Willow's match report and player review

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Willow's match report and player review

Post by willow » Sun 12 Jun, 2011 8:02 pm

Round 14 of the Telstra NRL premiership saw the Wests Tigers travel across the ditch to Munt Smart Stadium to take on the New Zealand Warriors in a match which could really help turn the Tigers inconsistent season around if they could come away with the points. The Tigers entered this match in 7th spot on the competition ladder while the Warriors were sitting in 6th. The Tigers again entered this match minus a host of star players, with Todd Payten still sitting on the sideline along with Chris Lawrence, Lote Tuqiri, Geoff Daniela and Matt Utai. With Lote Tuqiri named in the starting side during the week but ruled out, this resulted in Beau Ryan starting on the wing while young centre Tim Simona was called up to the bench after a solid debut last week. Fullback Wade McKinnon was a welcome return from a persistent hamstring injury though.

It would be a big ask for the Tigers after they scraped home in golden point extra time against Newcastle and were up against a big physical Warriors side who boasted a very tight defence. Could the Tigers crack them inside enemy territory?

First half:
Both sides looked to be up to the challenge early on, however the Warriors looked ominous with several players getting offloads away to create effective second phase play which put the Tigers on the backfoot. The first real attacking chance of the game went to the Warriors from a penalty, but the Tigers forced the ball loose in a solid tackle to relieve the pressure. At the same time the Tigers also looked slick with the passing game on the edges troubling the Warriors as the likes of Marshall and Lui were in good touch early. A Tigers penalty in the 7th minute saw them attack the Warriors line and it was Rob Lui who came up with a great cut out pass for Blake Ayshford to stroll over close to the line. Marshall’s conversion hit the upright to leave the Tigers in front 4-0 after 9 minutes.

From the re-start though, the Tigers as they are so capable of, came up with an error as Mitch Brown was man-handled by Lewis Brown and lost the ball. This gave the Warriors a great chance to hit back but the Tigers defence held firm but they were forced into a line drop out as a grubber kick was forced dead. The Warriors started to get away a few offloads in this passage of play but yet again the Tigers defence was up to the challenge despite knocking on a Warriors cross field bomb on the last tackle. The Warriors looked set to score through Manu Vatuvei from the scrum win but he lost the ball over the line after beating Beau Ryan and Wade McKinnon. The Tigers coughed the ball up moments later to put their defence under more pressure though. Once again the Tigers defence showed great resolve to repel the Warriors. The Warriors cut the Tigers to pieces in the 20th minute though as Kevin Locke beat Rob Lui and Simon Dwyer before sprinting upfield and offloading to Feleti Mateo who was caught 10 metres short of the Tigers line. They spread the ball wide on the next play and it was Krisnan Inu who scored in the corner. The conversion was waved away to leave both sides locked at 4-4.

The re-start was not pretty for the Tigers with a powerful charge from prop Russell Packer resulting in Rob Lui come reeling out of the tackle with an injured arm or shoulder while Chris Heighington was knocked senseless on the next run from Ben Matulino as he got his head in a bad position. Wade McKinnon came up with a great break in the 26th minute and the Tigers looked to score off the next play through Tim Moltzen as he dived upon a Benji Marshall grubber kick, however replays showed Moltzen foolishly pushed a Warriors player resulting in a no-try and penalty to the Warriors. Liam Fulton almost scored for the Tigers in the 28th minute after running hard close to the line off a very nice flat pass from Rob Lui but pulled up just short. Mitch Brown went close on the next play but was belted close to the line by Kevin Locke.

The Warriors kicked the Tigers in the teeth leading into halftime as they scored a fortunate try off a bomb which bounced and was eventually dived on by Kevin Locke. The simple conversion was somehow missed by Maloney who was having an off-day with the boot. There was no further change to the score with the Warriors leading 8-4 at halftime in an arm-wrestle.

For the Tigers Bryce Gibbs and Gareth Ellis were strong in the forwards while Wade McKinnon and Blake Ayshford had some decent touches.


2nd half:
Both teams got stuck into each other to start the second half, but it was the Warriors who soon gained the ascendancy as they cut the Tigers open from a 20 metre re-start in the 46th minute through multiple offloads before giant winger Manu Vatuvai crossed out wide as the Tigers scrambling defence wasn’t up to the task. The conversion was again missed by Maloney to put the Warriors ahead 12-4. The Warriors second phase play then came to the fore as they cut the Tigers apart in the 51st minute and almost scored except for the final pass going to ground. The Tigers inexplicably coughed the ball up shortly after but somehow held on to get the ball back inside the Warriors half. A dropped pass from Marshall inside the Warriors half brought the Tigers pressure undone though.

The Warriors extended their lead in the 54th minute as halfback Shaun Johnson showed a clean pair of heels to stand up Wade McKinnon as he burst through a big hole as Mateo was offloading at will. The try again went unconverted to extend the Warriors lead to 16-4 after 57 minutes. Worse was yet to come for the Tigers as the Warriors went back-to-back, scoring on the next set of 6 through a chip kick on the last tackle which was regathered by Feleti Mateo who offloaded out wide before Vatuvai scored his second try of the afternoon. Maloney finally managed to convert a try with the scoreline blowing out to 22-4 after 60 minutes and things looking very ugly for the Tigers…Or so everyone thought…

What happened to the Tigers in the final 20 minutes I don’t quite understand, but they somehow managed to claw their way back into the match and it possibly started with Bryce Gibbs earning the Tigers a penalty with 18 minutes to go after they were seemingly going nowhere with the ball in hand. The Tigers almost scored through Liam Fulton after he ran onto a great cutout ball from Marshall but was caught just short of the line. The Tigers scored a brilliant try on the next play though as Gareth Ellis stepped back inside a couple of defenders before throwing a brilliant flick pass to Benji Marshall who scored and converted his try to leave the Tigers trailing 22-10 with 16 minutes remaining.

From the re-start the Tigers looked to be an altogether different side as they surged forward downfield with a great run by Blake Ayshford and a Marshall bomb on the last tackle was well taken by Wade McKinnon who regathered and scored next to the posts. Marshall converted to leave the Tigers trailing 22-16 with 13 minutes left on the clock. Benji Marshall then really turned the screw with an excellent 40/20 to put the Tigers right on the attack inside the Warriors 20 metre zone. The Tigers didn’t score from this set but the renewed enthusiasm was there for all to see. A shocking pass from Benji Marshall in the 72nd minute went 20 metres backwards before being collected by Blake Ayshford who then came up with a brilliant run before finding Marshall in support who scored his second try of the afternoon. Marshall converted his try to level the score at 22-22 with 7 minutes remaining.

The Tigers then cut the Warriors to shreds in the next set as they threw some great passes to cut the Warriors defence open and they received an extra set of 6 due to a Warriors hand touching a pass. Benji Marshall then threw a neat over the head pass to Beau Ryan who had plenty of work to do in scoring in the corner. Marshall missed the conversion but the Tigers now miraculously led 26-22 after being down 22-4 after 60 minutes. The Warriors had one last crack at the Tigers as Marshall put up a terrible mid-field bomb which was regathered by the Warriors. The Tigers then knocked a Warriors bomb as Mitch Brown leapt high and couldn’t take the ball in. The Tigers defence desperately managed to hold on and the Tigers came away with a nail-biting but courageous win.

Onto the players:

1. Wade McKinnon – I thought he was one of the Tigers better players today, even allowing for him to be stood up the Warriors halfback in the second half. Came up with a great line break in the first half which the Tigers should have scored off on the next play, but Moltzen’s push in the back cost the Tigers 4 points. Missed a few tackles today when the Warriors were cutting the Tigers up but he supported the play well and was generally well positioned at the back. Scored a nice try after regathering a Marshall bomb after Kevin Locke flew high but missed the ball. 7/10.

5. Mitch Brown – Well contained today by Lewis Brown and he came up with several errors which also let him down. Went close to scoring a try in the first half but was cut in half by Kevin Locke. Defensively he wasn’t really troubled. 4/10.

3. Blake Ayshford - Backed up his blinder against Newcastle with another strong effort today which included 3 linebreaks, a try and a try assist. Broke plenty of tackles in the second half when the Tigers came to life and Blake is really starting to show what he is capable of in attack. Defensively he was pretty good and he was one of the Tigers best today. 8/10.

4. Tim Moltzen – Shifted back to the centres today and the effect was immediate – Quiet in attack and nearly non-existent but defensively he came up with some good grassing tackles. Should have scored a try but a silly push in the back on a Warriors player cost him. I thought he may have stepped up to play a bigger role in the second half during the Tigers comeback when Lui left the field, but again I barely sighted Tim in the final 20 minutes. Definitely not a centre, and if he’s going to end up at fullback, he’ll need more time there, but this does not look like happening as long as McKinnon is fit. I feel sorry for him at the moment. 5/10.

14. Beau Ryan –Had a tough time of things giving away 30kg and marking up against the biggest winger in the competition and while he got swatted a few times, in the end he did well to score the winning try and showed decent ticker out there. Still gives a few scares when kicks are aimed at him and he took a falcon to the head in the second half but overall he was ok. 6/10.

6. Benji Marshall – He was fairly well contained by the Warriors until the final 18 minutes or so but as he has so often showed over the years, he can be quiet for 60 minutes, or even 75 minutes and still win you the game. Came up with a couple of try assists and bagged a couple of tries himself. Also kicked a great 40/20 in the second half as the Tigers mounted their comeback and his goalkicking was ok. Came up with a couple of errors, but that’s nothing new and not unexpected. Defensively he was not really tested while his running game was only used once or twice. 7.5/10.

7. Rob Lui – Again looked to have a bright start to the game as he came up with a nice try assist for Ayshford, but his defence was again poor as he was trampled twice. While he did not miss anywhere near as many tackles as last week, defence is one aspect of Lui’s game which can be coached and improved upon, and this is the area he needs to work on most. There’s nothing wrong with his passing or kicking, but defensively this kid needs help and partnering him with Simon Dwyer is not working as Dwyer has his own defensive issues. Left the field in the second half after sustaining an arm injury in the first half. 5/10.

8. Bryce Gibbs – One of the Tigers better players today, one of only two Tigers forwards to make over 100 metres in attack, defended well and even ended up in open space in the second half. Sorry to see him leave the Tigers as games like today show how important he is to the team. 7.5/10.

9. Robbie Farah – Pretty quiet today, rarely ran the ball and did not really threaten in attack as he has done over the last couple of weeks. Defensively he topped the tackle count again and his kicking game was ok, but not great. He did get away 3 offloads though which was good to see. 6.5/10.

10. Keith Galloway – Down on last week’s effort as the big Warriors pack wrapped him up well, but he came up with the occasional run which dented the Warriors line and defensively he was strong. 7/10.

11. Simon Dwyer – Defensively he is worse than Lui because as a 100kg backrower, you should not be missing 4 or 5 tackles every game, and Dwyer missed 7 today including a dual miss with Lui in the first half on Locke. In attack he was well handled but at least he held the ball today. Needs plenty of runners coming at him at training to help fix his defence because he can hit very well when he wants to. 5/10.

12. Gareth Ellis – Great to have him back in the team after a long lay off from injury and he was again strong today, coming up with a brilliant flick pass for Marshall to score in the second half. Strong with the ball and defended well. 7.5/10.

13. Chris Heighington – Pretty quiet compared to the blinders he has played over the last couple of weeks. He got his head in an awful position while making a tackle in the first half which knocked him out and he didn’t look the same for the rest of the match. 5.5/10.

15. Liam Fulton – I thought he was good off the bench today. Got belted a couple of times carting the ball up, but he also made some good runs and nearly scored a couple of tries. Defensively he was good. 6.5/10.

16. Aaron Woods –Quiet with the ball in hand as he was on the field when the Warriors were enjoying most of the ball but during this time his defence was ok. Pretty quiet compared to the last few weeks, but the forward stats were like this for both teams surprisingly. 5/10.

17. Andrew Fifita – Again like Woods, he was pretty quiet as he did not get a lot of ball in attack and spent most of his time defending. 5/10.

19. Tim Simona – Played the last 25 minutes out on the wing and went ok once again. Looks good running the ball and defensively he did not have a lot of work to do today.

Player stats:
http://live.nrlstats.com/matches/nrl/match7263.html

Overall team analysis:

Attack:

A funny game to watch this one. The first half was very much an arm wrestle as both sides looked well matched, the Warriors always looked threatening offloading the ball and bending the Tigers back with second phase play, while the Tigers looked sharp on the edges with Marshall and Lui’s passing games generally on target. The second half was where the game opened right up with the Warriors dominating the first 20 minutes with the Tigers storming home in the final 20. During this time Marshall and Ayshford ran amok while Ellis was also strong. McKinnon also supported around the middle of the field well.

Defence:

At times it was quite poor with the Tigers main problems stemming from simple missed tackles once again. The other problem was not hitting hard enough in defence at times, allowing the likes of Feleti Mateo to offload. The Tigers have generally been ok at offloads themselves this season, but the Warriors came up with twice as many offloads as the Tigers and this is where they caused a lot of damage in the second half. Simon Dwyer, Chris Heighington, Beau Ryan and Wade McKinnon all missed too many tackles, and Rob Lui missed a couple of tackles that should not have been missed. Still plenty of room for improvement defensively.

Kicking game:

It was not particularly good today with some decent kicks put in to find touch, while Marshall came up with a decent bomb for McKinnon to score from, but there were some poor kicks too which went nowhere and did not apply any pressure. Marshall came up with a nice 40/20 but the kicking game once again was not as good as it should be with 3 decent kickers in the side.
Team stats (Please refer to link below):
http://live.nrlstats.com/matches/nrl/match7263.html

A strange game to watch, but in the end one that proved very exciting after an arm wrestle in the first half. Both teams looked pretty evenly matched and it showed on the scoreboard and overall stats in the end, and while the Warriors made more ground in attack, the Tigers completion rate was 81% today and this enabled them to build plenty of pressure in the backend of the game and they were too slick for the Warriors to handle in the end.

It was by no means a great game, but as coach Tim Sheens said, he would take an ugly win if it meant getting the 2 points, and while the match wasn’t really ugly, Sheens would have been impressed with the Tigers commitment as it looked like spiralling out of control in the second half before the Tigers dug deep and played some decent football.


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Post by PYMBLEPETE » Sun 12 Jun, 2011 8:13 pm

Thanks for the report Willow.

My only observations are that last week I thought that overall you were a bit generous with the points but this week I think a bit harsh overall - it was a famous victory afer all based largely on some tough work in the first half. Things didnt go our way early in the second (Gibbs not there the main difference no doubt) but they obviously never gave up and somehow conjured an incredible win.

I thought Moltzen defended with a lot of character against much bigger men. He is still not offering a lot in attack, but I thought today that he showed he is continuing to improve and I expect him named in the 7 next week and to give a bold showing.

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Post by willow » Sun 12 Jun, 2011 8:19 pm

Stats wise there was not as much to rave about and overall I did not see as many standout players Pete...I could be wrong but that's the way it played out in front of my eyes today. Ayshford and McKinnon were good, Ellis and Gibbs were both strong in the middle and Marshall came alive in the last 20 minutes. Otherwise it was a bit of an arm wrestle with the Tigers fortunate enough the Warriors could only kick 1 goal.

Only 2 forward to make more than 100 metres in attack (Ellis and Gibbs) and only 2 backs to make over 100 metres (McKinnon and Ayshford).

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Post by Goose » Sun 12 Jun, 2011 8:30 pm

every week you are way too harsh on moltzen, as if today he was equal worse player on the field!
he was fine today....

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Post by Kickme » Sun 12 Jun, 2011 8:49 pm

I dont know wahat game you were watching and to take the stats of nrlstats site which is a load of rubbish. I feel you a to harsh and should keep your opinions to yourself. The thing about this forum they write the team off before the game is over and eat their words when they win.


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Post by willow » Sun 12 Jun, 2011 9:19 pm

Kickme wrote:I dont know wahat game you were watching and to take the stats of nrlstats site which is a load of rubbish. I feel you a to harsh and should keep your opinions to yourself. The thing about this forum they write the team off before the game is over and eat their words when they win.
The stats are always adjusted a few hours after the game once the analysts sit down and watch the game a second time.

Why should I keep my opinion to myself when this is a forum and WE ALL give our opinions :crazy

Did the Tigers play great football for 80 minutes? Did they shut the Warriors down for the entire game? Did they play a flawless game where no tackles were missed and no passes were dropped?

And for the record, I don't write the Tigers off before the game. I tip them just about every week and I tipped them today.

Yes, the effort was there, yes there were some good tries scored and some good pieces of play, but let's not kid ourselves, the Tigers are not playing at their best and there's still a lot of improvement left in this team.

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Post by Nix » Sun 12 Jun, 2011 9:22 pm

willow wrote:What happened to the Tigers in the final 20 minutes I don’t quite understand
Are you a for real ?

It's obvious that what happened is Lui went off and Moltzen moved to halfback. The game then came a live with the Benji and Moltzen combo instantly paying off.

To only give Moltzen 5/10 you must be having a laugh ????

Maybe it's just that bias that i referred to a few weeks back that you would not expect site Moderators / Admins to have, but comes shining through every time.

Hopefully Sheens will see what all of us saw and play Moltz at 7 next week.

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Post by willow » Sun 12 Jun, 2011 9:22 pm

Goose wrote:every week you are way too harsh on moltzen, as if today he was equal worse player on the field!
he was fine today....
I call it like I see it. He bombed a try with a push in the back and was barely sighted in attack. Defensively he was fine and he gets a pass mark of 50% as a result.

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Post by willow » Sun 12 Jun, 2011 9:25 pm

Nix wrote:
willow wrote:What happened to the Tigers in the final 20 minutes I don’t quite understand
Are you a for real ?

It's obvious that what happened is Lui went off and Moltzen moved to halfback. The game then came a live with the Benji and Moltzen combo instantly paying off.

To only give Moltzen 5/10 you must be having a laugh ????

Maybe it's just that bias that i referred to a few weeks back that you would not expect site Moderators / Admins to have, but comes shining through every time.

Hopefully Sheens will see what all of us saw and play Moltz at 7 next week.
It's obvious you didn't watch the final 20 minutes then because Moltzen was not playing halfback and to suggest the Tigers made their comeback because Lui went off shows your lack of knowledge.

As I said, Moltzen gets a pass mark for defending soundly. He did next to nothing in attack as 13 receives and 6 runs in 80 minutes shows.

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Post by willow » Sun 12 Jun, 2011 9:51 pm

Ok, player stats have now been updated and here they are below:

1. McKinnon - 22 receives, 14 runs, 124 metres in attack, 1 try, 1 line break, 6 tackles, 5 missed tackles

14. Ryan - 11 receives, 9 runs, 66 metres in attack, 1 try, 1 line break, 5 tackle breaks, 4 tackles, 3 missed tackles

3. Ayshford - 14 receives, 11 runs, 144 metres in attack, 1 try, 3 linebreaks, 1 try assist, 8 tackle breaks, 17 tackles, 4 missed tackles, 1 error

4. Moltzen - 13 receives, 6 runs, 48 metres in attack, 11 tackles, 3 missed tackles, 1 error

5. Brown - 10 receives, 9 runs, 73 metres in attack, 3 tackle breaks, 5 tackles, 4 errors

6. Marshall - 48 receives, 8 runs, 33 metres in attack, 2 tries, 2 try assists, 1 line break, 2 line break assists, 1 offload, 4 tackle breaks, 5 tackles, 3 missed tackles, 2 errors

7. Lui - 30 receives, 3 runs, 30 metres in attack, 1 try assist, 1 line break assist, 15 tackles, 5 missed tackles

8. Gibbs - 14 receives, 12 runs, 114 metres in attack, 1 line break, 1 offload, 3 tackles breaks, 20 tackles

9. Farah - 91 receives, 9 runs, 66 metres in attack, 3 tackle breaks, 1 line break assist, 1 offload, 38 tackles

10. Galloway - 10 receives, 10 runs, 78 metres in attack, 24 tackles, 1 error

11. Dwyer - 9 receives, 9 runs, 56 metres in attack, 1 offload, 30 tackles, 5 missed tackles

12. Ellis - 17 receives, 16 runs, 118 metres in attack, 1 try assist, 1 line break assist, 2 offloads, 4 tackle breaks, 25 tackles, 2 missed tackles

13. Heighington - 11 receives, 10 runs, 65 metres in attack, 1 line break assist, 1 offload, 19 tackles, 2 missed tackles

15. Fulton - 13 receives, 10 runs, 82 metres in attack, 1 line break assist, 1 offload, 27 tackles, 2 missed tackles

16. Woods - 6 receives, 5 runs, 36 metres in attack, 18 tackles

17. Fifita - 6 receives, 6 runs, 42 metres in attack, 21 tackles, 3 missed tackles, 1 error

19. Simona - 5 receives, 4 runs, 34 metres in attack, 2 tackle breaks, 5 tackles

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Post by AJ* » Sun 12 Jun, 2011 10:08 pm

Kickme wrote:I dont know wahat game you were watching and to take the stats of nrlstats site which is a load of rubbish. I feel you a to harsh and should keep your opinions to yourself. The thing about this forum they write the team off before the game is over and eat their words when they win.
IMO He's spot on with the ratings and wasn't harsh at all. What game were you watching?
I've generally found Willow's reviews to be quite comprehensive and unbiased. I'm sure many members who've missed a game appreciate his reviews and ratings. I sure did during the finals last year.

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Post by Vicious » Sun 12 Jun, 2011 10:48 pm

I`m a Moltzen fan, but agree 5/10 was about right today. He tried hard and didn`t do anything wrong, but didn`t really make an individual impact on the game like he is capable of.
In saying this he is starting to threaten the defence when he has the ball in hand and didn`t look out of place when defending, so I don`t think a real big game from him is far away, possibly at Leichhardt next week.

I would agree with nearly all the ratings, only i`d have Benji as an 8/10 and MOM for mine and I`d probably give Heighington about 6.5/10 reason being he made some very influential ball carries when we scored the majority of our points in the back half of the game.
I`d also probably score Simon Dwyer a touch higher, I would agree he has been a little down on form over the past couple of games and needs to become more involved, but what he does is good quality.

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Post by tig_prmz » Mon 13 Jun, 2011 1:45 am

Even though I thought Farah was quiet today, which he was, his stats astonish me.

He still made 66 metres from 9 runs, which by no way is excellent but it's alrite.

Compare that to Ennis' stats...

Also, soo many no. of missed tackles, not good.
My Round 1 Team 2018

1. lolo 2. noffa 3. suli 4. milne 5. fonua
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Post by Paris Cobbs » Mon 13 Jun, 2011 2:12 am

Thanks for the report Willow, as usual. Anyone who says you should shut up must be a refugee from another forum. You are an institution.

I thought this was a much higher standard of game in general by both sides than last week. Given that, perhaps your scores are a touch low across the board. I wouldn't object to 9 for Ayshford and 8 for Gibbs (hereafter to be known as 'Jaws') and Marshall.

Our defence was excellent for a very long time in the first half, and the Warriors second try was, as you say, very lucky. The Warriors scored a couple of brilliant tries in the second half that no-one would have stopped. At 22-4 the Tigers showed great character to stay in the game at all, let alone scoring four tries in 18 minutes to manage a brilliant win. A bit of luck came in handy too.
Cheering for the mighty Wests Tigers, all the way from France.

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Post by Tigerdave » Mon 13 Jun, 2011 6:44 am

Nix wrote:
willow wrote:What happened to the Tigers in the final 20 minutes I don’t quite understand
Are you a for real ?

It's obvious that what happened is Lui went off and Moltzen moved to halfback. The game then came a live with the Benji and Moltzen combo instantly paying off.
I would suggest you watch the game again, Lui went off around the 52 minute mark when it was 12-4.

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Post by mikey » Mon 13 Jun, 2011 8:11 am

Great report as usual Willow. I may not agree on all your ratings but they are usually spot on.

The service and time you devote to the reports and other things is immeasurable and I would hate to lose that. Don't let the wannabes get to you.

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Post by jtigerman » Mon 13 Jun, 2011 8:45 am

willow wrote: I call it like I see it. He bombed a try with a push in the back and was barely sighted in attack. Defensively he was fine and he gets a pass mark of 50% as a result.
Unlike a few people here i actually agree with most of your ratings and comments (including Moltz's rating) but Moltzen didn't bomb a try with that push. If he hadn't of pushed him then the Warriors player would have gotten the ball. So he he likely bombed a line drop out and hence an opportunity for a try but it certainly can't be said he bombed a try due to the push.

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Post by Team Tiger » Mon 13 Jun, 2011 8:54 am

Thanks, Willow. Always a great read. Keep it up :)
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