Willow's match report and player review

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Willow's match report and player review

Post by willow » Sat 21 May, 2011 11:22 pm

Round 11 of the Telstra NRL premiership saw the Wests Tigers return to Campbelltown Stadium to take on bogey side the Penrith Panthers in a must win match. The Panthers are one team the Tigers have traditionally struggled against, although last season the Tigers turned things around late in the season at Campbelltown to blow the Panthers off the park. With State of Origin upon us, once again the Tigers failed to have any players selected for NSW or QLD and aside from injuries to players, were at full strength, with Tim Sheens surprising everyone by dropping Beau Ryan off the bench and promoting Bryce Gibbs who returned from injury. It was the first time in a long time since the Tigers had taken a 4 man bench consisting entirely of forwards into a match. The Panthers were missing Petero Civonaceiva and Michael Jennings to Origin and Michael Gordon and Timana Tahu were both missing to season ending injuries suffered in last week’s win over the Broncos. The Panthers were dealt a further blow losing five-eighth Travis Burns who was the victim of a hit nerve in a pain killing injection which resulted in him having no feeling in his left leg.

After a lacklustre performance against Souths last week, could the Tigers bounce back at home against the Panthers?

First half:
The Tigers kicked off to the Panthers and gave away a penalty on the very first tackle as Keith Galloway went in for a second attempt as the Panthers broke a tackle. The Tigers defence held and Mitch Brown did brilliantly to defuse a cross field bomb but was caught in goal which resulted in the Tigers having to come up with a line drop-out. The Tigers defence again held solid but they were forced into a second line drop out at the end of the set as Wade McKinnon cleaned up a grubber kick. The Tigers defence did very well once again though and this time forced the Panthers into error as they threw a pass over the sideline. He Tigers then came up with a great break through Wade McKinnon after he was put into a lovely hole by Simon Dwyer. McKinnon was eventually rounded up but one the next play Rob Lui threw a great cut out pass to Blake Ayshford who beat several defenders and carried a couple over the line to score a great try. Marshall converted the try to give the Tigers an early 6-0 lead after 7 minutes and absorbing some early punishment from the Panthers.

The Tigers were helped out of their own half from the re-start as Chris Heighington was hit high in a tackle. The Tigers made good yardage and were given another penalty but Andrew Fifita lost the ball on the first tackle as they attacked the Panthers line. Fifita then compounded things by not marking square and giving away a penalty moments later. Rob Lui came up with a terrible mistake in the 11th minute by knocking on at dummyhalf right in front of the Tigers posts to give the Panthers a great chance to hit back. The Panthers didn’t waste any time by scoring off the scrum win as Iosefa stepped past Lui and was too strong for Liam Fulton to hold off. The try was converted to level the scores at 6-6 after 13 minutes. The Tigers were given a much needed penalty in the 15th minute to put them on the attack inside the Panthers half. The Panthers managed to halt the Tigers, but not before knocking the ball on, giving the Tigers another chance close to the line. Robbie Farah then came up with a great piece of play by dummying across field and eventually finding Simon Dwyer who hit a nice hole to crash over the line. Marshall just missed the kick to leave the Tigers in front at 10-6 after 18 minutes.

Again the Tigers were given a penalty from the re-start to help get them out of their own half. The Tigers again looked dangerous in attack but the Panthers defence held on this time. The Tigers came up with a knock-on in the 24th minute inside their own half to give the Panthers a good chance to strike back once again and they were given a penalty after the Tigers broke the line quickly on the first tackle. The Panthers were then given a second penalty moments later to put the Tigers defence under more pressure. The Panthers lost the ball though to let the Tigers off the hook. The Panthers came up with a good break in the 28th minute but the Tigers defence scrambled well to defuse it, and Mitch Brown came up with a great play moments later to stay in the field of play after defusing a cross field kick.

A Bryce Gibbs error in the 32nd minute again gave the Panthers a good opportunity to attack inside the Tigers half and looked to score a try in the corner through Sandor Earl but Mitch Brown did equally well to tackle him into touch. A dropped ball from Blake Ayshford gave the Panthers another chance to attack inside the Tigers half in the 35th minute as errors started to creep into their game but fortunately their defence held. Farah and Marshall combined well in the 36th minute to have the Panthers backpeddling but a Marshall flick pass was dived on by Coote. The Panthers turned the ball over 30 seconds later though to give the ball back to the Tigers. A nice grubber kick from Rob Lui found Mitch Brown screaming down the sideline but he couldn’t quite gather the ball in to bring an end to a Tigers attacking raid just before halftime. The Panthers did the impossible though as they went length of the field to score through David Simmons. The try was converted to give the Panthers an unlikely 12-10 lead at halftime.

After a promising start to the game, errors had unfortunately crept into the Tigers game and this would have to be addressed at halftime if they were to be any chance of turning the score around in the second half. The completion rate was a very poor 12 of 21 sets completed while the Panthers had the better of the field position as a result. Best players for the Tigers were Robbie Farah and Simon Dwyer while Liam Fulton had some good touches but Benji Marshall looked a little bit out of sorts, with a couple of good touches mixed in with some not so good moments.


2nd half:
The Tigers received the ball from the kick off and got off to a terrible start with Al Schirnack dropping the ball 25 metres out from the Tigers line. The Tigers defence held fortunately as they came away with a 20 metre tap and they were given a much needed penalty shortly afterwards. Schirnack again lost the ball inside the Panthers half as their completion rate continued on a downwards spiral. The Tigers gave away a penalty in the 45th minute to let the Panthers go right on the attack once again inside their half. The Tigers defence held once again but they were playing the match out of their own half so far. The Tigers again came up with a mistake in the 48th minute as Bryce Gibbs forced a pass which wasn’t on. The Panthers made them pay as they scored again through Lachlan Coote as he leapt uncontested for a bomb in the Tigers in-goal to score a soft try. The try was converted to give the Panthers a handy 18-10 lead after 51 minutes.

The Panthers came up with a mistake at the end of the re-start to give the Tigers the ball back on the halfway line. The Tigers had half a chance to score as Andrew Fifita regathered a Farah bomb on the last tackle but offloaded the ball to a Panther player. Yet another soft penalty to the Panthers in the 54th minute put them back inside the Tigers half and on the attack. They came up with an obstruction though to let the Tigers off the hook fortunately. The Panthers were given 6 more tackles in the 57th minute as Tim Moltzen was ruled to have played at a Panthers kick and the Tigers looked to be on the rack but Luke Lewis lost the ball and the Tigers were given a penalty shortly afterwards. The Tigers attack again looked frustrated as they came up with another error to let themselves down.

The Tigers finally forced a line drop out of their own in the 63rd minute off the back of a good break by Wade McKinnon. As had been the story of the night though, the Tigers lost the ball, this time through Simon Dwyer as he looked to force a pass. Benji Marshall then went from being invisible to getting the Tigers back into the match as he collected a loose pass from a bomb the Panthers regathered and he then raced 80 metres to score a try the Tigers sorely needed. Marshall converted his try to narrow the gap to 2 points with 12 minutes remaining. The Tigers then came alive in attack from the re-start as they went length of the field and were given 6 more tackles to attack the Panthers line and were given a penalty in the 70th minute to keep the pressure right on the Panthers line. The Tigers then came up with a great set play between Marshall and Farah to put Mitch Brown in on the last tackle to put the Tigers back in front. Marshall hit the posts with his conversion to leave the Tigers in front by 2 points with just under 7 minutes remaining.

A Panthers mistake in the 75th minute resulted in the Tigers getting the ball back on the halfway line. Wade McKinnon then came up with an important play in the 77th minute as he charged down a Panthers kick but a Rob Lui show and go moments later resulted in the Tigers handing the ball over to the Panthers cheaply once again. McKinnon was again good shortly after as he defused a Panthers bomb on the Tigers line. The Tigers nearly coughed the ball up though as they spun it inside their own 10 metre zone. They somehow managed to win one of the ugliest games of football I have watched in recent years and it was definitely a win built on their defence which was pretty solid.

Onto the players:

1. Wade McKinnon – One of the Tigers best tonight as he threatened several times in attack and sparked the Tigers backline. Also did very well in defusing several bombs put up by the Panthers. Leading metre maker among the Tigers also in a polished performance. 8/10.

2. Mitch Brown – Pretty solid tonight, defused a couple of decent kicks put in by the Panthers, did well making ground out of dummy half and scored the match winning try. Nice game overall from Brown. 7.5/10.

3. Blake Ayshford - Another Tiger who was reasonably good tonight. Scored the opening try and showed some class in doing so, and was strong in defence. 7/10.

4. Tim Moltzen – Just not looking comfortable in the centres from watching him play out there at the moment. Not really threatening in attack tonight and doing very little with the ball in hand and came up with a couple of errors. 4/10.

5. Matt Utai – Better performance from last week and again was strong in attack. Never really threatened while defending which surprised me a bit, but I’m not complaining about that, and at the end of the night Utai was pretty solid once again. 7/10.

6. Benji Marshall – Looked to be out of sorts for large chunks of the match as he took a backseat to Farah and Lui in playmaking, but he stepped up when it mattered most by getting the Tigers back into the match inside the final 20 minutes. Came up with a couple of crazy moments with the ball, none moreso when in the final minute he spun the ball inside the Tigers 10 metre zone and Penrith almost snatched the ball. Not sure whether he was crook going into the match, but he needs to settle down and play a lot smarter than what he did tonight. 6/10.

7. Rob Lui – Had some good touches early and did well in setting up Ayshford for his try, but defensively he was found out by Iosefa for Penrith’s first try. That, along with a lost ball in the second half were his only real blemishes though as he did get through a lot of work in defence. 6.5/10.

8. Andrew Fifita – Pick of the forwards tonight as he was a handful in attack, beating plenty of tackles once again and defended well. Came up with a couple of errors, but there wasn’t much else to complain about as he made good metres and was the only Tigers forward to make more than 100 metres in attack. 7.5/10

9. Robbie Farah – The most creative player in the Tigers lineup tonight, creating 2 try assists and led the side well when they managed to hang onto the ball. Defended soundly also. 7.5/10.

10. Keith Galloway – Only played the first 21 minutes before coming off after suffering a head knock. Unfortunately the big fella was not sighted again and it clearly effected the Tigers go forward. Hopefully he recovers to take on the Dragons next week.

11. Simon Dwyer – Pretty solid game tonight, scored a nice try and I thought his defence was very solid after being quite shaky last week. Definitely one of the Tigers better forward tonight. 7/10.

12. Liam Fulton – Better effort over last week and unlucky not to end up with a couple of linebreaks after running off nice flat short passes from Marshall. Defended well and much more involved in attack which was good to see. 7/10.

13. Chris Heighington – Got a decent break tonight with the 4 forwards on the bench and looked pretty fresh as a result. Also one of the few Tigers players who did not make a mistake tonight. 7/10.

15. Al Schirnack – Unhappy game for Schirnack tonight as his hands let him down on a couple of occasions which put the Tigers defence under pressure. 4/10.

16. Aaron Woods – Another Tiger who came up with a couple of errors tonight which let him down. He wasn’t too bad though, but was a little down on attack from what he has previously shown. Got through plenty of work in defence which was good to see and clearly has a very good workrate. 7/10.

17. Ben Murdoch-Masila – Didn’t get on the field until the second half but looked ok with limited touches once again.

18. Bryce Gibbs – Good to see him back on the field at last. Defensively I thought he was solid as usual and he had a couple of decent hit ups but a couple of errors let him down. Not a bad effort on his return from injury though. 6.5/10.


Player stats:

http://live.nrlstats.com/matches/nrl/match7103.html

Overall team analysis:

Attack:

Not the best tonight, mainly due to the atrocious handling and completion rate the Tigers came up with (61% for the match). Farah, Marshall and Lui all had some good touches, but none were consistent for the 80 minutes. The Tigers didn’t get a great deal of good field position as a result, but 3 of their 4 tries were all scored from within 20 metres of the Panthers line. McKinnon was dangerous at times while Utai was a handful out wide while Fifita, Dwyer and Fulton all threatened at times amongst the forwards. Plenty to improve upon though.

Defence:

This is arguably what won the game for the Tigers tonight. While their ball control was terrible and put their defence under all sorts of pressure, fortunately the team did turn up to tackle tonight and they missed few tackles. No player missed more than 2 tackles tonight which was the most pleasing aspect.

Kicking game:

Terrible for the most part. Because of the poor ball control the Tigers never really developed any sort of kicking game to build pressure against the Panthers. There were occasional kicks which found open space and one line drop out was forced. It may have been a different story if the Tigers had of made it to the end of their sets far more regularly than they did.

Team stats (Please refer to link below):

http://live.nrlstats.com/matches/nrl/match7103.html

To summarise, what an ugly game of Rugby League to watch. I spent most of the night shaking my head at the alarming number of mistakes the Tigers made but luckily for them, their defence was pretty solid and kept them in the match until Marshall pounced on a loose ball and his footwork and speed did the rest. An important 2 competition points were ultimately the reward for the Tigers, but let’s not kid ourselves, they take on the Dragons at Kogarah next Sunday and they have half their team playing State Of Origin while the other half will be fresh coming back off the bye. If the Tigers play like they did tonight, it won’t be a contest – They know this and hopefully they can pick things up dramatically and give the Dragons a run for their money.
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Post by supercoach » Sat 21 May, 2011 11:31 pm

Willow, your a very kind man--my best player would have got a 6 and plenty out their would have been around the 2 mark. The only good thing was Sheens actually gave them one hell of a spray in the press conference. THey were rubbish

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Post by happy tiger » Sat 21 May, 2011 11:34 pm

Great stuff Willow spot on with assessments Thanks Champion

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Post by willow » Sat 21 May, 2011 11:43 pm

supercoach wrote:Willow, your a very kind man--my best player would have got a 6 and plenty out their would have been around the 2 mark. The only good thing was Sheens actually gave them one hell of a spray in the press conference. THey were rubbish
I was being kind, but I'm trying to keep it relative as to who played well and who didn't. As a team, there's no doubt there is a huge amount of improvement required if the Tigers are going to do anything in this competition.

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Post by willow » Sun 22 May, 2011 12:20 am

Ok, player stats have been updated and I'll go through them here:

1. McKinnon - 142 metres in attack, 2 linebreaks, 5 tackle breaks, 2 offloads, 3 tackles, 2 missed tackles.

2. Brown - 73 metres in attack, 1 try, 1 linebreak, 5 tackle breaks, 5 tackles, 2 missed tackles and 2 errors.

3. Ayshford - 101 metres in attack, 1 try, 1 linebreak, 5 tackle breaks, 17 tackles and 1 error.

4. Moltzen - 34 metres in attack, 13 tackles, 4 missed tackles and 1 error.

5. Utai - 129 metres in attack, 5 tackle breaks, 1 error.

6. Marshall - 149 metres in attack, 1 try, 2 linebreaks, 6 tackle breaks, 2 offloads, 10 tackles, 5 missed tackles and 2 errors.

7. Lui - 25 metres in attack, 1 try assist, 1 linebreak assist, 21 tackles, 2 missed tackles, 3 errors.

8. Fifita - 117 metres in attack, 6 tackle breaks, 1 offload, 32 tackles and 2 errors.

9. Farah - 79 metres in attack, 2 try assists, 2 linebreak assists, 2 offloads, 35 tackles.

10. Galloway - 20 metres in attack, 10 tackles.

11. Dwyer - 79 metres in attack, 1 try, 1 linebreak, 1 offload, 32 tackles, 2 missed tackles, 1 error.

12. Fulton - 100 metres in attack, 4 tackle breaks, 36 tackles, 2 missed tackles.

13. Heighington - 83 metres in attack, 3 tackle breaks, 2 offloads, 28 tackles.

15. Schirnack - 15 metres in attack, 20 tackles, 2 missed tackles, 2 errors.

16. Murdoch-Masila - 32 metres in attack, 13 tackles.

17. Woods - 58 metres in attack, 1 offload, 34 tackles, 2 missed tackles, 1 error.

18. Gibbs - 55 metres in attack, 21 tackles.


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Post by Paris Cobbs » Sun 22 May, 2011 3:08 am

Thanks Willow. A very astute assessment tonight. Our defense kept us in the game, then our stars got us over the line.

One thing - I thought Robbie was MOM, and deserved more than 7.5. Look at his stats, that's what NSW is missing.
Cheering for the mighty Wests Tigers, all the way from France.

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Post by Demps » Sun 22 May, 2011 8:59 am

Good read, cheers.
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Post by underdog » Sun 22 May, 2011 9:12 am

Utai again with the metres. He's a machine.
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Post by westTAHger » Sun 22 May, 2011 9:15 am

thanks willow for the effort you put into your match report.
.
I like you am very wary, that wests-tigers are going to get taught a very hard lesson by dragons, if they don't cut out simple mistakes. :pray:
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Basil, our rescue dog, is wondering when wests tigers will win 25 - 18 :D

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Post by Snake » Sun 22 May, 2011 9:30 am

All players receive 1 point for turning up ...and 1 point for neat and tidy dress sence ... Sheens receives 1 point for a great smoother speech to deviate from his teams preparation.

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Post by happy tiger » Sun 22 May, 2011 9:33 am

willow wrote:Ok, player stats have been updated and I'll go through them here:

1. McKinnon - 142 metres in attack, 2 linebreaks, 5 tackle breaks, 2 offloads, 3 tackles, 2 missed tackles.

2. Brown - 73 metres in attack, 1 try, 1 linebreak, 5 tackle breaks, 5 tackles, 2 missed tackles and 2 errors.

3. Ayshford - 101 metres in attack, 1 try, 1 linebreak, 5 tackle breaks, 17 tackles and 1 error.

4. Moltzen - 34 metres in attack, 13 tackles, 4 missed tackles and 1 error.

5. Utai - 129 metres in attack, 5 tackle breaks, 1 error.

6. Marshall - 149 metres in attack, 1 try, 2 linebreaks, 6 tackle breaks, 2 offloads, 10 tackles, 5 missed tackles and 2 errors.

7. Lui - 25 metres in attack, 1 try assist, 1 linebreak assist, 21 tackles, 2 missed tackles, 3 errors.

8. Fifita - 117 metres in attack, 6 tackle breaks, 1 offload, 32 tackles and 2 errors.

9. Farah - 79 metres in attack, 2 try assists, 2 linebreak assists, 2 offloads, 35 tackles.

10. Galloway - 20 metres in attack, 10 tackles.

11. Dwyer - 79 metres in attack, 1 try, 1 linebreak, 1 offload, 32 tackles, 2 missed tackles, 1 error.

12. Fulton - 100 metres in attack, 4 tackle breaks, 36 tackles, 2 missed tackles.

13. Heighington - 83 metres in attack, 3 tackle breaks, 2 offloads, 28 tackles.

15. Schirnack - 15 metres in attack, 20 tackles, 2 missed tackles, 2 errors.

16. Murdoch-Masila - 32 metres in attack, 13 tackles.

17. Woods - 58 metres in attack, 1 offload, 34 tackles, 2 missed tackles, 1 error.

18. Gibbs - 55 metres in attack, 21 tackles.
Didn't Woods drop the ball in consecutive sets Could of been wrong

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Post by smeghead » Sun 22 May, 2011 12:02 pm

Though apart from his dropped balls Schirnack handled the Heighno swap really well, especially in defence and linespeed. But those two handling errors were brutal.

Only player in the backline not to bust a tackle was Moltzen

The stat not recorded but what I noticed at the game was that Woods and Gibbs coming on with 5 to go was only interchange cards 6 and 7. What is up with that?
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Post by senexx » Sun 22 May, 2011 12:17 pm

I'm impressed by those that have 0 missed tackles
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And Stripes across My Heart
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Post by willow » Sun 22 May, 2011 4:52 pm

smeghead wrote:Though apart from his dropped balls Schirnack handled the Heighno swap really well, especially in defence and linespeed. But those two handling errors were brutal.

Only player in the backline not to bust a tackle was Moltzen

The stat not recorded but what I noticed at the game was that Woods and Gibbs coming on with 5 to go was only interchange cards 6 and 7. What is up with that?
That was a shame because I thought Schirnack had been developing nicely and can certainly run good angles, hopefully his hands don't let him down like that again, but he wasn't alone last night. The interchange was definitely a lot different to usual given there were no backs on the bench last night, and Galloway took no further part after 21 minutes.

From memory the following players were changed:

Galloway off at 21 minutes, Gibbs on.
Fifita off after 23 or 24 minutes, Woods on.
Heighington off after 30 minutes, Schirnack on.
Fifita and Heighno back on in the second half to replace Gibbs and Woods.
Murdoch-Masila on to replace Schirnack.
Woods came on late again to replace Dwyer and Gibbs to replace Fifita.

8 changes used by my calculations...Could be wrong though.

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Post by sjtiger » Sun 22 May, 2011 7:27 pm

happy tiger wrote:Didn't Woods drop the ball in consecutive sets Could of been wrong
Im pretty sure that was Schirnack, in the 2nd half.

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Post by Goose » Tue 24 May, 2011 11:24 am

i think you were very kind to Lui in particular, he looked rudderless last night, a couple times in ran in a full circle
far from our best performance, on the upside, fifita is developing very nicely and is becoming a better player than i thought he was going to be (obviously i knew he was a great ball runner, but his work rate and defensively mobility has improved out of sight, he is becoming a complete player)

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Post by tigerbenji » Tue 24 May, 2011 11:44 am

I agree Fifita is coming along well, but @ full strength i would still like to see him come off the bench.

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