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Post by willow » Fri 08 Jun, 2012 10:36 pm

WESTS TIGERS BEAT STORM 10-6 TO RECORD SEVENTH STRAIGHT VICTORY
By Wayne Cousins

Friday 8 June 2012 7:35 PM

Wests Tigers recorded a hard fought 10-6 victory over the Melbourne Storm tonight at AAMI Park in round 14 of the Telstra Premiership.

In a match played in cold and wet conditions, Wests Tigers recorded their seventh straight win of the season to move to 18 competition points after being the more dominant side in attack. Their defence was very strong and committed despite a late try to the Storm.

It was the first win in Melbourne by the Wests Tigers since the joint venture began in 2000 and the Storm's first loss at home this year.

Wests Tigers went into the game without NSW hooker Robbie Farah while the Storm were without Queensland players Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith.

The match marked the return to Melbourne for the first time for former Storm player in Wests Tigers second-rower Adam Blair.

Wests Tigers suffered a late blow when full-back Tim Moltzen suffered an injury in the pre-game warm up. Centre Beau Ryan shifted back to full-back with Blake Ayshford coming off the interchange bench to start in his regular centre position. Eighteenth man Joel Reddy was added to the interchange bench to play his 100th NRL game.

Wests Tigers opened the scoring in the 7th minute through a penalty goal to half-back and acting captain Benji Marshall. It came after Marshall got his team into the Storm's quarter on the back of a 40/20 kick.

The visitors produced some brilliant play in the 19th minute through five-eighth Curtis Sironen and centre Chris Lawrence only to see winger Lote Tuqiri ankle tapped and tackled just metres from the tryline. On the next play, a grubber kick by second-rower Liam Fulton saw the Storm get the ball back.

The Storm kicked a penalty goal after the half-time siren from next to the posts through five-eighth Gareth Widdop to level the scores at 2-2 all.

Wests Tigers looked very sharp in attack, particularly down the left edge while their defence was strong and very committed.

2nd Half
Wests Tigers started the second half off on the right note when Tuqiri crashed his way over the tryline in the left corner after a double pump play by Marshall saw the ball spread wide. Marshall failed to convert from the sideline to leave Wests Tigers leading 6-2 after 43 minutes.

Four minutes later, Wests Tigers capitalised on a knock on from winger Justin O'Neill resulting in a try to winger Matt Utai from a scrum win 20 metres out after good work by Ryan. Marshall failed to convert the try for a 10-2 lead after 48 minutes.

The video referee was called on to rule whether centre Dane Nielsen scored out wide in the 70th minute despite the attention of Ryan, Ayshford and hooker Tom Humble. It was awarded a try despite Humble doing his best to get his hand under the ball.

Widdop failed to convert the try from the sideline to leave Wests Tigers leading 10-6 after 71 minutes.

Wests Tigers had a massive scare in the 74th minute when a grubber kick on the last tackle saw Ryan and Tuqiri look on as they waited for the ball to go dead. The ball was knocked back in-goal for Widdop to place his hand on the ball to score. Replays showed that the Storm player was over the line in knocking the ball back, ruling no try.

The Storm had one last surge at Wests Tigers inside their quarter but a chip kick inside the final minute was taken by Blair to give Wests Tigers the 10-6 win.

Ryan was named the man of the match after a mistake free game at full-back.

WESTS TIGERS 10 (Lote Tuqiri, Matt Utai tries; Benji Marshall 1/3 goals) d MELBOURNE STORM 6
(Dane Nielsen Try; Gareth Widdop 1/2 goals).

Wests Tigers team: 3 Beau Ryan, 2 Matt UTAI 15 Blake Ayshford 4. Chris LAWRENCE 5. Lote TUQIRI 6. Curtis SIRONEN 7. Benji MARSHALL (c)8. Aaron WOODS 9. Tom HUMBLE 10. Keith GALLOWAY 11. Adam BLAIR 12. Liam FULTON 13. Chris HEIGHINGTON; Bench: 14. Masda IOSEFA 16 Matthew BELL, 17. Ben MURDOCH-MASILA, 18 Joel Reddy Coach: Tim Sheens

NEXT MATCH
Wests Tigers play Sydney Roosters at Leichhardt Oval on Sunday, June 15, at 3pm. Gates open 11.45am.


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Post by willow » Fri 08 Jun, 2012 10:37 pm

Tigers trash Storm party with narrow win
June 8, 2012 - 10:00PM

Storm 6 Tigers 10
Keith Galloway of the Tigers is tackled by Jaiman Lowe.

Keith Galloway of the Tigers is tackled by Jaiman Lowe. Photo: Getty Images

All Craig Bellamy wanted was a win to celebrate his 250th NRL game as coach of the Melbourne Storm but his team just failed to deliver, falling to a 10-6 loss to Wests Tigers tonight.

The Tigers spoiled the party at AAMI Park in Melbourne after breaking a 2-2 halftime deadlock in stunning fashion with two tries in four minutes to take a 10-2 lead.

The Storm finally got across the tryline with 10 minutes remaining through Dane Nielsen, with video referee Russell Smith agonising over his decision before ruling the centre had got the ball down.

Five-eighth Gareth Widdop missed the conversion which left his team four points short and they were unable to close the margin in the frantic final minutes.

It was the Tigers' seventh successive win and their first-ever in Melbourne and the Storm's second loss of the season.

In soggy conditions and rain falling for much of the match, Melbourne found that without a spine it's hard to get all the parts moving in the right direction.

The competition leaders were missing hooker Cameron Smith, halfback Cooper Cronk and fullback Billy Slater who were all absent on Queensland State of Origin duty.

The Storm completed 18 of 19 sets and only missed seven tackles in the opening half but without that star trio their attack looked rudderless and they struggled to convert their pressure into points.

The teams traded penalties for the 2-2 halftime scoreline, with Benji Marshall kicking his in the seventh minute and Widdop equalling after the halftime hooter.

The visitors should have scored twice - through Marshall and Lote Tuqiri - but for some desperate one-on-one defence from Storm wingers Anthony Quinn and Justin O'Neill.

But Tuqiri made no mistake when he got another opportunity in the 43rd minute.

Skipper Marshall orchestrated an overlap and sent the ball wide to Tuqiri who despite a ball-and-all tackle by fullback Matt Duffie got the ball down.

After O'Neill dropped a Marshall kick cold, the Tigers ran a set play off the scrum and Beau Ryan found winger Matt Utai on the charge and all of a sudden his team were eight points clear.

To Melbourne's credit they refused to lay down and threw everything at the tiring visitors as the clock wound down but couldn't find the elusive try they needed.

The only downside of the night for the Tigers was a hip injury in the warm-up ruling out fullback Tim Moltzen while Liam Fulton looked ginger as he left the field, reportedly with back spasms.

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Post by Knuckles » Fri 08 Jun, 2012 10:42 pm

Thanks Willow .... Are you able to put up the radio interviews ?

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Post by willow » Sat 09 Jun, 2012 5:59 am

Spineless Storm show a bit of backbone but Tigers too tough
Glenn Jackson
June 9, 2012


SEVEN in a row. This one was hardly magnificent, but it was enough. Which is very much unlike the Tigers, who were hanging on at the death as the Storm sensed their own kill.

Usually the Tigers finish fast; last night they faded, but they prevailed.

While it will not go down as the Tigers' best performance of the season, it would have been one of their most pleasing. Not only did the Tigers win a grind against Melbourne - albeit an understrength Storm side - the combination of halfback Benji Marshall and five-eighth Curtis Sironen continues to blossom.

Sironen is an imposing figure for one so young. Perhaps that is one reason he has looked so comfortable in the side, just three matches into his NRL career. That said, he has shown the skill to match the size. Some of his touches last night were subtle, superb. He is indeed a gun of a son.

Despite winning six straight matches, there was still a feeling the Tigers had still not been truly tested. Fortunately and unfortunately for them, not even Melbourne could provide a true test, not without their three best players away on Origin duty. With Cameron Smith, Billy Slater and Cooper Cronk watching the match on television from Coolum, the Storm appeared to be more like a rather blustery wind.

Still, Melbourne were never going to roll over. They presented the Tigers with an ideal opportunity to play against a side that still has backbone even without its famous spine.

The Tigers had their own demons too. Not only had they never played at AAMI Park before, no Tigers side had been able to win in Melbourne. And they had to endure the loss of their fullback Tim Moltzen in the warm-up. Beau Ryan was shifted to fullback while Blake Ayshford was given a starting role, rare of late.

The Tigers had their own skipper out, Robbie Farah being in camp with NSW, but they are always given an advantage at this time of year, having the best player not able to play Origin in their line-up. Marshall's impact was almost immediate; the five-eighth kicked a fourth-minute 40-20, then used the same boot to score the first points of the night with a seventh-minute penalty.

That showed the Tigers were prepared to get into an arm-wrestle. And they did. They were patient; despite the few opportunities through most of the first half going unrewarded, they did not panic.

Melbourne scrambled superbly in the first half, which is one of the many things they do better than anyone else. But without their stars, they could not put enough pressure on the Tigers in attack.

Still they scrapped though, and they were rewarded on the last kick of the first half. Five-eighth Gareth Widdop levelled up the scores with a 40th-minute penalty.

The Tigers weren't taking their chances, the Storm weren't creating them; it was beginning to look like these sides were paying homage to Euro 2012, starting later in the night, with a 2-2 scoreline.

Shortly after halftime, the Tigers broke the shackles. Both wingers had scored within seven minutes of the restart, and the Tigers had achieved, in the conditions, a potentially winning score.

Just three minutes into the second half, good work down the Tigers' left side gave Lote Tuqiri a try. Then they tried their luck on the other side of the field. Matt Utai ducked under the attempted tackle of Dane Nielsen, risking the prospect of head-butting the turf for someone so vertically challenged, to stretch the lead past a converted try.

Their short burst of points having done its work, the Tigers could settle back down, knowing the Storm were unlikely to score one try, let alone two. They got one, through Nielsen, and pushed hard for a second up until the final seconds. But the Tigers held their nerve.

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Post by willow » Sat 09 Jun, 2012 6:00 am

Sironen a straight-A student but it's easy when you learn from the best
June 9, 2012

WESTS TIGERS star Benji Marshall feels more comfortable not trying to do the ''exotic'', while rookie five-eighth Curtis Sironen just does what his more experienced halves partner says. That's the secret to the Tigers' new halves pairing, which is blossoming by the game.

''I just listen to what he [Marshall] tells me what to do,'' Sironen said after playing another key role in the Wests Tigers' victory last night, the club's seventh straight.

''I'm still getting used to the speed of it, but it's easy when you've got Benji telling me what to do. I don't have to overplay my hand too much. Obviously he's controlling where the ruck's moving, so I just try to get outside him and just set up my play, just do my job.

''I've got good blokes around me, so that definitely helps. I'm just trying to keep my spot every week, just do my job. So is every other bloke.''

While Sironen, with three games under his belt, is learning, so too is Marshall. The Kiwi international has switched to halfback, and the need for him to control the game with such an inexperienced halves partner has never been more important. Marshall said last night he was growing in the role. ''I'm still learning,'' Marshall said. ''It's out of my nature from how I used to play, to have to bring it in and control the side, and lead with composure. It's not an easy thing to do.

''Sometimes I still get the odd urge to do something exotic. I'm learning along the way. But I've been very lucky with the way our forwards have been going. I'm really enjoying playing behind them.''

And it certainly appears he is relishing playing alongside Sironen, who is a threat.

Sironen, somehow, appears comfortable in his role. He also feels at home with the pressure of being the son of one of Balmain's greats. ''I've been at the club for a while now,'' he said. ''I'm proud of my name, proud of where I'm from. I'm just happy to be playing first grade.

''I'm just like any other bloke in the under-20s, just trying to get a go. I don't think that anyone's favoured or anything. I worked hard in the off-season and hopefully I get some benefits out of that.''

The halves apart, the Tigers produced a strong performance despite some nervous moments at the end.

''We're very happy with the win,'' coach Tim Sheens said. They were tough conditions to play in. It was hard to come up with points. t was a tough night. I'm real pleased with the squad. We've talked about our composure and just playing more … no pressure, no pushing the pass . Benj has been working really hard on his game in that respect. Particularly with young Curtis in the side - you just can't afford to panic with kids in the side.''

The Tigers prevailed after losing Tim Moltzen (hip) in the warm-up and Liam Fulton (ribs) during the contest.


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Post by willow » Sat 09 Jun, 2012 6:01 am

Benji resists exotic origins to make it seven on the trot
Richard Hinds
June 9, 2012


THOSE with an eye to the future will judge Wests Tigers' victory over the Storm at AAMI Park last night not on who they beat, but who they did not. Notably Smith, Slater and Cronk, a firm as esteemed as any of the city's most prestigious legal practices.

They might also note that Wests Tigers only claimed their slender 10-6 victory after being forced to hang on for dear life in the final minutes. Indeed, their was line under siege until the final minute, when Storm halfback Luke Kelly gifted possession to Adam Blair with the type of gentle kick a father might aim at his three year-old son.

Still, if the opposition was not a shadow of what Wests Tigers might encounter in September, and their own performance in slippery conditions was only decent, a seventh consecutive victory for a team that started the season with the staggers is something to savour. And the prospect of tougher encounters in the finals a terrific problem to have.

For the undermanned Storm? Victoria's Sports Minister Hugh Delahunty had famously described ''state of the origin'' as a battle between Queensland and New Zealand. Last night, Melbourne must have wished the tongue-tangled politician had gotten that much right.

Yes, they would still be without their Maroons stars. But if Delahunty's fixture was correct, Benji Marshall would also be preparing for Wednesday's match with his Kiwis teammates, not helping the Wests Tigers overcome the dour remnants of the home team.

This was a pre-Origin fixture from which the attacking talent was drained right up until the warm-up, when Wests Tigers fullback Tim Moltzen withdrew with a hip injury. In that context, Marshall's unmatched creativity was always likely to be crucial - even as he continues to master his new role at halfback.

As Marshall acknowledged, it is not the dominating role he has taken so often in West Tigers' greatest triumphs. ''I have to fight the urge to do something exotic,'' he said.

Marshall succumbed to that urge 90 seconds before half-time when he attempted a short kick from a goal-line drop out. However, sanity trumped ambition as Melbourne regained possession and levelled the scores at 2-2 from a subsequent penalty.

Yet, just after half-time, it was Marshall who drew the Storm line to him like iron filings to a magnet, before sending the ball on its way - via three more sets of hands - for Lote Tuquiri to score the opening try. Not a trademark moment of Marshall magic, merely the advantage a superstar provides when the opposition is desperate to extinguish his flame. The type the Storm usually enjoy threefold.

''We know they'll be harder to beat next time,'' Marshall said. Indeed, in theatrical terms, this was the Storm's Sunday matinee team with Origin stars replaced by understudies. Rory Kostjasyn was Cooper Cronk, Ryan Hinchcliffe was Cameron Smith, Gareth Widdop moved from five-eighth to attempt a Billy Slater impersonation and Maurice Blair took Widdop's spot. ''Their effort was tremendous,'' coach Craig Bellamy said.

Yet, without their leading men, the Storm are more Chekhovian drama than lavish Broadway musical. There was customary resilience - until it was almost too late - and little enterprise. Speculative high balls to stand-in fullback Beau Ryan too often replaced the usual line-breaking pizzazz.

Indeed, the Storm were fortunate Wests Tigers only had a penalty goal to show for the first half hour. The Tigers missed the last-ball ability of Origin hooker Robbie Farah as much as the Storm missed their stars.

Inevitably, Wests Tigers would dampen the celebration of Bellamy's 250th game as coach. His fingers will be tightly crossed, hoping his trio are fit for another showdown at Manly next Monday.

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Post by willow » Sat 09 Jun, 2012 6:03 am

Five things we learnt from last night's match
June 9, 2012

1. Wonders do cease.

The Tigers had never beaten the Storm in Melbourne - until last night. And the Storm had never lost a Friday night game in Melbourne under Craig Bellamy - until last night. Continuing the theme , the Tigers won a scrum against the feed in the second half. Not that their hooker didn't know anything about it. The Storm paid the price for a bad feed, the ball ricocheting off their prop's foot straight out to the opposition.


2. The Storm aren't quite good enough in attack without their big three.

They tried hard, but their heart was ripped out with the loss of Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith to Origin duty. It was no shock, of course, but it served as yet another reminder of how good that trio make their teammates look just by their sheer presence.


3. Beau knows how to put his body on the line.

People say wingers are stuck out there because they're not good enough to play closer in, but Beau Ryan showed how adaptable the better wingers can be when he was switched to fullback after Tim Moltzen was injured in the warm-up. Ryan showed plenty of skill and courage to catch not only the high balls, but also gather the difficult balls along the ground with the defence charging at him.


4. Aaron Woods and Keith Galloway are a great double act.

The Tigers could have been missing both their starting props had NSW coach Ricky Stuart decided to go in a different direction for State of Origin II. But there they were in Melbourne last night - and they led the way in metres gained among forwards from both sides.


5. Gareth Widdop is crucial to the Storm.

When their big three are missing, you get an idea of who leads the next wave of Storm players - and that's Widdop. He did his best to try to build things in attack for his team last night. It wasn't enough to get the win, but it wasn't far off.

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Post by willow » Sat 09 Jun, 2012 6:05 am


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Post by willow » Sat 09 Jun, 2012 6:26 am

Wests Tigers hold on to defeat a weakened Melbourne Storm ten points to six at AAMI Park

Josh Massoud
The Daily Telegraph
June 09, 2012 12:00AM


WESTS Tigers chose Crown Casino to celebrate their seventh straight win last night, but the streak has been built on a conscious decision to gamble less.

In dreadful drizzle, the Tigers once again kept their fancy plays to a premium to survive a late scare and finally end a 12-year winless run in Melbourne.

Benji Marshall's composed kicking game and a safety-first effort from stand-in fullback Beau Ryan were the keys to overcoming a Storm outfit that refused to bend without their all-star spine of Cameron Smith, Billy Slater and Cooper Cronk.

The Tigers have not lost since Marshall moved into the No.7 jersey last month with the firm directive to favour structure over flair.

The more mature approach has ensured a seamless introduction for rookie pivot Curtis Sironen, who took another step forward with solid defence and a handful of strong runs.

"It's out of my nature from the way I usually play, to bring it in and control the side and lead with composure," Marshall said.

"Sometimes I still get the urge to do something exotic."

The lone time those instincts proved irresistible came 57 seconds before the break when Marshall elected to chance a short dropout with his side 2-0 ahead.

The risk was poorly executed and from the ensuing field position Melbourne received a penalty to level after spending the previous 40 minutes on the back foot.

Nevertheless, Tigers coach Tim Sheens was not disappointed.

"It was tough to come up with points in those conditions, and I said I would've been happy to go in at nil-all," he said.

"It came up 2-all, and we just defended really well."

Apart from a diabolical period straight after the break, Melbourne could rightly say the same.

Shoddy defence on either edge saw Lote Tuqiri and Matt Utai cross in quick succession. And although both tries were not converted, the 10-2 lead appeared insurmountable.

But desperate to mark coach Craig Bellamy's 250th game appropriately, Melbourne rallied.

Dane Neilsen's 70th-minute strike avoided their first try-less sheet since the 2008 grand final.

From there an upset was on the cards until replacement half Luke Kelly, who will now join Parramatta after agreeing to a mid-season transfer yesterday, gave away possession with a careless kick in the final seconds.

"The effort was tremendous, but we just lacked the polish," Bellamy said. "We just couldn't find a way through."

Despite young prop Aaron Woods producing another barn-stormer with 47 tackles, Ryan was the unlikely hero for the Tigers after being summoned into the hot seat just minutes before kick-off.

Regular custodian Tim Moltzen strained his left hip-flexor during the warm-up, and Sheens went straight for his bomb defusal expert in anticipation of Melbourne's tactics.

"I knew they were going to run straight through the middle and kick," Sheens said.

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Post by willow » Sat 09 Jun, 2012 6:28 am

Knuckles wrote:Thanks Willow .... Are you able to put up the radio interviews ?
They're in here now mate.

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Post by Knuckles » Sat 09 Jun, 2012 6:03 pm

Really appreciate it Willow ... Thanks mate

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