Media Reports

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Saturday 25 September 2010 7:30PM
ANZ Stadium
Television Coverage: Ch. 9 Live
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Post by willow » Sun 26 Sep, 2010 12:00 am

Flashpoint as Farah takes aim at Young after alleged taunt
Daniel Lane
September 26, 2010

THE most confronting moment of last night's match came just before Wests Tigers hooker Robbie Farah packed down in a scrum in the 23rd minute and he asked his opposite number whether he'd called him a ''f---ing wog.''

St George Illawarra hooker Dean Young looked shocked by the allegation. A minute earlier Farah had held Young up over the try line when he dived from dummy half to deny him a four-pointer.

Before Farah released his grasp the Dragons rake appeared to drive his elbow into Farah's head. A scuffle ensued, and while the referee asked in the aftermath whether Farah wanted to make a complaint about something, the exchange before the scrum made it obvious the words Farah thought he'd heard had more impact than any blow.

They also lifted after that scrum. Like the Tigers outfit that won the title in 2005, the team prides themselves on their multicultural ties that bind. It was a flashpoint in a desperate opening half in which the Wests Tigers managed to not only repel raid after Dragons raid but to also enjoy a 12-6 half-time lead.

They also lifted after that scrum. Like the Tigers outfit that won the title in 2005 the team pride themselves on their ties that bind.

For winger Lote Tuqiri the multicultural make-up of the Tigers - the team contains a Maori, a Torres Straight Islander, Anglo Aussie, an Englishman, Islanders and a Lebanese - was one of the aspects that drew him to the club after his stint in rugby.

The fact they didn't allow for it to put them off their game said volumes for their maturity and commitment to worrying about the battle that was in front of them.

Five-eighth Benji Marshall said before the match that he and his teammates relished the tag as underdogs, and that they thought it was to their advantage to slide under the radar.

They fought hard and maintained their promise to entertain and enthral, but the Dragons fulfilled their vow to suffocate them with a grinding game. And they did. They focused their attack on the left-hand side of the field and as the game continued they forced the Tigers to cough up the ball through pressure. However, it took a 35-metre field goal by Jamie Soward to break the 12-all deadlock and defy the critics who predicted they'd choke to book their place in the grand final.


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Post by willow » Sun 26 Sep, 2010 12:01 am

Tigers player ratings
September 26, 2010

1. Mitch Brown Try-saves, try-assists and hit-ups like he was 30kg heavier. A whippet but a winner. 8/10



2. Lote Tuqiri Continued his run of fine form in attack, but caught out in defence at times when it counted. 7/10



3. Blake Ayshford Plays with maturity well beyond his years. A fair-dinkum footballer. 7/10



4. Chris Lawrence Decoy running couldn't be faulted, more solid than his reinforced jaw in defence. 7/10



5. Beau Ryan Talked the talk earlier in the week and walked the walk. 6.5/10



6. Benji Marshall More calculated and cunning by the week. Less quantity but more quality. 7/10



7. Robert Lui Give him 70,000 screaming fans and he plays like Keith Richards. Best game of his career. 9/10



17. Bryce Gibbs Enjoys hitting people more than Danny Green does. Power and passion. 7/10



9. Robbie Farah (c) Mightn't have the biggest pack, but it's how you use it that counts. Inspirational. 8/10



10. Keith Galloway Charged like an airport coffee shop but left a good impression. 8/10



19. Andrew Fifita Like Cinderella, had his lost boot returned to him and put in a fairytale performance for a rookie. 7/10



12. Gareth Ellis He can do it even when he puts his sore back into it. Form forward of the NRL. 8/10



13. Chris Heighington Fitter than Tony Abbott and actually intimidated his opposition. Still some errors in his game. 7.5/10



INTERCHANGE

14. Ben Murdoch-Masila The kid can play and he's certainly more hero than zero. 6/10



15. Daniel Fitzhenry A professional benchwarmer. Managed four minutes at the end. 1/10



17. Simon Dwyer For a young player, his defence was more impressive than OJ Simpson's. 6/10



11. Liam Fulton Great offloads and put himself in the right places. 7/10



Josh Rakic

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Post by willow » Sun 26 Sep, 2010 12:03 am

Soward sinks the boot into the Tigers
Adrian Proszenko
September 26, 2010

St George Illawarra 13 Wests Tigers 12

JAMIE SOWARD has booted St George Illawarra into the grand final. With the score locked at 12-12 and with less than seven minutes left on the clock, Soward kicked a match-winning field goal from 35 metres to set up an all-Sydney grand final against the Roosters next weekend.

The Dragons will head into the match as favourites, TAB Sportsbet offering odds of $1.60. The Roosters are the $2.30 outsiders.

The Red V did it the hard way, coming back from a 12-6 half-time deficit to come within reach of a maiden premiership as a joint-venture club.

Next Sunday's decider will be the first time the Dragons and Roosters have clashed in a grand final since the Tricolours registered a famous 38-0 triumph in 1975. The Dragons last night had to overcome a late raid from the Tigers, who threatened to steal the game, only for Beau Ryan's late chip-and-chase to be snuffed out by fullback Darius Boyd.

The combatants clashed in the corresponding game in 2005 - but this time the result was different.

With Wayne Bennett now at the helm, the Dragons have the chance to shed the chokers tag for good. It also sets up a salivating clash of the pivots - Soward v Roosters playmaker Todd Carney - should the latter be cleared to play by the NRL's match review committee.

The battle of the joint venture clubs was again a dramatic one. There were tries, tantrums and taunts - including an alleged racial one from Dragons hooker Dean Young to Tigers counterpart Robbie Farah. We will be hearing more about that one.

Veteran mentors Wayne Bennett and Tim Sheens have coached 1225 games between them. The mind games began before kick-off. After publicly leaning towards veteran forward John Skandalis as the replacement for the injured Todd Payten, Sheens gave rookie Andrew Fifita the call-up, to the starting side no less. Apart from losing his shoe for a five-minute period, he rarely put a foot wrong.

The Dragons have given away little all season, the side mirroring its coach more and more with each outing. But after suffocating the life out of the opposition so many times, would the Dragons again choke on the big stage? Would the doubts creep in if they fell behind early?

Lote Tuqiri put the scenario to a near-capacity crowd. The Tigers ran much of their attack at Soward and were rewarded when they executed one of their patented back-line movements.

Robert Lui feigned to pass to decoy runner Chris Lawrence, Soward took the bait, opening the way for fullback Mitch Brown to put Tuqiri away for the opener.

The Dragons crossed the stripe three times in the first half - and had 58 per cent of the possession - but only had one try to show for it all.

Former Storm back-rower Jeremy Smith scored it, muscling his way past two defenders from close range. Video referee Shayne Hayne ruled in his favour, deciding the Cronulla-bound forward got the ball down in the nick of time.

While all the attention was on Benji Marshall, it was his halves partner who again came up with the big blow. This time the Townsville product scored himself, courtesy of a brilliant offload from Liam Fulton.

The Tigers second-rower showcased the offloading skills he picked up during a stint in the Super League, attracting two defenders before popping the pass.

The Dragons fans fell silent.

ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA 13 (J Nightingale J Smith tries J Soward 2 goals J Soward field goal) bt WESTS TIGERS 12 (R Lui L Tuqiri tries B Marshall 2 goals) at ANZ Stadium. Referee: Ben Cummins, Shayne Hayne. Crowd: 71,212.

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Post by willow » Sun 26 Sep, 2010 12:04 am

WESTS TIGERS LOSE 13-12 TO DRAGONS TO FALL A WEEK SHORT
By Wayne Cousins, ANZ Stadium.
25/09/2010 9:34:10 PM

Wests Tigers produced a gallant effort in losing 13-12 to minor premiers St George Illawarra Dragons tonight at ANZ Stadium in the second elimination final.

In a match in which Wests Tigers led until late in the game, the loss ended the Tigers season.

Wests Tigers supporters can be proud of their team this season before falling one game short of the grand final after appearing in the finals series for the first time since winning the premiership in 2005.

The Dragons made the first clean break of the game through centre Matt Cooper before he was pulled down by opposite centre Blake Ayshford.

They got a repeat set of six from a goal line drop out in the eight minute after winger Beau Ryan knocked the ball over the sideline from a crossfield chip kick on the last tackle.

Referee Shayne Hayne called on video referee Steve Clarke in the ninth minute to see whether prop Michael Weyman got the ball down in a tackle made by Mitch Brown on his tryline. Replays showed Weyman lost the ball in trying to ground it. It was ruled no try and a drop out to give the Dragons a third consecutive set.

Wests Tigers held firm in defence before Cooper knocked the ball on 20 metres out from the Tigers tryline.

Andrew Fifita made a strong impact in the opening 15 minutes before being replaced by second-rower Simon Dwyer.

Clarke was called on again by Hayne in the 17th minute to rule on a try to winger Lote Tuqiri. The ball was spread left through half-back Robert Lui before offloading the ball to full-back Mitch Brown who passed it on to Tuqiri to score. Clarke ruled that there was obstruction in the line run by centre Chris Lawrence who was grabbed by Dragons five-eighth Jamie Soward.

Five-eighth Benji Marshall converted the try from out wide to give Wests Tigers a 6-0 lead.

Wests Tigers soaked up some more pressure when Ryan knocked the ball dead from a Soward crosskick on the last tackle in the 22nd minute. It came after Dragons hooker Dean Young was held up over the line before he placed an elbow on Farah’s face. It didn’t go on report.
A short grubber kick through the defensive line by Soward saw the Dragons get another repeat set in the 26th minute.

Ellis was then penalised in the set for holding down too long in a tackle despite him getting up and claiming his jumper was held in making the tackle.

The weight of possession told when lock Jeremy Smith ran onto a short pass and scored under the posts. Soward converted the try for a 6-6 scoreline after 29 minutes. Wests Tigers are yet to receive a penalty compared to the Dragons’ five in the first 30 minutes.

Wests Tigers received their first penalty in the 33rd minute.
The Dragons were penalised for the second time when Lui was tackled off the ball a minute later.

Wests Tigers capitalised on the penalty when second-rower Liam Fulton ran to the line before popping a pass back inside to Lui who dived over under the posts to score.

Marshall converted the try to give Wests Tigers a 12-6 lead after 37 minutes.

Hayne picked up a forward pass in the 38th minute from full-back Darius Boyd to winger Brett Morris to give Wests Tigers a scrum feed 35 metres out from the Dragons line.

The Dragons were let off the hook when it was ruled Lui threw a forward pass to second-rower Ben Murdoch-Masila 30metres out.

The score remained 12-6 until half-time.

2nd Half

A drop ball by lock Chris Heighington in the opening minute of second half gave the Dragons a scrum feed 45 metres out from the Wests Tigers tryline. The Dragons got a repeat set when a grubber kick by half-back Ben Hornby on the last tackle saw Brown take the ball over the dead ball line to give the Dragons another repeat set from a goal line drop out.

The pressure valve was released when Young knocked the ball on 10 metres in front of the posts from a pass by back up hooker Nathan Fien.
The Dragons got back to 12-10 through a try under the posts to winger Jason Nightingale after Young turned the ball back inside. The try came on the back of a break by Nightingale and centre Mark Gasnier.

Soward converted the try for a 12-12 scoreline after 51 minutes.
Prop Bryce Gibbs pulled off a vital trysaving tackle in the 64th minute on Gasnier when the Dragons had numbers out wide on the last tackle with the Tigers desperately scrambling in defence.

Gibbs made amends for allowing Dragons captain Ben Hornby to slip past him on half-way a few tackles earlier.

Tuqiri copped knees in the right rib cage area from Jeremy Smith in making a run on the fourth tackle. Referee Ben Cummins didn’t penalise Smith.

On the next play,Marshall kicked the ball out on the full.

The Dragons proceeded downfield on the next set before Soward kicked a 35 metre field goal to give them a 13-12 lead with six minutes remaining.

Marshall then had the misfortune of losing the ball in trying to ignite the attack with four minutes remaining. The Dragons got a scrum feed 40 metres out from the Wests Tigers tryline.

Fitzhenry came on with five minutes to go after Tuqiri left the field following the knees to his ribs.

Wests Tigers threw one last almighty attack at the Dragons when Marshall delivered ran to the left before sending a ball back to the right to find prop Keith Galloway.

Galloway made a strong run and offloaded to centre Blake Ayshford before a pass to Ryan saw him kick the ball through before Boyd beat Fitzhenry to the ball to force it dead for the last play with 20 seconds left.
The clock ticked down to give the Dragons a 13-12 victory in front of a crowd of 71, 212.

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Post by willow » Sun 26 Sep, 2010 12:06 am

Soward sends Dragons to grand final
By Adrian Crawford

Updated September 25, 2010 22:54:00


St George Illawarra five-eighth Jamie Soward slotted a composed field goal to earn his side a spot in next Sunday's NRL grand final with a 13-12 win over Wests Tigers on Saturday night.

It is the first time since the club's failed campaign in 1999 that St George Illawarra has reached the grand final, hopefully putting to bed criticism that the Dragons are September chokers after going out in straight sets last year and falling one win short in 2005 and 2006.

The back-to-back minor premiers will now take on the Sydney Roosters at the Olympic stadium next weekend.

The last time the Dragons met the Roosters in the decider was in 1975, before St George and Illawarra joined forces, with the Roosters prevailing.

The Dragons and the Tigers were locked at 12-12 for nearly 25 minutes before Soward, as cool as anything, stuck his hand up for the ball and deftly added the extra point in front of 70,212 fans at Homebush.

"A lot of credit to Nathan Fien; he has to put those passes on the mark," Soward told Grandstand, deferring to his team-mate.

"[He's] been practising at training, he got the job done and I'm expected to make those plays so that's why I'm in the team, to make those plays.

"I was having a bit of a quiet game and I guess I'll get a lot of the credit, but all the credit should go to the team.

"The way Wayne (coach Wayne Bennett) set us up for the week, we had a good relaxing week in camp and hopefully we get another week like that this week."

Apart from a misguided and well-short field goal attempt by Benji Marshall, the Tigers seemed to prefer to take a shot at winning by more than just one, a tactic that skipper Robbie Farah confirmed.

"We were confident we could score some points," he said.

"The end to our sets were disappointing, we had a bit of success in the first half but made a few errors there and it cost us in the end.

"I'm real proud of the boys but we didn't score a point in the second half... you just can't do that against the Dragons."

Defending Tigers

It was a hard-fought physical encounter for much of the game as the Tigers battled to keep out the marauding Dragons, whose relentless attacking ate up metre after metre.

The Tigers had surged into the semi-finals thanks to a masterful performance against the Raiders by Marshall, but the star pivot had little support from his team-mates on Saturday night.

On more than one occasion he was caught on his own without a man to pass to, effectively cutting short several attacking chances the crafty playmaker created.

The other halves position was a tough one for Wests this season, with Tim Moltzen sidelined with injuries and leaving the number seven jumper vacant for weeks at a time.

But young half-back Robert Lui showed just how much potential he has, orchestrating several runs including Lote Tuqiri's opening try early in the opening stanza.

Lui also did well to take some of the heat off Marshall, and scored a four-pointer of his own to put the Tigers into the lead going into the break.

Tuqiri will feel more than just the pain of a loss tomorrow morning, after copping a knee in the side from Smith and sustaining a suspected rib injury.

Liam Fulton also appeared to have been hurt, twisting awkwardly in a tackle and looking to have hurt his leg.

Attack after attack

It was Jeremy Smith's crushing momentum that put the Dragons on the board for the first time after a couple of false starts that saw both Michael Weyman and Dean Young denied at the line.

Smith ran onto a neat short ball from Nathan Fien and rolled his way over two Wests defenders to touch down under the black dot.

The Dragons continued to press and almost had an opportunity out wide to level it up as the half-time siren went, but Jason Nightingale was brought down and forced to wait until after the break to make his mark on the game.

"At 12-6 down it's easy to make it 18-6 and then you're chasing your tail and you get away from your gameplan," Soward admitted.

"We had patience and blokes like Dean Young and Jeremy Smith working in the ruck all night, like I said I'll get a lot of the credit but they deserve it."

Early on the penalty count went the Red V's way and gave Bennett's men even more field position, but Wests managed to hold onto a 12-6 margin at half-time thanks to some gutsy defence on their own line.

But Nightingale's try 10 minutes into the second stanza tied things up before Soward's shot from 35 metres out drove the nail in the coffin of the Tigers' season and denied them their first appearance in a decider since their 2005 premiership win.


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Post by supercoach » Sun 26 Sep, 2010 12:11 am

Lets hope the main stream media outlets give the pink men what they deserve, but I feel it will be like most games where its all about the winners. We will not get change from the NRL till the media start giving it big time to the refs and their boss when they make so many howlers in such big games. AS for the tigers give them all 10/10 they were up against 17 players 2 refs 2 bangor chargers and a idiot in the box

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Post by Geo. » Sun 26 Sep, 2010 12:16 am

supercoach wrote:Lets hope the main stream media outlets give the pink men what they deserve, but I feel it will be like most games where its all about the winners. We will not get change from the NRL till the media start giving it big time to the refs and their boss when they make so many howlers in such big games. AS for the tigers give them all 10/10 they were up against 17 players 2 refs 2 bangor chargers and a idiot in the box

:lol: :lol: I wish mate....it will be forgotten by Monday....
Ivan's Laws

1. You are either on the Bus or you are off..
2. The Star of the Team is the Team
3. Be the player your teammates want to play with..

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Post by willow » Sun 26 Sep, 2010 11:24 am

Farah leaves accusation against rival hooker Young on the field
Daniel Lane
September 26, 2010

WESTS TIGERS skipper Robbie Farah would not be drawn into a possible racial vilification row by refusing to divulge the background to a flashpoint in the preliminary final loss to St George Illawarra last night.

Perhaps the most confronting moment of the match came just before the Wests Tigers hooker packed into a scrum in the 23rd minute and he asked his opposite number Dean Young whether he'd called him a ''f---ing wog.'' Young appeared shocked by the allegation.

After the 13-12 loss to the Dragons, Farah made it clear he wanted to leave what was possibly said on the field there, saying he did not want to detract from grand final week. ''No mate I'll leave that on the field,'' was all he would say on the matter.

Young said: ''There [are] always words said between opposite players. But what happens on the field stays on the field.''

A minute earlier Farah had held Young up over the try line to deny the Dragons a four-pointer. Before Farah released his grasp the Dragons rake appeared to drive his elbow into Farah's head.

A scuffle ensued, and while the referee asked in the aftermath whether Farah wanted to make a complaint about something, the exchange before the scrum made it obvious the words Farah thought he'd heard had a greater impact than any blow.

Farah also refused to elaborate on the alleged forearm.

''Again you guys saw I was on the bottom of it, I wasn't too happy with it at the time,'' he said. ''That didn't decide the game - I'd rather be talking about the on-field stuff, the footy, rather than those little incidents.''

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Post by willow » Sun 26 Sep, 2010 11:26 am

Traditional values prove the difference in frenetic finals
Phil Gould
September 26, 2010

Both the Dragons and Roosters booked their place in the grand final on the back of outstanding defence.

Finally, normal service has been restored. In a season where attackers have continually outwitted the tacklers, many hold the view the modern game is all about scoring tries.

I hear so many people say in today's game, it's virtually impossible to defend for long periods of time without conceding points. Well, when the season was on the line and teams came to the big sudden-death games that really matter, traditional values stood tall.

The Dragons did what they do best. The best defensive team all season kept the courageous Tigers scoreless in the second half to squeak out a one-point victory. This was a win built on character and very indicative of the way they have played their football all season.

Trailing 6-0 and 12-6 during the first half, there were some challenging moments for the minor premiers as they battled the demons of past failures. But they kept grinding away at their game plan, believing it would prevail in the run to the winning post. There was a six-minute period in the second half where I saw frustration and stress start to build in their game. However, a couple of crucial plays by halves Ben Hornby and Jamie Soward finally released the shackles on their attack and the tension in their demeanour.

Their forwards started to dominate the advantage line and they dictated the play. Once they drew level at 12-12 they went back to automatic pilot and steered their way to victory. The Roosters produced their best tackling performance of the year - no, wait a minute, of the past six years - in their comprehensive assault on the Titans.

To be honest, the Roosters' approach to this game took them to a whole new level of professionalism and, if they can repeat this defensive intensity next weekend, they are a chance. Their game this season has been highlighted by scintillating attacking football. However, this attitude of trying to score from anywhere at any time has also been their downfall on many occasions.

It's like they run themselves ragged in attack and have no energy or cohesion left for consistently solid defence. On Friday night all that changed. It was a more conservative Roosters side that simply looked to control the ball and advance it downfield on the back of their three outstanding kickers, Mitchell Pearce, Todd Carney and Braith Anasta.

The Roosters put all their energy into attacking the Titans' ball runners with a swift moving and swarming defensive line. In the early stages of the contest their effort levels were so high and the speed of their line so great that watching the game live I doubted they could maintain the rage for the full 80 minutes. But they did. Three of the five tries the Roosters scored were far from flamboyant. They were simply a result of time and pressure, patience and persistence.

A quick word on the Tigers - they were outstanding in defeat. Their plan to unsettle the Dragons with a blitzkrieg defensive line certainly proved effective. They played without possession in the first half but still closed down all but one of the Dragons' attacking raids.

Had they had a better share of possession at the scoring end of the field this result could've been different. I have loved watching the Tigers play all season. They are the most enjoyable team to watch on the planet.


For the Dragons and the Roosters, though, there is one more game to be played. It's a cliche to say that 12 months of planning and hard work all comes to this moment, but it is so true. This is the examination of mind, body and soul that all footballers live for. To test yourself on the big ground, in front of the big crowd, on the big day, all to determine the best of the best for the season - this is what it's really all about. Enjoy, lads!

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Post by tigergirlz » Sun 26 Sep, 2010 11:28 am

Sun Herald player ratings included:
17. Jarrod Saffy - A late call up but no second-best performance. Did his job 6/10
Did Rakic see the game????

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Post by willow » Sun 26 Sep, 2010 11:30 am

Tigers bite their tongue over Smith's knee on Tuqiri

* Tony Adams
* From: The Sunday Telegraph
* September 26, 2010 12:02AM

STAR winger Lote Tuqiri fears he broke his ribs in the controversial tackle that crushed the Wests Tigers' season at ANZ Stadium.

With seven minutes left and the scores locked at 12-all, Tuqiri was falling to the ground when he collected the knee of Dragons forward Jeremy Smith.

Tuqiri went down in agony but the on-field referees and video referee Steve Clark failed to take any action.

Had the Tigers received a penalty, they may well have hit the front with a shot at goal. Instead the Dragons worked play downfield and came up with the match-winning field goal moments later.

"Our bloke got taken off, it was a blatant knee," a Tigers source said in the shattered losing dressing room.

"If they cite Smith, there will be hell to pay, but then they would have to admit the referees got it wrong."

Tuqiri was angry as trainers strapped his ribs after the match.

"He didn't miss me," Tuqiri said. "I can't move, I can barely talk, I am going for X-rays in the morning."

The Tigers were left to lament a few close calls in a game in which there was barely a split hair between the teams.

"I am proud of the boys and proud of the effort," coach Tim Sheens said.

"They were supposed to blow us off the park tonight, we weren't supposed to even come close. But this young team really dug deep and came within an inch or two of a grand final. It was a great effort.

"Some things went against us, but I'm not going to whinge. It's grand final week."

Sheens says the Tigers hope to use the Dragons' now infamous exit from last year's finals series as their model for success next year.

"They went out last year ... and it hurt but they grew stronger from it," Sheens said.

"They stuck together as a group - that will be our goal next year."

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