Round 8: Willow's match report

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Kickoff: 2pm Sunday 1 May
Venue: Canberra Stadium
Telecast: FoxSports2 LIVE
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willow
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Willow's match report and player review

Post by willow » Sun 01 May, 2011 5:27 pm

Round 8 of the Telstra NRL premiership saw the Wests Tigers travel to Canberra to take on the Raiders in what shaped up as a somewhat desperate match for both sides at this early stage of the season. The Raiders entered this match on the back of a 6 match match losing streak and with most of their well regarded players out of form while for the Tigers they came into today’s match having lost their last 2 matches in a row. It proved a dramatic week in Tigertown for other reasons as well, with coach Tim Sheens the subject of much media speculation as the Penrith Panthers offered him big money to leave the Tigers, only for the Tigers to revise their offer to Sheens, which resulted in him signing on as head coach for a further 3 seasons late in the week.

In another blow for the Tigers, they lost defensive workhorse Bryce Gibbs to injury which resulted in Ben Murdoch-Masila being promoted to the bench in his first match for the season. The Tigers did welcome back fullback Wade McKinnon which resulted in Tim Moltzen moving to the centres to partner Blake Ayshford while Mitch Brown shifted to the wing with Beau Ryan dropping to the interchange bench. Al Schirnack also returned to the Tigers bench this week after overcoming a shoulder injury. The Raiders had no injury concerns entering this match.

1st half:
Both teams looked to get away to a positive start by displaying plenty of energy early. The Tigers came up with a nice play early which saw Keith Galloway put into space up the middle of the field, but a forward pass was called and the Tigers compounded things by giving away a penalty. They came up with the ball again moments later as Benji Marshall flattened Matt Orford and the Tigers received a welcoming penalty on the next tackle to put them right inside Canberra’s half. The Tigers then appeared to score a try under the posts as a Robbie Farah grubber kick bounced off the posts and Galloway swooped onto the ball although there was some doubt over his handling. It was ruled no-try in the end and the Raiders were let off the hook early.

The Raiders then looked to try and build some pressure of their own as they attacked inside the Tigers hald in the 7th minute. The last tackle play was handled by the Tigers though and they came away with a 20 metre re-start, although a forward pass ruling went against the Tigers moments later. The Raiders then looked to open the scoring in the9th minute as the Raiders kicked behind the Tigers line with Wade Mckinnon up in the defensive line. Dugan eventually got over the line with Tigers players all over him but replays showed he lost the ball, but was it ruled to be stripped? The video referee ruled it was a try in a controversial decision. The try was converted to give the Raiders a 6-0 after 10 minutes.

The Tigers hit back shortly after as Chris Heighington broke straight through the Raiders defence to draw fullback Josh Dugan before offloading to Wade McKinnon in support who crossed under the posts after holding off Josh McCrone. Marshall converted the try to level the scores at 6-6 after 13 minutes. Ben Murdoch-Masila entered the match in the 16th minute giving Keith Galloway a rest. The Tigers then hit the front in the 18th minute after a seemingly poor set in attack resulted in Robbie Farah chipping on the last tackle and regathering before finding Marshall in support who crossed under the posts after the movement started inside the Tigers half. Marshall converted his try to put the Tigers in front 12-6 after 20 minutes. The Tigers then made a massive blunder from the re-start as Andrew Fifita knocked a pass on to put the Tigers under all sorts of pressure. Fifita then gave away a penalty a couple of tackles later to put the Tigers under even more pressure. The Raiders then went to the air on the last tackle but Croker lost the ball in mid-air to let the Tigers off the hook.

A Marshall grubber kick on the 4th tackle in the 24th minute saw the Raiders knock the ball on to give the Tigers an excellent attacking opportunity inside the Raiders half. The Tigers scored on the last tackle through Wade Mckinnon who picked up his second try of the afternoon. Marshall converted the try to extend the Tigers lead to 18-6 after 27 minutes. A great kick from Rob Lui from the re-start resulted in Josh Dugan knocking the ball on in trying to prevent a 40/20. The Tigers scored from the scrum win as they put on a nice scrum play with Ben Murdoch-Masila being used to good effect as a decoy at outside centre and then one of the Raiders players slipped over which gave the Tigers an overlap as Marshall threw a nice ball to Matt Utai who scored. Marshall converted the try from out wide to give the Tigers a very nice 24-6 lead after 30 minutes.

A Raiders knock on in the 32nd minute invited the Tigers to attack inside the Raiders half again. The Raiders just held as a Tigers grubber kick was defused by Dugan to earnt his side a penalty as he was pushed back into the in-goal. The Raiders nearly scored through Blake Ferguson but the Tigers scrambled desperately to hold them out. A lost ball from Robbie Farah after making a half break gave the Raiders decent field position to attack from and they were given a penalty moments later to put them right on the attack inside the Tigers half. The Tigers defence held but Aaron Woods knocked the ball on in attempting a strip to give the Raiders another chance but they knocked the ball on to relieve the pressure on the Tigers. The Tigers were then given a penalty from the scrum win to have one last chance to score points before halftime but they ran out of time to go to the sheds up 24-6 in a very good display.

Best players for the Tigers in the first half were Benji Marshall, Rob Lui, Chris Heighington and Wade McKinnon. Despite spending 60% of the first half inside their own half, the Tigers attack and defence was giving the Raiders all sorts of headaches, plus their kicking game was far superior in the first half.

2nd half:
The Tigers had the first opportunity to attack in the second half as the Raiders came up with a forward pass in the 41st minute. The Raiders defence held but the Tigers did force a line drop out through a well placed Marshall grubber kick. Again the Raiders defence held but the Tigers forced a second line drop out putting the Raiders under more pressure. A Keith Galloway offload saw Wade McKinnon almost score his third try but a loose pass from the Tigers resulted in the Raiders ending up with a scrum feed inside their own half. The Raiders threw yet another forward pass late in the tackle count to give the ball back to the Tigers on the halfway line in the 47th minute. Some enterprising play from the Tigers in the 48th minute saw the Tigers almost score only for Marshall to throw the ball to the Raiders on the last play and then they counter-attacked to punch inside the Tigers half but came up with a poor last tackle play to let the Tigers off the hook.

Benji Marshall then came up with an ordinary looking field goal attempt in the 50th minute only for it to go over surprisingly. A powerful return from the re-start resulted in Matt Utai knocking out Trevor Thurling and then the Tigers were given a penalty after a strong run from Aaron Woods. The Tigers went close to scorin through Mitch Brown at the end of the next set but the Raiders defence held. The Raiders then scored their second try through Josh Dugan, albeit off a pass which went forward by a metre but was missed by the referees. The try was converted to narrow the gap to 25-12 after 55 minutes. The Tigers nearly hit back in the 57th minute as Matt Utai found some open space down the sideline but Canberra desperately regathered a grubber kick he put in. The Raiders were then forced over the sideline in the 58th minute to give the ball back to the Tigers on the halfway line.

A Raiders knock-on in the 59th minute put the Tigers in even better field position as Robbie Farah had the ball knocked from his grasp. The Tigers then crossed under the posts through Liam Fulton after he hit a flat ball from Farah perfectly. Marshall converted the try to put the Tigers out to a 31-12 lead after 62 minutes. The Tigers then lost the ball from the re-start to give the Raiders a good attacking opportunity. The Tigers forced the ball in goal through Wade McKinnon on the Raiders last tackle. The Tigers defence held solid though as the Raiders lost the ball. A Raiders knock-on in the 66th minute gave the Tigers another good attacking opportunity inside their half. The Tigers attacking raid was extinguished by Bronson Harrison who scooped up a Marshall grubber kick.

The Tigers forced a line drop out in the 70 minute through a well weighted grubber kick from Farah to give them another chance to attack inside the Raiders half. The Tigers then scored on the last play through Chris Heighington after Tim Moltzen almost butchered the try after he had Mitch Brown unmarked on his outside. Marshall again kept his perfect kicking record intact by converting the try to extend the lead to 37-12 with 7 minutes remaining. Andrew Fifita then scored a cracking try for the Tigers as the Tigers ran the ball on the last tackle through Benji Marshall who offloaded to Blake Ayshford who ran out of space and offloaded back to Marshall who offloaded to Rob Lui who sliced straight through the Raiders defence before findin Beau Ryan in support who offloaded to Fifita who carried 2 players over the line to score next to the posts. Marshall converted the try to blow the score out to 43-12. The Raiders kicked the ball dead on the full from the re-start to gift the Tigers a penalty on the halfway line. The Tigers then made a mockery of the Raiders defence as Simon Dwyer crashed over from running a good line off a Rob Lui pass. Tim Moltzen converted the try to make the score 49-12 and that’s the way it stayed for the remaining minute.


Onto the players:

1. Wade McKinnon – A much welcomed return from injury and he had an excellent game, running in 2 tries and proving safe at the back. His support play was also excellent as he seemed to pop up everywhere throughout the match whenever the Tigers made a half break or looked to offload. 9/10.

2. Mitch Brown – Looked more settled on the wing today and proved safe throughout the match in a solid effort. 7/10.

3. Blake Ayshford - Pretty quiet in attack throughout the game as he was fairly well handled by the Raiders. Safe in defence and should appreciate the week off to rest his ankle which I don’t believe was 100% today. 7/10.

4. Tim Moltzen – Didn’t really notice him until he almost butchered a try in the second half when Heighno eventually scored. He’s definitely not a fullback and he’s not a centre either after watching him today. Would have made more sense using him as the back utility on the bench but we’ll have to wait and see where Sheens plays him against Souths in a fortnight. 5/10.

5. Matt Utai – Another strong game in attack and also safe in defence today. Proved handful once again as Trevor Thurling will attest and gave the Tigers good punch out wide. 8/10.

6. Benji Marshall – Found some spark again today and along with Farah, directed the team very well around the field. Passing game was largely very good except for one or two stray passes, his running game was also good, but his kicking game was near perfect, not missing a single shot at goal and his short kicking game was very good. 8.5/10.

7. Rob Lui – Took a backseat to Marshall when it came to attacking play, but his kicking game was excellent today and he sliced the Raiders open in the lead-up to the Andrew Fifita try and threw a nice pass for Dwyer to score late in the game. Solid effort. 8/10.

8. Andrew Fifita – I thought his first stint was once again very quiet in attack, plus he dropped a sitter of a pass followed up by giving away a penalty, but his second spell was much more effective and he did well to score a try. Given his age he’ll be a work in progress for the next couple of years in the front row, but all the ingredients are there. Much better game than last week. 7.5/10.

9. Robbie Farah – Good game today from Farah but he’s still not at his devastating best. He did show what he can do behind a forward pack that goes forward though and his kicking game was good and he threatened several times in attack with the ball in hand. 8/10.

10. Keith Galloway – Strong game again from Galloway and he got the better of the Raiders representative front rowers yet again in a display the City side surely cannot ignore. Gave good go forward all game and defended well. 8/10.

11. Simon Dwyer – Seemed to go unnoticed a bit today, but scored a nice try just before fulltime in a decent, but workmanlike performance. Missed 4 tackles which was the highest by any Tigers player today and this is the part of his game he needs to work on the most. Not bad though. 7/10.

12. Liam Fulton – Pretty good game from Liam today as he got through a lot of work and scored a nice try in the second half. His running game was fine and defensively appeared untroubled. 7.5/10.

13. Chris Heighington – Pick of the Tigers forwards today as he gave himself every chance of being selected in the Country Origin side in a very good display. Proved hard for the Raiders to handle all day in attack and scored a well deserved try which was backed up by a couple of linebreaks and 3 offloads. 8.5/10.

14. Beau Ryan – Too hard to give him a rating given he only played the final 10 minutes but did well to back up and offload in the lead up to the Andrew Fifita try.

15. Al Schirnack – Didn’t get a huge amount of gametime but nevertheless he was good off the bench and he runs very good lines which is pleasing to see.

17. Aaron Woods – Only just shaded by Heighington and Galloway today. Got through a lot of work in attack and defence and made very good metres with the ball. Proving to be an excellent debut season for the young giant and I like the way he just goes about doing the hard yards out on the field. 8/10.

18. Ben Murdoch-Masila – Only played two very short stints in the first and second half and the obvious plan will be to bring him along slowly as he works on his match fitness.

Player stats:
http://live.nrlstats.com/matches/nrl/match6784.html

Overall team analysis:

Attack:
The Tigers attack finally started to resemble the potent weapon for which it is renowned. Farah, Marshall and Lui all directed the team around very well off the back of some good go forward provided by the likes of Galloway, Woods and Heighington and the kicking game was excellent which allowed the Tigers to build constant pressure on the Raiders throughout the match. The Tigers backline got in on the action with Wade McKinnon a standout while Matt Utai was also dangerous with Brown and Ayshford proving solid. Marshall, Farah and Lui all had their moments to shine as they all took a hand in setting up various tries today.

The forward pack also needs to be complemented as they responded well after a couple of flat performances over the past couple of weeks and they set a good platform for the Tigers creative players to work their magic.

Defence:
Unlucky not to hold Canberra to nil today. The fact that there was plenty of doubt over whether Dugan lost the ball in the Raiders first try and his second try came off a clear forward pass shows that the Tigers defence was overall very solid today.

Kicking game:
The kicking game was excellent today, with numerous kicks finding the corners, forcing the Raiders to work the ball deep out of their own half. The Tigers also forced 3 line drop outs and they landed a perfect 8 from 8 in the goalkicking department in a completely dominate and excellent kicking display. Marshall, Lui and Farah were all at their best with kicking the ball today.

Team stats (Please refer to link below):

http://live.nrlstats.com/matches/nrl/match6784.html

An excellent turnaround from last week given the Tigers were outmuscled and out-enthused by a clinical Broncos outfit last week. Losing defensive workhorse Bryce Gibbs before the match didn’t help and given Ben Murdoch-Masila had not played a match this season and only played for around 20 minutes today, it was an excellent display by the Tigers who faced what should have been a desperate Raiders team looking to turn around a 6 game losing streak.

The Tigers were far too strong though, they played smart all game and their key players were all very good, and when the 1, 6, 7 and 9 all work in harmony as they did today, then points flow and the Tigers scored some excellent tries. The team now heads into the bye next week securing a further 2 competition points to keep them in the top 8 and hopefully when they take on Souths in the next fortnight, they will be further strengthened by the return of Gareth Ellis, Bryce Gibbs and Todd Payten.
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Paris Cobbs
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Post by Paris Cobbs » Sun 01 May, 2011 6:31 pm

Thanks Willow, good to have you back. I thought the most pleasing aspect was that we went on with it in the last 10, scoring 3 tries in 8 minutes, rather than letting them make the margin respectable as they did last time we played Canberra.

Also, Utai aside, the three-quarters didn't contribute much in attack- shows how much we miss Lawrence and Tuquiri.
Cheering for the mighty Wests Tigers, all the way from France.

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Post by Tigerdave » Sun 01 May, 2011 6:39 pm

Yeah the good kicking really helped I felt, we were able to apply decent pressure against them for the entire game

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Post by coopy » Sun 01 May, 2011 7:11 pm

I thought Farah was back to his scheming best today - MOM for mine,

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Post by The Shiraz Tiger » Sun 01 May, 2011 8:10 pm

Great result going into the bye. Also good to see Mkinnon coming into his own. Unsure about Ayshford though, I swear he's actaully taking a nap out there some times. Please please please boys, now for some consistency.


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Post by Balmain Bug » Sun 01 May, 2011 8:50 pm

Farah was great.

McKinnon was brilliant.

Heighington was outstanding.
Wests Tigers colours are Black, White & Orange. Balmain are Black & Orange. Wests Tigers are not Balmain. Please take note Wests Tigers CEO.

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Post by alexaki » Sun 01 May, 2011 8:57 pm

Balmain Bug wrote:Farah was great.

McKinnon was brilliant.

Heighington was outstanding.

So was Sheens!!

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Post by alexaki » Sun 01 May, 2011 8:58 pm

Willow great report mate.... Very high standard

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Post by Cysquatch » Sun 01 May, 2011 9:25 pm

great effort, everyone stepped up. kicking game was superb, lets keep that up. at our attacking best today. well done boys
by Novocastrian Tiger » Fri Mar 18, 2011 10:34 pm
Is it just me, or do alot of posts on this forum end up being like a pee pee measuring contest?

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willow
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Post by willow » Sun 01 May, 2011 9:45 pm

Ok, player stats have been updated and some of the key stats for the Tigers are:

McKinnon - 132 metres in attack, 2 tries, 1 linebreak, 5 tackle breaks, 4 missed tackles

Brown - 84 metres in attack

Ayshford - 103 metres in attack

Moltzen - 53 metres in attack

Utai - 145 metres in attack, 1 try, 1 linebreak, 5 tackle breaks, 2 offloads

Marshall - 56 metres in attack, 1 try, 7 goals, 1 field goal, 1 linebreak assist, 1 try assist

Lui - 38 metres in attack, 1 linebreak, 1 try assist, 5 missed tackle

Fifita - 93 metres in attack, 1 try, 23 tackles, 2 offloads

Farah - 83 metres in attack, 2 try assists, 26 tackles

Galloway - 109 metres in attack, 23 tackles, 1 offload

Dwyer - 89 metres in attack, 1 try, 1 linebreak, 20 tackles, 5 missed tackles

Fulton - 83 metres in attack, 1 try, 1 linebreak, 30 tackles, 2 offloads

Heighington - 133 metres in attack, 1 try, 2 linebreaks, 1 try assist, 24 tackles, 3 offloads

Ryan - 47 metres in attack, 1 try assist, 1 offload

Schirnack - 29 metres in attack

Woods - 130 metres in attack, 14 tackles

Murdoch-Masila - 26 metres in attack

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Post by alexaki » Sun 01 May, 2011 9:54 pm

willow wrote:Ok, player stats have been updated and some of the key stats for the Tigers are:

McKinnon - 132 metres in attack, 2 tries, 1 linebreak, 5 tackle breaks, 4 missed tackles

Brown - 84 metres in attack

Ayshford - 103 metres in attack

Moltzen - 53 metres in attack

Utai - 145 metres in attack, 1 try, 1 linebreak, 5 tackle breaks, 2 offloads

Marshall - 56 metres in attack, 1 try, 7 goals, 1 field goal, 1 linebreak assist, 1 try assist

Lui - 38 metres in attack, 1 linebreak, 1 try assist, 5 missed tackle

Fifita - 93 metres in attack, 1 try, 23 tackles, 2 offloads

Farah - 83 metres in attack, 2 try assists, 26 tackles

Galloway - 109 metres in attack, 23 tackles, 1 offload

Dwyer - 89 metres in attack, 1 try, 1 linebreak, 20 tackles, 5 missed tackles

Fulton - 83 metres in attack, 1 try, 1 linebreak, 30 tackles, 2 offloads

Heighington - 133 metres in attack, 1 try, 2 linebreaks, 1 try assist, 24 tackles, 3 offloads

Ryan - 47 metres in attack, 1 try assist, 1 offload

Schirnack - 29 metres in attack

Woods - 130 metres in attack, 14 tackles

Murdoch-Masila - 26 metres in attack
Enough said!..

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Post by MightyMaggy » Mon 02 May, 2011 6:45 am

alexaki wrote:
willow wrote:Ok, player stats have been updated and some of the key stats for the Tigers are:

McKinnon - 132 metres in attack, 2 tries, 1 linebreak, 5 tackle breaks, 4 missed tackles

Brown - 84 metres in attack

Ayshford - 103 metres in attack

Moltzen - 53 metres in attack

Utai - 145 metres in attack, 1 try, 1 linebreak, 5 tackle breaks, 2 offloads

Marshall - 56 metres in attack, 1 try, 7 goals, 1 field goal, 1 linebreak assist, 1 try assist

Lui - 38 metres in attack, 1 linebreak, 1 try assist, 5 missed tackle

Fifita - 93 metres in attack, 1 try, 23 tackles, 2 offloads

Farah - 83 metres in attack, 2 try assists, 26 tackles

Galloway - 109 metres in attack, 23 tackles, 1 offload

Dwyer - 89 metres in attack, 1 try, 1 linebreak, 20 tackles, 5 missed tackles

Fulton - 83 metres in attack, 1 try, 1 linebreak, 30 tackles, 2 offloads

Heighington - 133 metres in attack, 1 try, 2 linebreaks, 1 try assist, 24 tackles, 3 offloads

Ryan - 47 metres in attack, 1 try assist, 1 offload

Schirnack - 29 metres in attack

Woods - 130 metres in attack, 14 tackles

Murdoch-Masila - 26 metres in attack
Enough said!..
Hmmmmmm! Does make a point.

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Post by tigeress » Mon 02 May, 2011 3:21 pm

Good to see you back in the winners circle Tigers! I hope this momentum can remain after the bye. Well done Tigers.

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