Tigers v Warriors preview

Tigers v Warriors preview
NRL.com Wed, May 16, 2012 - 12:00 PM


Wests Tigers v Warriors
Leichhardt Oval
Friday 7.45pm

A fortnight ago both of these sides were under pressure and in danger of dropping off the pace in the race for the top eight – but with a maximum four competition points apiece they’ve rocketed back into semi-finals calculations.

It’s the battle of 9th versus 8th, with the winner possibly vaulting as high as fifth if results go their way – while the loser could fall as low as 13th. Clearly it has the makings of a season-defining encounter.

The Wests Tigers got out of jail against the Titans in Round 9, winning in golden point more through opposition mistakes than their own good football. They rested up last week with the bye. Their big question mark this week is how they cover for the loss of creative captain Robbie Farah who will suit up for the NSW Blues in State of Origin I.

Tim Sheens has handed Tom Humble the job of filling in for Farah directing plays at the ruck. But his role will be made easier with Benji Marshall again slotting in at No.7, with Chris Lawrence retaining the No.6 jersey. Matt Utai and Pat Politoni are the new faces on their bench.

Meanwhile the Warriors have hit a purple patch of form, showing great resilience to come from behind to score a 30-20 win over the Broncos in Round 9, then pulling out too many guns for the Roosters in an enthralling, see-sawing clash last Saturday. However, those two recent games were played at Mt Smart Stadium, where the Warriors have built a sturdy 4-2 record – they stand 1-3 away from Auckland and will need to start showing their mettle on this side of the ditch if they’re to be considered a serious title contender.

With Jerome Ropati out for a minimum six weeks with a dislocated left patella and with first-call fullback Kevin Locke still sidelined, Warriors coach Brian McClennan has recalled Glenn Fisiiahi from the NSW Cup to pull on the No.1. The speedster has impressed in his outings for the Vulcans so far, notching 18 tries in his eight games.

The Warriors are also boosted by the return of Sam Rapira, who bumps Akuma Ta’ai from the interchange bench.

Watch Out Wests Tigers: Shaun Johnson is evolving into one of the most lethal attackers in the game. With lightning-fast reflexes and judgment he can leave the best defenders stranded – as he showed last week when he split the Roosters open drifting laterally across the field. He was a handful when these teams last clashed, setting up two tries, one from a beautiful short ball on the left edge.

Johnson’s halves partner James Maloney is returning to form after going off the boil a month ago. He offered two try assists last week and loves matching his game with Benji Marshall – last time they met he broke the defensive line three times. He’s running more this season (average eight runs) than he did last year and his combination with Feleti Mateo will need to be monitored.

Ben Matulino’s rampaging runs need to be halted or the Warriors will gain plenty of attacking field position. Matulino leads his side for territory (117 metres and two tackle busts each week).

Danger Sign: Watch for the Warriors to go to the air often, in particular targeting Beau Ryan’s wing with Manu Vatuvei their chaser. ‘The Beast’ burst back to tryscoring form last week with a towering leap to gather in a James Maloney cross-field bomb and Warriors coach Brian McClennan is sure to use the tactic again given the Tigers defuse just 55 per cent of diagonal attacking kicks.

Watch Out Warriors: The Tigers rank alongside the Sea Eagles and Dragons for offering the most variety with their sideline shifts. Tim Sheens’ charges have spread their attack evenly, recording 41 left shifts and 43 right shifts – resulting in 13 tries on the left and 14 on the right. The Warriors can’t afford to switch off even when the ball is seemingly headed for the other side of the park, as it can quickly come back the other way.

Benji Marshall remains the key threat – he ranks third in the comp for try assists (13). Marshall is on the brink of a Leichhardt Oval milestone: he needs just a converted try to equal Olsen Filipaina for points scored at the venue (110).

Hard-working Liam Fulton leads his forwards for tackle busts and loves playing the Warriors – he made 23 hit-ups last time they met.

Beau Ryan continues to expand his attacking game and will threaten at some stage. Ryan leads all Tigers for tackle busts (25) and likes to mix things up – in particular opposite Manu Vatuvei will need to be wary of a grubber ahead and a Ryan chase. He scored this way against the Eels in Round 8 to notch his fifth try of the year.

Danger Sign: Anytime makeshift hooker Tom Humble drifts across the field out of dummy-half in the red attacking zone. On the left he’ll look to pick up Joel Reddy or Adam Blair with an inside ball; on the right the recipients will be Fulton and Blake Ayshford.

Joel Reddy v Konrad Hurrell: Reddy is one of the soundest defensive centres is the game – and he’ll need to be at his best to contain exciting newcomer Konrad Hurrell. But the Kiwi rookie will need to keep an eye on his opposite too – Reddy has a creative brain and loves to create second phase – he ranks third among centres for offloads (18). Meanwhile Hurrell is grasping his NRL chance like a hungry beast – in only his sixth NRL appearance last week he scored two tries, ran for 203 metres with three line-breaks (Clinton Toopi is the only other Warriors centre to achieve that feat) plus he averages nearly five tackle busts a game.

Where It Will Be Won: Line-breaks – both making them, and also shutting them down. These sides haven’t exactly excelled in attack in 2012, with the Warriors averaging a middle-of-the-pack 4.3 line-breaks and the Tigers making just 3.1, the fewest by any team. In defence the Warriors concede the fourth-most line-breaks – and the Tigers concede the most. They are both capable of turning it on here though – when they last met the sides totalled 12 line-breaks, with the Warriors steaming home on the back of five unanswered second-half line busts. Marshall, Tuqiri and Reddy will do the damage for the Tigers, with Johnson, Maloney, Vatuvei and Hurrell the go-to men for the visitors.

The History: Played 20; Wests Tigers 10, Warriors 10. Aside from their semi-final meeting the sides met on two other occasions in 2011, with the Tigers prevailing 20-12 and 26-22. Their last-start win was the Warriors’ sole victory in their past four meetings. Meanwhile the Tigers have lost just one night fixture at Leichhardt Oval in the past four years.

The Last Time They Met: The Warriors knocked the Tigers out of the 2011 premiership hunt with a dramatic last-ditch try to notch a 22-20 semi-final victory at Allianz Stadium.

The Tigers led 18-6 at halftime through tries to Keith Galloway (14th minute – off a barge from close range), Benji Marshall (21st minute – sidestepping over from first receiver) and Robbie Farah (35th minute – from dummy-half), with James Maloney’s four-pointer off a Kevin Locke flick pass midway through the half the only cause for joy among Warriors fans.

Things looked brighter for Kiwi supporters when Feleti Mateo charged over on the left edge off a wonderful Shaun Johnson short ball to bridge the gap to six points with 50 minutes gone. However, a Benji Marshall penalty goal gave the Tigers breathing space and a 20-12 lead with 23 minutes to play. That buffer didn’t last long though, with Lance Hohaia scooting over from dummy-half in the 65th minute, setting the scene for a cliffhanger.

The Tigers looked like hanging on to their 22-20 lead and progress through to the preliminary final before a try was controversially awarded to Krisnan Inu with three minutes left on the clock. The Warriors’ last-ditch play involved James Maloney booting high for his right-side chasers. Inu and Lote Tuqiri contested the high ball, with Tuqiri fumbling the loose pill and knocking it backwards towards his line. Inu, prone on the ground, gathered possession, reached over and tried to plant the ball over the stripe but was blocked by Tigers fullback Tim Moltzen. Then the telling moment: without a hand laid on him to effect a tackle, Inu simply had a second go… and was given the green light by the video ref. It was one of the most dramatic conclusions to a semi-final in NRL history.

It was a cruel end of the road in 2011 for Tigers skipper Farah, who conjured two try assists to go with his try.

Shaun Johnson (two try assists), Inu (two line-breaks) and fullback Kevin Locke (137 metres) starred for the Warriors.

Match Officials: Referees – Tony Archer & Jason Robinson; Sideline Officials – Jason Walsh & Adam Reid; Video Referee – Paul Simpkins.

The Way We See It: It could well be the case that the side that has an off day will lose, rather than the side that ramps up their performance will win. This game matches the two outfits that have missed the most tackles and, incredibly given their respective expansive attacks, compiled the fewest metres each week so far. With Farah missing the Tigers may find it tough to get on top, even allowing for some parochial Leichhardt support. Given six of the past eight match-ups have been decided by eight points or less we’ll side with the Warriors by four points.

Televised: Channel 9 – Live 7.30pm (NSW & Qld); Fox Sports 2 – Delayed 10.30pm.

• Statistics: NRL Stats

It will be interesting to see how Wests Tigers adjust to the absence of Farah for this game against a formidable opposition. It will also be interesting to see how the game unfolds in terms of Sheens use of the bench and Lawrence at 5/8. It will be a tough game I’m hoping the warriors drop a few pegs after their big win last week and are outplayed by WTs constant shiftiing of the ball in attack and running the big warriors around. Starve them of the ball and make them do stacks of defence otherwise they have a number of good attacking players who could hurt.

Benji needs to pull a massive game out of his you know what


Posted using RoarFEED 2012

Preview: Tigers v Warriors
John Greco

VENUE & TIME: Leichhardt Oval - Friday, May 18, 7.45pm AEDT, 9.45pm (NZT)
COVERAGE: Channel 9/Sky Sport
HEAD TO HEADPlayed 20: Tigers 10, Warriors 10
LAST TIME: Warriors 22-20 – September 16, 2011

MISSING IN ACTION: The Tigers are without skipper Robbie Farah, who is on NSW Origin duty, forcing a re-shuffle to their side. Youngster Tom Humble moves into the hooking role with Benji Marshall moving to half-back and Chris Lawrence taking over at five-eighth. Matt Utai and Pat Politoni come onto the bench. Warriors coach Brian McClennan has made two changes to his side with Glenn Fisiiahi coming in at fullback for the injured Jerome Ropati (knee), while Sam Rapira comes onto the bench at the expense of Akuma Ta’ai.

FORM: The Tigers come into this match fresh from a bye and on the back of three straight wins. But before Tigers fans start thinking their side is back to their best and premiership favourites again, it must be pointed out their form line could be a little deceiving. Those three victories for Tim Sheens side have come against the NRL’s three bottom teams, which included a one-point win over Parramatta and a golden-point escape against the Titans.

Like the Tigers, the New Zealanders had a rough start to the season but seem to be getting themselves back on track. The Warriors have won two games on the bounce, with victories over the Broncos and Roosters both on their home turf. The clubs have split their 20 previous meeting evenly, with the Warriors getting bragging rights in the finals last season with a late try knocking the Tigers out of the competition.

FOR THE TIGERS TO WIN: This time last year Shaun Johnson was unknown running around in the Toyota Cup. He’s now one of the leading half-backs in the NRL and will need to be shut down if the home side are to continue their winning run. Benji Marshall’s head-to-head battle with his New Zealand halves partner is mouth-watering. With Farah missing for the Tigers, watch for Marshall to step up and have a big game for the joint-venture club.

FOR THE WARRIORS TO WIN: Get the ball to Konrad Hurrell. The 20-year-old has only played six games in the NRL but is already showing signs he’s developing into a huge attacking weapon for the Warriors. No club likes to move the ball from side-to-side more than the Tigers so the Kiwi’s will need to ensure they maintain their defensive line or Marshall will exploit the gaps.

WE THINK: Even though both sides aren’t at full strength, this promises to be the match of the weekend with both teams renowned for their free-flowing attacking style of play. It may well come down to which side’s passes stick as to who comes out on top. As much as we look at the stats for both teams, it’s a hard match to split, so it may just be the parochial Leichhardt Oval crowd which gets the Tigers over the line in a tight one. Tigers by 6 points

to be honest, all I care about is a wests-tigers win.
yes it would be good to win by a decent amount to help the point for/against

:sign: all that really matters to me, are the two competition points

Hey guys, Warriors fan here. I’ve tipped you but hope our boys aim up, watch out for Big Ben and his shoulders 😉

http://www.nzwarriorsfans.com

Wests Tigers vs Warriors
Leichhardt Oval
Friday 7:45pm

It’s 8th vs 9th and the Warriors once again grace Friday Night Football, and aren’t we all salivating at the prospect. Ray Warren will be looking over the names on our team sheet with sheer terror, while we’ll get to hear Gus ramble on about suburban grounds and Benji Marshall. In all seriousness though, I don’t think the NRL could have booked a better game in this Origin/Bye hit weekend - and who could forget the last time we traveled to Sydney to play the Tigers? Krisnan Inu hasn’t forgotten, though it seems he has been…

Recent Form: Both these teams come into this one on the back of some good recent form. The Tigers have won their past three, while the Warriors notched up their first back-to-back wins of the season last weekend. Having said that, the Tigers’ wins came over the bottom three teams in the competition, and were a bee’s dick away from a loss to the Titans two weeks ago. I feel the bye will have been a positive for Sheens and his men in a season that has not at all gone to plan. Still, a win is a win and they’ve built some much needed momentum.

The Warriors by contrast have had three bruising encounters against quality sides, and will have to cope with a short turnaround and another trip to Sydney. I was at Mt Smart on Saturday, and while happy to walk away with the two points, I remain worried about our defence. Fullback issues aside, we’re leaking far too many points - only the Eels have conceded more! I wasn’t at all confident watching us defend inside our ‘red zone’, and I felt the Roosters forwards again got one up on our pack.

Players to Watch: State of Origin has been kind to the Warriors, with no players being rested this weekend. Konrad Hurrell’s name has been popular in league circles this week, and it isn’t hard to see why. The Kondom rampaged his way to a double last weekend, and showed real pace to outrun Minichiello. A great prospect no doubt - I’d still like to see him occasionally carry the ball in two hands, and look to bring his winger into play.

The fullback turnstile continues, and all eyes will again be on Glen Fisiiahi to see whether he can replicate his Vulcans form in first grade. In possibly one of the biggest cases of white line fever ever seen, he has scored 18 tries in 8 games. Most of us will be paying much closer attention to his work on defence however – let’s hope he’s been expelled from the ‘Krisnan Inu school of attitude and application’.

The Tigers will be hoping it’s the Benji Marshall show in the absence of captain Robbie Farah. Benji has had an indifferent start to the year, but it’s his new partner at 5/8th that concerns me. Chris Lawrence was unlucky to miss out on an Origin spot and will be out to prove a point. He runs beautiful lines and has developed an excellent combination with Marshall over the years. If these two get going, it will be a long night for the Warriors. Tom Humble is an interesting, if not eyebrow raising, selection at hooker - though Tim Sheens isn’t exactly known for his textbook selections.

My prediction: Anything is possible here, and for a real prediction - open your wallet and toss a coin. I’d like to think that after a couple of good wins against decent opposition that we’d come into this and continue that form. Unfortunately, I don’t think we’re at that consistent stage yet. Friday night football, travelling away from home with a short turnaround and the prospect of a boisterous Leichhardt crowd spells trouble for the Warriors. The Tigers have had the week off to prepare for Farah’s absence. Our defence is still a big worry, and I don’t back us to outscore the Tigpies. If the Warriors turn up the way we did against the Storm and Broncos, then anything is possible. Whether we will or not, is another story. Tigers 34 - 20 Warriors.

@ToiletDuck:

Hey guys, Warriors fan here. I’ve tipped you but hope our boys aim up, watch out for Big Ben and his shoulders 😉

http://www.nzwarriorsfans.com

Wests Tigers vs Warriors
Leichhardt Oval
Friday 7:45pm

It’s 8th vs 9th and the Warriors once again grace Friday Night Football, and aren’t we all salivating at the prospect. Ray Warren will be looking over the names on our team sheet with sheer terror, while we’ll get to hear Gus ramble on about suburban grounds and Benji Marshall. In all seriousness though, I don’t think the NRL could have booked a better game in this Origin/Bye hit weekend - and who could forget the last time we traveled to Sydney to play the Tigers? Krisnan Inu hasn’t forgotten, though it seems he has been…

Recent Form: Both these teams come into this one on the back of some good recent form. The Tigers have won their past three, while the Warriors notched up their first back-to-back wins of the season last weekend. Having said that, the Tigers’ wins came over the bottom three teams in the competition, and were a bee’s d*** away from a loss to the Titans two weeks ago. I feel the bye will have been a positive for Sheens and his men in a season that has not at all gone to plan. Still, a win is a win and they’ve built some much needed momentum.

The Warriors by contrast have had three bruising encounters against quality sides, and will have to cope with a short turnaround and another trip to Sydney. I was at Mt Smart on Saturday, and while happy to walk away with the two points, I remain worried about our defence. Fullback issues aside, we’re leaking far too many points - only the Eels have conceded more! I wasn’t at all confident watching us defend inside our ‘red zone’, and I felt the Roosters forwards again got one up on our pack.

Players to Watch: State of Origin has been kind to the Warriors, with no players being rested this weekend. Konrad Hurrell’s name has been popular in league circles this week, and it isn’t hard to see why. The Kondom rampaged his way to a double last weekend, and showed real pace to outrun Minichiello. A great prospect no doubt - I’d still like to see him occasionally carry the ball in two hands, and look to bring his winger into play.

The fullback turnstile continues, and all eyes will again be on Glen Fisiiahi to see whether he can replicate his Vulcans form in first grade. In possibly one of the biggest cases of white line fever ever seen, he has scored 18 tries in 8 games. Most of us will be paying much closer attention to his work on defence however – let’s hope he’s been expelled from the ‘Krisnan Inu school of attitude and application’.

The Tigers will be hoping it’s the Benji Marshall show in the absence of captain Robbie Farah. Benji has had an indifferent start to the year, but it’s his new partner at 5/8th that concerns me. Chris Lawrence was unlucky to miss out on an Origin spot and will be out to prove a point. He runs beautiful lines and has developed an excellent combination with Marshall over the years. If these two get going, it will be a long night for the Warriors. Tom Humble is an interesting, if not eyebrow raising, selection at hooker - though Tim Sheens isn’t exactly known for his textbook selections.

My prediction: Anything is possible here, and for a real prediction - open your wallet and toss a coin. I’d like to think that after a couple of good wins against decent opposition that we’d come into this and continue that form. Unfortunately, I don’t think we’re at that consistent stage yet. Friday night football, travelling away from home with a short turnaround and the prospect of a boisterous Leichhardt crowd spells trouble for the Warriors. The Tigers have had the week off to prepare for Farah’s absence. Our defence is still a big worry, and I don’t back us to outscore the Tigpies. If the Warriors turn up the way we did against the Storm and Broncos, then anything is possible. Whether we will or not, is another story. Tigers 34 - 20 Warriors.

Great preview ToiletDuck - well thought out and written superbly.
Hope your also on the money with that final score. 😉

Thanks mate. I just have no confidence away from home. We’ve only beaten the Eels outside of Mt Smart this year…and our defence is shocking. Improving, but still not up to standard. Either way it’ll be interesting.

season defining game is right

we could be fifth?

wow

@ToiletDuck:

Thanks mate. I just have no confidence away from home. We’ve only beaten the Eels outside of Mt Smart this year…and our defence is shocking. Improving, but still not up to standard. Either way it’ll be interesting.

if your defence is shocking then what about ours? is there a word for it. i dont blame you for not having confidence - history tells you this - but evolution will tell you something else. warriors have a great team, they have a big chance. :sign:

25 mins left till kickoff

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