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Telecast: Ch 9
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Post by willow » Sat 17 Mar, 2012 10:02 am

WESTS TIGERS LOSE 36-12 TO DRAGONS IN NRL
By Wayne Cousins
16/03/2012 9:30:04 PM

Wests Tigers turned in a disappointing performance in losing 36-12 to St George-Illawarra Dragons tonight in round 3 of the Telstra Premiership.

In front of a crowd of 18,726, some poor defence up the middle saw Wests Tigers trail 24-6 at half-time. Wests Tigers went into the match without international second-rower Gareth Ellis who failed to overcome a corked thigh.

Liam Fulton started the match in replace of Ellis with Junior Moors coming onto the interchange bench.

Wests Tigers Captain and hooker Robbie Farah was not placed on report in the fifth minute for a lifting tackle on opposing captain Ben Hornby in a short run from dummy half on the Dragons tryline.

Three minutes later, Wests Tigers second-rower Adam Blair also escaped being put on report after his arm hit winger Jason Nightingale.

The Dragons took advantage of the penalty when in the next set, hooker Mitch Rein darted from dummy half to draw in prop Matt Groat and lock Chris Heighington to slice through a gap to score under the posts. Five-eighth Jamie Soward converted the try to give St George-Illawarra a 6-0 lead.

St George-Illawarra went to a 10-0 lead in the 13th minute when winger Brett Morris brushed off a tackle by Liam Fulton and appeared set to score before being caught by full-back Tom Humble. However as Humble tried to wrap up Morris, he offloaded a pass for prop Dan Hunt to score under the posts. Soward converted the try for a 12-0 lead.

Wests Tigers opened their account in the 21st minute when a grubber kick from five-eighth Benji Marshall saw winger Beau Ryan dive on the ball to score. The video referee was called upon and the try was awarded.
Marshall converted the try from the right touchline to leave Wests Tigers trailing 12-6 after 23 minutes.

Dragons prop Jeremy Latimore was not placed on report for a loose arm shot on Marshall. It was followed by Dragons prop Trent Merrin not placed on report for a similar shot on Ryan a few minutes later.

The Dragons went to a 16-6 lead in the 36th minute when Hornby turned an inside ball to Merrin who bounced off an attempted tackle by Adam Blair and Matt Groat to get through a gap to send hooker Nathan Fien over for a try. Soward converted the try for an 18-6 lead after 38 minutes.

Hornby gave the Dragons a 22-6 lead just before half-time when he ran onto a short ball through a gap 10 metres out to score under the posts. Soward converted the try to leave St George-Illawarra leading 24-6 at half-time.

2nd Half
Soward converted a penalty goal in the opening minutes of the second half to give the Dragons a 26-6 lead after Wests Tigers were penalised for offside.

Some fine play by half-back Tim Moltzen saw the talented half-back deliver a good ball to centre Chris Lawrence to send winger Joel Reddy over for a try. Marshall converted the try from the sideline to leave Wests Tigers trailing 26-12 after 55 minutes.

Winger Daniel Vidot then used his strength to brush off Ryan to finish off a backline play to score in the left corner in the 68th minute for a 30-12 scoreline. Soward failed to convert the try.

A spilt Soward bomb by Fulton saw second-rower Ben Creagh dive over for a try next to the posts in the 77th minute. Soward converted the try to give the home side a 36-12 lead.


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Post by willow » Sat 17 Mar, 2012 10:04 am

Fired-up Dragons show Moltzen what he's missing
March 16, 2012

DRAGONS 36 TIGERS 12


IF St George Illawarra produce the attitude and aggression that they produced last night, they won’t need Tim Moltzen. And who knows, they might not need Wayne Bennett, or Darius Boyd, or their other notable losses of the summer. The club that Bennett built is still showing some fight even with the master coach in a coaching box far, far away.

Steal City? That might be Newcastle under Bennett, but Dragons territory is still for a while Steel City. Whether they can produce the consistency that Bennett demanded is still up for debate, but the Dragons are still capable of strangling a good side. Or what we thought was a good side; as the Dragons lifted, the Tigers wilted up the middle.

‘‘It was just all about attitude, and coming out and playing Dragons footy,’’ Dragons coach Steve Price said.

Notice he said Dragons footy, not Bennett footy; even though they are one and the same when it comes to this club, you can still have one without the other.

On this night all the Dragons losses were forgotten, completely dwarfed by the Tigers’ own frailties. Without second-rower Gareth Ellis, who had succumbed to his quad cork, the Tigers were awful defensively. Many people wrote off the Dragons before the start of the season, but the Tigers will lose a few fans after last night.

They were beaten by a clearly better side. Whether the Dragons rose to the occasion because of motivation over Moltzen was unlikely. Moltzen wanted to prove a point in the Dragons’ backyard, but in the end it was made by the team he snubbed.

The holes the Dragons ripped into the Tigers up the middle were quite remarkable; if the Tigers showed as much endeavour in their middle defence as they did getting involved in minor scuffles, they might have fared better.

When footballers use the word ‘‘soft’’, as Tigers skipper Robbie Farah did in describing his side’s defence, it is clear they are bitterly disappointed. Soft is a four-letter word to any NRL player. But there’s no doubt they were.

The Tigers were occasionally spirited. There is clearly a burgeoning rivalry which has developed between the two sides, but in the end, the Moltzen affair fizzled like a wet firework, all fear and loathing prior to kick-off but business as usual after it. The fire came from elsewhere; Tigers stars Robbie Farah and Adam Blair produced dangerous tackles on Ben Hornby and Jason Nightingale respectively, while Dragons Jeremy Latimore and Trent Merrin carried out their own heavy hitting on Benji Marshall on Beau Ryan.

How only Adam Blair was placed on report will now be fodder for many over the coming days, including the referees bosses; Farah’s lifting tackle and head-shots from Latimore and Merrin appeared to be more than penalty-sufficient.

The Blair penalty, though, was still costly. Mitch Rein dummied through some flimsy defense a minute later, and Brett Morris only had to run with gusto to poke his way through Liam Fulton and Aaron Woods five minutes later; he offloaded to the returning front-rower Dan Hunt, who scored. The Tigers’ responded but their errors had been exposed; with three minutes left in the first half, Nathan Fien and Ben Hornby scored, again through the guts, and the Tigers had fallen apart.

The Dragons had some wonderful performers; front-rower Michael Weyman was immense up the middle, Morris hardly missed a beat at fullback, while captain and halfback Ben Hornby certainly outpointed and outplayed Moltzen.

So the question of whether Moltzen would have made any difference on this night was forgotten. The Dragons have complained about the long-term impact, but on this occasion the team was motivated enough, and smart enough to expose the weaknesses in their opponents.

The fans came to boo Moltzen. But by the final whistle, the bitterness had subsided and they stood to applaud a side which has rolled with the punches.

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Post by willow » Sat 17 Mar, 2012 10:05 am

Contact issue comes to fore as Sheens hits out
March 17, 2012


WESTS TIGERS coach Tim Sheens last night delivered a virtual vote of no confidence in the NRL refereeing and judiciary system after an evening in which the game's most potent issue - contact with the head - swept into even more murky waters.

There was no shortage of controversial incidents in an often heated encounter at Kogarah won 36-12 by St George Illawarra. But aside from the Dragons' sheer dominance the prevailing theme to emerge was confusion.

Tigers captain Robbie Farah has good reason to be nervous after a fourth-minute spear tackle on Dragons skipper Ben Hornby that looked reasonably ugly. He didn't go on report, and referees Tony Archer and Phil Haines also chose not to report the alleged offenders in two other tackles where swinging arms careered into heads.

Tigers second-rower Adam Blair was placed on report for his contact from behind on Dragons winger Jason Nightingale, also early in the match, but subsequent hits by Jeremy Latimore and Trent Merrin that left Benji Marshall and Beau Ryan in a daze didn't even incur censure.

The officials' decision not to report the Latimore and Merrin hits left Sheens bemused with the system in general, and he is unlikely to be alone given the stance the match review committee and the judiciary made by finding Canterbury forward Frank Pritchard guilty 10 days ago.

Pritchard had claimed his shoulder had struck Penrith winger David Simmons completely accidentally due to Simmons falling into the tackle but his conduct was ruled careless and he was rubbed out for a match. ''I've never known where I stand with the judiciary and the referees from day one,'' Sheens said.

''In respect to where you can have no penalty and the judiciary will cite and you can have a referee put them on report and they don't go. It is difficult. They're on different pages sometimes.

''I have to say I'm perplexed by the penalty against Nightingale, who was clearly falling. Then to be told the one on Ryan wasn't a penalty because he was falling. The one on Marshall was obviously missed.''

Farah apologised to Hornby for the spear tackle and, while he also claimed there was no intent, he could find himself in strife. For the third week in a row his face was opened up late in the match - his nose was broken during last week's loss to Manly - but he has other concerns.

''I just got under him and I think it was the momentum of the tackle,'' Farah said.

''I thought he kind of ducked his head. It happened real quick. I haven't seen a replay so I don't know how bad it was.

''I knew straight away that I'd kind of gone over the horizontal. But there was no intent in it, it was just one of those things that happens quick. I apologised to him. I didn't mean anything by it. I didn't have an arm between the leg or anything, no intent of getting him in that position.''

Hornby was also unsure of the seriousness of the offence. ''I think I was past horizontal but I wasn't hurt. I tried to twist out of it, probably made it look worse than it was,'' the Dragons captain said. ''I'd have to have a look at the video but at this stage I'm not worrying about it.''

Sheens was not about to use the apparent inconsistency of rulings on head contact as an excuse - ''that's not the issue for me tonight'' - and said Marshall's performance had not been affected by the 26th-minute crunch he received from Merrin despite looking off colour in the aftermath.

''He finished the game and he knows what was going on,'' Sheens said. ''He might have been stunned initially on it but he recovered pretty well.''

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Post by willow » Sat 17 Mar, 2012 10:11 am

Five things we learnt from last night's game
March 17, 2012

1. The Tigers are suspect up the guts.

We won't go as far to describe them as turnstiles, but the way Tim Sheens's side folded in defence up the middle was cause for concern. For a team meant to be one of the premiership favourites their vulnerability leaves plenty of question marks. The Tigers can't get Gareth Ellis and Keith Galloway back fast enough.


2. Contact with the head is OK after all.

Frank Pritchard and Des Hasler will be scratching their melons this morning. The Canterbury forward sat last weekend out through suspension and his case is becoming increasingly controversial. There was no end to the confusion at Kogarah, as referees Tony Archer and Phil Haines allowed a series of head shots - including one by Jeremy Latimore on Benji Marshall that left the Tigers halfback dazed and disorientated for a large chunk of the match - to go without report.


3. Who needs Tim Moltzen?

After the feverish lead-up concerning Moltzen's visit to the club he turned his back on, it was probably inevitable that the entire matter would essentially be a fizzer. The Tigers halfback had a forgettable outing, and a partisan Jubilee Oval could not contain their glee when he knocked on at the back of a scrum late in the first half.


4.Don't write off Jamie Soward just yet.

A report this week indicated that Jamie Soward was already on the outer for the NSW State of Origin team. Ultimately, he may well not be Ricky Stuart's cup of tea this year, but on the strength of last night's diligent display, those putting a line through him could grant him a second look. The Dragons five-eighth wasn't the standout, but his defence was outstanding, his kicking precise and he came to the fore late on.


5.The Dragons may be the new Jekyll and Hyde.

Under Wayne Bennett you knew what you were going to get: uncompromising efficiency that rarely faltered. They may end up a consistent force under Steve Price, but the evidence of the first three rounds suggests they could be somewhat hit and miss. Which Dragons will turn up next week?

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Post by willow » Sat 17 Mar, 2012 12:50 pm

PLENTY OF SOUL SEARCHING SAYS TIM SHEENS
By Wayne Cousins
17/03/2012 12:10:26 PM

Wests Tigers Head Coach Tim Sheens says the side must do a lot of soul searching following a poor 36-12 loss to St George-Illawarra Dragons on Friday night.

Sheens said a number of factors contributed to the downfall and was offering little excuse after his side turned in its ‘best training session’ the night before.

“We had no ball. What ball we did get we threw it away. Our own mistakes and a 9-3 penalty count and the crowd certainly got them home from there,’’ Sheens said.

“They were too strong for us. We certainly didn’t put enough shoulder in on the tackles.

“Our younger forwards got a bit exposed so we need to do plenty of work.

“We will need to go back and have a real good look at the game. You have one opinion on the game until you look at the video three times. We will probably look at it six times this week.”

Wests Tigers Captain Robbie Farah said there was no hiding from the fact that the side’s performance ‘wasn’t good enough’.

“The softness of our defence in the middle saw them go right through us,’’ Farah said.

“We brought the penalties on ourselves and we brought the dropped ball on ourselves. As a team, we have got to be better.”

Farah also defended his lifting tackle on opposing captain Ben Hornby early in the first half which was one of several incidents not placed on report.

“I knew straight away I kind of went over the horizontal. There was no intent in it. It was just one of those things that happens quick,’’ Farah explained.

“I think his momentum caused the end result in the tackle. I apologised to him and I didn’t mean anything by it. I didn’t have an arm in between a leg or anything. There was no intent of getting him into that position.”

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