth Ellis.

It was 18-6 when Lui made amends with classy individual run a minute before the siren.


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Post by willow » Sun 15 Aug, 2010 7:36 pm

Tigers steal third from Penrith

Updated August 15, 2010 17:23:00

Englishman Gareth Ellis bagged a second-half double to lead the Wests Tigers to a runaway 43-18 victory over Penrith at Campbelltown Sports Stadium on Sunday.

Ellis terrorised the Panthers' right side defence, scything through to score in the 58th and 70th minutes to ensure the Tigers' top four hopes remained on track.

Interchange forward Andrew Fifita also scored two as the Tigers scored seven tries to three in a largely grinding affair, with five-eighth Benji Marshall continuing his new kicking form by booting seven from seven in front of 17,208 fans.

Long-time Wests veteran John Skandalis said Fifita has an exciting future at the club.

"That's encouraging to the Tigers and for himself," he told Grandstand.

"He's just got to keep working hard and he'll be around a long time if he keeps his head on and he shows what he can do.

"I'm excited to see how he progresses the next few years."

Disappointing Penrith has now lost five of its last six and, despite sitting in second place when the weekend began, is now in danger of missing out on a home final.

The Tigers led 18-6 at half-time but put in a shocking first set after the break and Penrith capitalised with a 42nd-minute try to Michael Gordon.

After Marshall had put in a poor short-range grubber in his own half, Gordon busted the tackle of Robert Lui and Chris Lawrence when he appeared to be wrapped up and sprinted 20 metre to make it 18-12.

Lui created Ellis' first, drifting and creating a hole for the Englishman to crash over and make it 24-12 in the 58th minute.

The Panthers were denied six minutes later when second-rower Frank Pritchard was judged to have promoted the ball in a double movement, but Michael Jennings scored after good work from Luke Lewis and Pritchard in the 67th.

Tigers man mountain Fifita was held up in the 70th minute but, after Robbie Farah had added a field goal, crashed over for his second in the 77th.

Centre Chris Lawrence then improved his side's for-and-against with a final minute four-pointer.

On the grind

The Tigers scored three first-half tries, but also bombed a sitter, and Lawrence said the final scoreline belied the tough nature of the contest.

"It was a physical game, that first half was pretty quick starting, there was a bit of dropped ball," he said.

"But the second part of second half was a lot of grind from both sides, same in that first bit of the second half ... it was only the last 10 minutes we really blew it out."

After Penrith had opened the scoring through Pritchard in just the sixth minute, Lui only needed to fall on a perfect bounce from a Farah grubber in the 12th but spilled it cold.

The home side threw three intercept passes in the first 40 minutes but finally got on the board with a controversial 21st minute ref's call try.

Fifita was ruled to have been stripped as he bulldozed towards the line, despite what looked to be a loose carry, and Farah grounded the scraps.

Seven minutes later Fifita got his own four-pointer and the Tigers grabbed a 12-6 lead after an offload from Ellis.

It was 18-6 when Lui made amends with classy individual run a minute before the siren.

Wests coach Tim Sheens will be pleased that his side's mid-week retreat to Kiama on the New South Wales south coast had at least some effect on the battle-weary Tigers.

"That was planned sort of before last week's game, no matter win or loss," Lawrence said.

"[It was] a bit of a reminder that there's only four weeks left in the comp, and where we're at and what we want to achieve, so it's a good freshen-up to get away from Sydney.

"We definitely don't have an easy run coming into these finals and no game's easy, so we've got to play semi-final footy starting from now and try just to win at all costs."

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Post by willow » Sun 15 Aug, 2010 7:38 pm

WESTS TIGERS BEAT PENRITH 43-18 IN NRL
By Wayne Cousins
15/08/2010 4:49:31 PM

Wests Tigers got their finals campaign back on track with a thrilling 43-18 victory over Penrith Panthers at Campbelltown Sports Stadium today in round 23 of the Telstra Premiership.

The victory moves Wests Tigers to 30 points and into third place on the ladder with three rounds remaining. Many experts feel 30 points is needed to secure a place in the finals.

Wests Tigers were led out today for their final home match at Campbelltown for the season by five-year-old Lleyton Giles, who is battling a life threatening liver condition. Lleyton walked out with captain Robbie Farah and placed the match ball down on half-way with Benji Marshall before kick-off.

Penrith opened the scoring in the seventh minute when five-eighth Travis Burns popped an inside pass to second-rower Frank Pritchard to score near the posts.

Winger Michael Gordon converted the try for a 6-0 lead.

Wests Tigers half-back Robert Lui bombed a certain try in the 11th minute when he failed to place his hands on a grubber kick from dummy half by hooker Robbie Farah.

A controversial try was awarded to Wests Tigers hooker Robbie Farah in the 21st minute after he had lost the ball just metres from the tryline.

Referee Gavin Badger called on video referee Steve Clarke to determine whether Fifita lost the ball and not stripped in attempting to score. It came back Refs Call with Badger awarded a try to Farah after he grounded the loose ball in goal.

Five-eighth Benji Marshall converted the try from next to the posts for a 6-6 all scoreline after 22 minutes.

Fifita was not to be denied a try when some inside passing and a short ball by second-rower Gareth Ellis saw Fifita dive across the line to score. Marshall converted the try to give Wests Tigers a 12-6 lead after 30 minutes.

A minute before half-time, Wests Tigers half-back Robert Lui spotted a gap and got on the outside of the defence to race 15 metres to score for a 16-6 lead. Marshall converted the try to give Wests Tigers a handy 18-6 lead at half-time.

2nd Half

Penrith got back into the game two minutes after half-time when Gordon picked up a loose pass to push off Lui and Chris Lawrence to find open space and run 20 metres to score for an 18-10 scoreline.

Gordon converted his own try to leave Penrith trailing 18-12 after 44 minutes.

A short pass by Lui in the 58th minute saw second-rower Gareth Ellis beat one defender to dive over next to the posts to give Wests Tigers a 22-12 lead.

Marshall converted the try for a 24-12 lead after 60 minutes.
Penrith were denied a try in the 64th minute when the video referee ruled a double movement against Pritchard in scoring next to the posts. It would have made it 24-16.

It did get back to 24-16 three minutes later when centre Michael Jennings dived over from five metres after a strong bust by Pritchard. Gordon converted the try for a 24-18 scoreline.

Ellis then scored his first ever double for Wests Tigers when he crashed over in the 71st minute after beating four defenders in an angled run from Marshall pass to make it 28-18.

Marshall converted the try for a 30-18 lead after 72 minutes.

A minute later, Farah stretched the Wests Tigers lead beyond two converted tries when he landed a field goal from 20 metres out to make it 31-18.

Fifita then grabbed his first double in the NRL when he used his size and strength in the 78th minute to crash over next to the posts. Marshall converted the try for a 37-18 scoreline.

Wests Tigers finished the job off when centre Chris Lawrence dived over inside the final minute next to the posts . It came off the back of another barnstorming run by Fifita.

Marshall converted the try for a 43-18 victory in front of a crowd of 17, 208.

Following the match, Wests Tigers players grabbed little Llyeton and took him on a lap of honour in thanking the crowd.

The players then formed a special guard of honour for Lleyton as he walked off the field and down the tunnel to the Wests Tigers dressing room.

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Post by willow » Mon 16 Aug, 2010 7:15 am

Tigers pants Panthers
Andrew Webster From: The Daily Telegraph August 15, 2010 3:06PM

AFTER four years of dismal capitulation, Wests Tigers will play finals football again in 2010 - but they are already craving the ultimate prize.

The Tigers' emphatic 43-18 win over a lacklustre Penrith at Campbelltown has pushed the club to 30 competition points - and a guaranteed NRL finals position.

Not since their historic grand final win over North Queensland in 2005 has Tim Sheens' outfit played in September. And with a finals position safely in their grasp, the Tigers are hungry for higher honours.

"We haven't played semi-finals for four years," Wests Tigers hooker Robbie Farah said. "It's been a bit of a burden. There are a lot of expectations on our group. We're there now - it's a matter of what we do with it and how we finish.

"We have three more weeks to build and the opportunity is there for a top-four finish. Destiny is in our hands."

British import Gareth Ellis, who scored two tries in a man-of-the-match performance, stressed his side was not simply content to make up the finals field.

"It was very disappointing to miss out last year," Ellis said. "This time around we don't just want to make the top eight, we want to aim for the top four and a home final.

"At the beginning of the year, we would have been happy to make the finals having not played there for so long.

"But these chances don't come around too often. We want to push for the ultimate goal - a premiership."

Wests Tigers, now sitting third, produced some magic touches yesterday and are a club others would hate to meet in a finals match.

The Tigers were not great yesterday, so fans shouldn't get too excited, but they scored some great late tries and worked overtime after losing Bryce Gibbs (back) early in the match and having Wade McKinnon and Keith Galloway withdraw before kick-off.

Wests Tigers weren't the best side in 2005 yet they won the premiership. There is no reason why they can't repeat their historic success five years on.

But Sheens refused to get carried away: "Let's just enjoy the moment."

In the post-match press conference, Farah took aim at the media for questioning the Tigers inconsistent season.

"It's been like that all year. We got lapped by Souths earlier in the year and the knives came out. We lose again last week and we get criticised again. I'm sure tomorrow we [the media] might be talking about '05 again.

"We get one win and you guys jump on the bandwagon or stab us in the back for playing poorly."

Penrith have lost five of their past six games and look a team on the decline. Their enthusiasm levels were unusually low - surprising given the importance of the match.

The Tigers led 18-6 at half-time before Penrith reduced their lead to six points 13 minutes from fulltime. But the Tigers scored three late tries to hammer the Panthers' aspirations and confidence.

"It was the first time this season we came second by a long way in the area of attitude," said Panthers coach Matt Elliott.

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Post by willow » Mon 16 Aug, 2010 7:16 am

West Tigers inspired by courage of sick Lleyton Giles
Dean Ritchie From: The Daily Telegraph August 16, 2010 12:00AM

HE IS the tiny five-year-old who inspired Wests Tigers to the NRL finals for the first time in five years.

Courageous Lleyton Giles is suffering from a terminal liver disease and has just weeks to live. But that didn't stop little Lleyton from leading his heroes, Wests Tigers, on to Campbelltown Sports Stadium yesterday.

Decked out in black and gold, his face beamed as the Tigers secured a finals spot, beating Penrith 43-18.

At full-time he climbed on to the shoulders of Tigers star Benji Marshall before walking through a guard of honour formed by his Tigers idols.

It was an emotional and touching moment in a game so often maligned for player misbehaviour.

Lleyton was in the victorious Tigers dressing room after full-time meeting his heroes and walking out with some treasured playing gear.

"He is terminally ill and doesn't have that long left," Tigers hooker Robbie Farrah said.

"It was a dream come true for Lleyton. He gave us a lot inspiration today. He is doing it tough."

Lleyton has been adopted by the Tigers after turning up to watch the team train at Concord Oval last week.

He formed an instant bond, with every player high-fiving as he was perched proudly on Marshall's shoulders.


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Post by willow » Mon 16 Aug, 2010 7:17 am

Marshall turns his kicking around, but was happier to meet Lleyton Daniel Lewis
August 16, 2010

THE FORM REVERSAL

AFTER enduring serious struggles with the boot that had him briefly stand down as the Tigers' goalkicker, Benji Marshall appears to have rediscovered his mojo from the tee. He kicked a perfect seven from seven yesterday as he helped his side to a 43-18 victory over the Panthers.

Heading into yesterday's game against the Panthers, Marshall had managed a modest 53 conversions from 86 attempts this season for a success rate of 62 per cent. Goalkickers at many other clubs boast percentages in the 80s.

Things started to turn around for Marshall in the previous weekend's loss to South Sydney when he kicked five from six - a week after he sacked himself as kicker during the Tigers' win over the Sharks at Leichhardt Oval, handing over the duties to centre Chris Lawrence at half-time.

Yesterday, however, Sheens pointed out that Marshall had the luxury of most of the Wests Tigers tries being scored close to the posts.

''He got a couple of early shots in and got his confidence,'' Sheens said, adding that Marshall would remain the Tigers' goalkicker. ''He's the one that's practising, he's the one that hits the ball better than anyone, he's got a better strike than anyone in the club. We will persevere … as long he's confident enough to do the kicking.''

Marshall told the Herald after the game: ''I'm just starting to get a bit of timing back in the goalkicking, and I suppose confidence is a big thing, and I'm just starting to find it. No one else is really doing any kicking so I suppose I have to [persevere with it], but I enjoy it. I had a bad patch there for a while but I went out and practised, and there's the old saying, practice makes perfect, so I'll just keep practising and keep trying to get better.''

While Marshall was happy with his kicking, he was even happier to have given Lleyton Giles his greatest day when he carried the five-year-old on to the field on his shoulders after the game.

Lleyton, a huge Tigers fan, has liver and bowel problems, and has been given a year to live at best. He was named Lleyton after tennis player Lleyton Hewitt because he was sick from birth, and his parents knew he would need to be a fighter.

''He's been in hospital probably 3½ years of his five [years],'' said father Wes. ''He's always smiling, but today's a different smile. I'd say today is the best day of his life. You always hear bad stories about football clubs, but what they've done for my son and my family today, I could never repay them.''

Marshall said: ''Sometimes we think we're doing it tough on the field, and you look at [Lleyton] and you realise we're doing it easy. We're doing something we love for a living, and this poor kid's had to suffer. It's the least we could do. He's been a supporter of the club, and we want to send him off on a special note.''

The Tigers formed a tunnel to clap Lleyton off the field, and captain Robbie Farah said: ''He hasn't got long left, the poor little kid, and we just wanted to make a dream come true. He gave us a lot of inspiration as well, going out there today.''

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Post by willow » Mon 16 Aug, 2010 7:18 am

Ellis makes it a double and sets his sights on the game's biggest prize
Brad Walter

THE MAN OF THE MATCH
AFTER starring in Wests Tigers' crushing defeat of Penrith, giant English forward Gareth Ellis was last night finally able to give his family the go-ahead to book a trip to Australia for the NRL finals.

''They are really excited because they want to get a trip over to experience finals football,'' said Ellis, whose father Ken played for Sheffield and York in the British division-one competition. ''My dad rings me up straight after games or gets me to Skype him to get the match report if he hasn't already watched it back home, so it would be good at the end of the year to share it with my family and hopefully we can go as far as possible.''

The Tigers' 43-18 win at Campbelltown yesterday has ensured their spot in the final eight but after missing the play-offs every season since their 2005 premiership triumph, Ellis is aware the club's fans are hoping for a lot more.

During a three-day stay in Kiama last week, described by prop Bryce Gibbs as a ''mini pre-season camp'', the Tigers re-evaluated their goals for the season and are also aiming for a grand final win.

''Maybe at the beginning of the year a lot of people would have been happy with making the finals after so long of not making the eight but now we are in the position we are in … it is an opportunity that you don't get too often and it would be silly for us not to be pushing for that ultimate goal of winning the premiership,'' Ellis said.

Should the Tigers do so, coach Tim Sheens has no doubt that one of their key players will be Ellis, who won back-to-back Super League grand finals with Leeds in 2007 and 2008 before making the move to Australia last season.

A renowned big-game player, Ellis scored two tries for the Tigers yesterday and won the Channel Nine man-of-the-match award.

''Gaz is just Mr Consistency, week in and week out he hits hard and he runs hard and it is good to see him get a couple of results today in terms of points because every player likes to see his name on the try-scoring list,'' Sheens said. ''Gareth finished in the front row, he does 40 tackles a week and a heap of work. For him to be working off that left edge with young Robert Lui today made a difference, I think. He got a bit of good ball at the line and did a great job. He is a handful.''

Ellis has spent much of this season playing on the right-hand side but Lui's preference is to play on the left side and Sheens has assigned him the job of partnering the rookie halfback.

''Me and Gaz work hard at training, in both defence and offence,'' Lui said. ''He just runs good lines and he is a good player to play alongside. In defence especially he helps me out.''

Lui repaid the favour yesterday by putting Ellis over for tries in the 59th and 70th minutes to help the 29-year-old double his tally for the season. ''Maybe he doesn't pick me out enough, that's why I don't score more often,'' Ellis joked. ''We've got some talented players in our team who have that flair and creativity to run across field and drop you into holes, and you just have to hit the line. Fortunately for me, two of them came off today.''

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Post by willow » Mon 16 Aug, 2010 7:19 am

Beau bounces back after Bunnies shocker, and will return to the box Greg Prichard
August 16, 2010

AFTER last weekend's game from hell, Beau Ryan jumped back on the horse yesterday, and never looked like falling off during the big win by his Wests Tigers team against Penrith.

This week, he'll resume his television career as well, recording skits for Channel Nine's The Footy Show to take his mind off his main job for a while and have some fun.

It's the formula he has followed all year, usually with success, but after he had a shocker in the loss to South Sydney there were plenty of experts who said he should put the television career on hold for the rest of the season, at least, and devote all of his time to football. Experienced Tigers coach Tim Sheens was not one of those people, though, instead defending Ryan's right to do something apart from football, and describing it as an example of the distraction players should try to find so that they are not thinking about the game 24-7.

Ryan had the week off from his side job, but did that more because he wanted to reassure his teammates of where his priorities lay, rather than because he thought the commitment was the reason behind his poor game against the Rabbitohs. They probably didn't need that reassurance, but Ryan felt the need to make it clear he was a part of a team.

''I'm committed to what I do on The Footy Show, but playing rugby league is my number one priority,'' Ryan said after yesterday's game. ''I wanted to send the right message to my teammates, by not doing the TV for the week. But I'll be back in the saddle this week. I usually film it on Tuesday or Wednesday, depending on when the Tigers have a day off, and it only takes a few hours a week. It's a bit of fun, and the coach encourages us to find something away from football … I find that it freshens me up for the footy, so in that way it's part of my preparation for the game.''

The Tigers lost selected fullback Wade McKinnon to a hamstring injury leading into yesterday's game. Sheens has used Ryan, at times, to fill in at fullback previously this season, but yesterday went with Mitch Brown at the back and left Ryan in his regular position on the wing. Ryan had a solid game. He didn't do anything stunning, but he didn't make any mistakes.

Ryan made a great catch on his own line off a dangerous bomb from Penrith halfback Luke Walsh in the 16th minute, with attackers pouring through.

That effort would have done his confidence the world of good.

League players have occasionally been criticised for not doing something to further themselves in their spare time, and if other players who use their time productively have a bad game, they are not criticised for what they do on the side. Ryan appears to have been a victim of the fact what he does is high-profile.

''Some of the guys play golf, some do courses, that sort of thing,'' he said. ''I do stuff for The Footy Show. I don't drink too much, and I don't gamble at all - the TV stuff is my thing on the side. I don't really worry about other people's opinions, outside of the club. I like to do what I'm doing - it gives me a good balance.''

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Post by willow » Mon 16 Aug, 2010 7:19 am

These fearless, talented Tigers can tame anyone on a sunny Sunday afternoon Phil Gould
August 16, 2010

I love watching the Wests Tigers play football on a sunny, Sunday afternoon. Give these boys clear skies, a dry field, a big crowd to entertain and there is no better side in the NRL to promote the skill, flair and unpredictability of this great game.

Their style of play is probably taking years off the life of their veteran coach Tim Sheens. They attempt the difficult when the simple will suffice. They can perform the impossible and make it look easy. They play with such a carefree attitude that one wonders whether the state of the game is ever on their minds.

Sometimes their flamboyance brings about their demise. There was a bit of this in their game yesterday. They led by 12 points on two occasions, and were threatening to run away to a big win. However, no sooner had they achieved a handy buffer zone on the scoreboard, than their intensity and discipline quickly vanished. Lack of purpose, concentration or unnecessary risk-taking by the Tigers produced untimely errors that simply invited the Panthers back into the contest.

At other times, though, it all comes together like clockwork. These are the days where everyone, including the coach, leaves the ground with smiles from ear to ear. We saw plenty of their brilliance yesterday. The Tigers at their best make you feel good. There's no other way to describe them.

Still, they had to work hard for yesterday's success. Despite their dominance for most of the contest, the Tigers only led 24-18 with 10 minutes left to play. Until this point, they'd never really looked like losing, but the result was now well and truly in the balance.

The Panthers had their tails up and were mounting a late comeback. Places within the top eight were in the balance so the stakes were high. At this point, one anticipated a grinding finish to the match with the Tigers playing the percentages and placing great emphasis on defence as they tried to protect their narrow advantage. The pressure would then be on the Panthers to come up with the scoring shots if they were to secure a come-from-behind victory.

Instead the Tigers produced the totally unexpected. They exploded with 10 minutes of the most exhilarating attacking football that only they can provide. They completely blew the Panthers off the park, scoring three brilliant tries and a field goal during this final period to send the home-town fans into a frenzy and their opponents into pits of despair.

Mind you, we shouldn't be so shocked by the Tigers' whirlwind finish. They are the most potent attacking team in the NRL in the last 10 minutes of games. They have scored a total of 86 tries this season. Twenty of these have been scored between the 70th minute and full-time. This is the best in the league. It shows that when the opposition is either exhausted or nervous, the Tigers can really make them pay.

Their playmaking trio of hooker Robbie Farah, halfback Robert Lui and five-eighth Benji Marshall were tremendous. They teased and taunted the Panthers all afternoon. Each has the ability to float across field with ball held out in front, virtually daring defenders to make a move.

They make great use of decoy runners to put the defenders in two minds. Their footwork and speed allow them to threaten more than one gap in their opponent's line. This forces would-be tacklers into panicked decisions. They don't know whether to advance or retreat, come in or stay back.

Once they have the defenders retreating or working in different directions they bring their back-row forwards steaming on to the ball at full tilt. English international Gareth Ellis was extremely dangerous running off his playmakers. He scored two tries and made plenty of other incisive gains. Young Andrew Fifita followed his lead. He blasted across the try line on four occasions - twice denied, but twice he scored. The reliable Liam Fulton was another to benefit.

In the end, the Panthers had no real answers. They have been struggling for a couple of months now. Their lofty position on the ladder has masked myriad problems in their game, not least of which has been their attitude of denial.

They got their right whack yesterday. They still have three weeks and a soft run home to turn it around before September, but sadly, they are a long way off the pace. The Tigers? Well, they can beat anyone on their day. Especially when it's a sunny Sunday.

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Post by willow » Mon 16 Aug, 2010 7:21 am

Panthers left to lick wounds after coming off second best in catfight
Greg Prichard
August 16, 2010

THE battle of the big cats finished with the Tigers getting the cream and the Panthers being left to dream about the way they used to be.

Yesterday's defeat left Penrith with a 1-5 win-loss record from the past six rounds - the same as Cronulla and North Queensland. The difference is that the Sharks and Cowboys are the two worst-performed teams in the competition, while Penrith had been riding high on the ladder. But after entering the round in second place, the Panthers have now dropped to fourth, and will end up fifth if Manly beat the Dragons tonight.

Reality has started to bite, and Penrith coach Matthew Elliott was not shying away from that. Asked how the loss ranked on the disappointment scale, he replied: ''It rates highly, that one. I thought, for the first time this year, we came second by a long way in the area of attitude.

''I certainly felt that I was out-coached today, too. They played too smart for us, in every area. It's hard when your mentality's off. Even when we were in front, I was worried, and when we were coming back we were brittle. We've got some work to do, there's no doubt about that.''

Now, with their breathing space on the ladder disappearing and the losses mounting, Elliott said it was imperative the Panthers responded to the challenge by lifting against Souths at CUA Stadium on Friday.

''We're really conscious of where we're at,'' he said. ''I know it's easy to lump this one in with all the other losses, because that's what you guys have to do, but this one was different today. We've got a massive stake in this season, with the amount of work we've done. We've got to make sure we cash in on our investment. I've got to be focused on what we have to do on Friday. We've got three weeks to build some momentum.''

The Tigers began this round three spots below the Panthers but have now gone past them, swapping fifth for third. They are on the same number of competition points (30) as second-placed Gold Coast, and trail the Titans by just a point on for-and-against. They will make the finals - it's just a matter now of where they are placed after the 26 rounds.

When asked where he thought his team was placed, Tigers coach Tim Sheens refused to look too far ahead.

''I'll just enjoy the moment, I think,'' Sheens said. ''[The media] were talking about the Roosters two weeks ago, and they've lost two, and Penrith have lost two. You don't stop what you're doing and start thinking about where you're at as far as the semis are concerned, you worry about playing a pretty hungry Parramatta side in a week's time.

''Today was about going out and doing something with our defence and the intensity in our game, which we haven't been doing and other people have. I was happy with the commitment, considering we were down on troops. We lost Keith [Galloway] and Wade [McKinnon] during the week, and lost 'Gibbsy' [prop Bryce Gibbs] during the first half.

''We played with one man down, and had a fair amount of courage shown by a lot of blokes. A lot of blokes were busted, but we hung in there, so I'm pretty happy with the effort.''

Captain Robbie Farah said the Tigers were used to being heavily scrutinised, having not made the finals since they won the premiership in 2005. They handled that by working hard to stay focused.

''It's been like that all year,'' he said. ''We got lapped by Souths earlier in the year, and the knives came out, but we stuck together and made something of our season. Then we lose again last week and get criticised again. I'm sure tomorrow you might be talking about '05 again. We get one win, and you guys just jump on the bandwagon, or stab us in the back when we're going poorly.

''But as a group we've stuck together and we've worked hard all year, and we know how hard we're working, and you guys can say whatever you want.''

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MacDougall
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Post by MacDougall » Mon 16 Aug, 2010 7:26 am

Pretty needless jibes at the Media from Farah there. All the knives are deserved generally.

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