Media Reports

By Wayne Cousins

Sunday 27 May 2012 4:26 PM

Wests Tigers recorded a hard fought 26-18 win over the North Queensland Cowboys at Campbelltown Sports Stadium in round 12 of the Telstra Premiership.

It was the Wests Tigers fifth consecutive win and moves the side to 14 points and in eighth position on the ladder.

In front of a crowd of 13,059, the match marked the NRL debut of talented five-eighth Curtis Sironen who rose through the ranks of the Balmain juniors to Wests Tigers NYC and first grade.

Wests Tigers opened the scoring in the 2nd minute when full-back Tim Moltzen scored off a bomb by half-back Benji Marshall after the ball was spilt by Cowboys full-back Matt Bowen. Marshall converted the try for a 6-0 lead.

Marshall fired up three minutes later when he was taken out by prop James Tamou after kicking the ball on the last tackle. Two minutes later Wests Tigers hooker and captain Robbie Farah was crunched heavily by second-rower Glen Hall after trying to burrow over from dummy half. Farah showed his toughness by getting back up on his feet after seeking medical attention.

A minute later, Marshall converted a penalty goal after the Cowboys were ruled offside next to their posts for an 8-0 lead.

The Cowboys opened their account in the 19th minute when Hall reached out to score. The try came on the back of a penalty to the visitors after a poor last tackle kick by Marshall saw Nth Queensland go on attack. Thurston converted the try to leave the Cowboys trailing 8-6.

Two minutes later, the Cowboys were in again when Thurston found the Wests Tigers short on the left to send winger Antonio Winterstein over for a try. Thurston converted the try from the sideline to give North Queensland a 12-8 lead after 23 minutes.

Wests Tigers regained the lead in the 37th minute after Cowboys full-back Matt Bowen tried to flick the ball on one handed from Thurston. The ball went straight into the arms of Wests Tigers winger Lote Tuqiri who raced 40 metres to score under the posts. Marshall converted the try to send Wests Tigers into half-time with a 14-12 lead.

2nd Half
Wests Tigers went on the attack inside the Cowboys after a long run by winger Matt Utai. The next play saw Marshall throw a pass on the blind side to centre Beau Ryan but he went into touch.

Sironen entered the field in the 49th minute to make his NRL debut in just his fourth game this season after recovering from off season shoulder surgery.

A minute later, Sironen crossed the tryline off a Marshall pass but the ball was ruled forward. Wests Tigers got inside the Cowboys quarter following a long run by Marshall from a grubber kick.

Marshall got Wests Tigers out to an 18-12 lead in the 58th minute when he held up the ball before getting on the inside of Hall to reach out to score. The try came after Wests Tigers decided to keep the pressure on despite receiving two penalties neat the posts. Marshall converted the try to give Wests Tigers a 20-12 lead after 60 minutes.

The Cowboys got back to 20-16 in the 65th minute through a try to winger Ashley Graham after the ball was spread quickly to the right following a long downfield run on the previous play by Tamou.
Thurston converted the try to leave the Cowboys trailing 20-18.

Some smart play by winger Matt Utai saw Wests Tigers trap Bowen in goal after Utai put a grubber kick through. In the following set, Bowen held up Heighington over the tryline to deny Wests Tigers a try.

Farah came close to scoring but lost the ball just a metre from the tryline in the 63rd minute. He got up again after seeking more medical treatment in a gallant effort.

An intercept pass by centre Chris Lawrence saw Wests Tigers regain possession 45 metres out from the Cowboys tryline. The next play, theCowboys were ruled offside.

From the penalty, Wests Tigers went deep inside the Cowboys quarter before Marshall delivered a perfect ball to send full-back Tim Moltzen over in the 77th minute to send the home crowd into a frenzy. Marshall converted the try to give Wests Tigers the 26-18 lead.

NRL Tigers beat Cowboys 26-18
Russell Jackson
May 27, 2012 - 6:34PM

Wests Tigers coach Tim Sheen praised the effort of his team in a ‘difficult week’ for the club which ended with a fifth straight NRL victory over North Queensland at Campbelltown.

Injuries and illness meant the Tigers could only put in one decent training session according to Sheens, who was thrilled his side beat the Cowboys 26-18 in front of 13,059 fans on Sunday.

“We had plenty of issues and I’m really happy with the way the boys aimed up … I’m pretty happy with the way the boys stuck together in defence in particular,” Sheens said.

"Liam Fulton (shoulder) pulled out yesterday. Chrissy Lawrence wasn’t going to play, we had a little bit of illness and other issues in the camp. We just didn’t get in a training session, a really decent training session until yesterday (Saturday).

“I know every club has those sorts of issues but we had Matty Utai and Lote (Tuqiri)go home with the flu on Tuesday, so it was just one of those weeks.”

The Tigers also welcomed back captain and NSW Origin hooker Robbie Farah, who admitted to feeling a bit second-hand after playing against Queensland on Wednesday night.

“It was a tough game and I actually would have preferred to play a couple of days ago,” he said.

“You’re still on a high after the game on Wednesday night … when you have a few days off the soreness kicks in.”

“The boys helped me through it and the fact that we had a fair of possession got me through the game even though I was a little bit scratchy.”

Also on the back-up from Origin was Queensland pivot Johnathan Thurston who said the Cowboys had their chances to win the game.

“I thought we had enough ball but our execution and play down their end was pretty poor,” Thurston said.

“Errors, bad passing, dropped ball, we just let them off the hook too many times.”

The Tigers made a perfect start with Tim Moltzen scoring off a Benji Marshall bomb in the second minute.

Soon after North Queensland’s NSW forward James Tamou was placed on report for dangerous contact with Marshall after he had kicked.

The Cowboys hit back with tries to Glenn Hall and Antonio Winterstein before a 40-metre Lote Tuqiri intercept try a couple of minutes before halftime gave the Tigers a 14-12 lead at the break.

Marshall scored 17 minutes into the second half before winger Ashley Graham scored out wide for the Cowboys with Thurston converting to make it 20-18.

Moltzen sealed it for the Tigers with his second try two minutes from time.

Tigers too good for Cowboys

Updated May 27, 2012 18:33:35

Wests Tigers made it five straight victories with a 26-18 triumph over North Queensland in a thrilling contest at Campbelltown Stadium on Sunday.

A Tim Moltzen try, his second of the match, two minutes before full-time sealed the win in front of a home crowd of 13,059.

Tigers coach Tim Sheens told Grandstand he was delighted to win with a depleted squad.

“I was really pleased given the issues we had during the week with flu,” he said.

"Liam Fulton pulling out yesterday, Chris Lawrence wasn’t going to play today … he woke up this morning really crook.

"We battled it out and didn’t do much by way of training this week except to prepare mentally.

“I was really happy with the way the guys hung together.”

Moltzen admitted the Tigers had to work hard to claim the victory.

“It was definitely a tough grind that second half,” he told Grandstand.

"To score with only a few minutes to go to ice the game was obviously really good.

"I was a bit disappointed with a few of things I did out there.

“(I was) obviously trying to make it up for it so it was good to cross the line.”

While the Tigers took the points in the seven-try classic, it was Cowboys and New South Wales prop James Tamou who was the star of the show, the giant front-rower producing two extraordinary plays to keep his side in the game.

Tamou was in everything, including a fight with Benji Marshall in the first half.

He put a late hit on the Tigers playmaker when he made a clearing kick, resulting in the prop being placed on report for dangerous contact.

About 10 minutes into the second half, Marshall fielded a kick in his own in-goal before weaving through the Cowboys defence.

Marshall looked set to score as he hit the halfway line only to be run down by a flying Tamou before the Tigers playmaker passed to Chris Heighington and the play was soon shut down.

Soon after Tamou broke the Tigers line and ran 55 metres, stepping Moltzen before he was cut down.

The Cowboys scored from the next tackle, Ashley Graham diving over on the right edge in the 65th minute with Johnathan Thurston slotting the goal to make it 20-18.

Graham’s try came eight minutes after Marshall scored after selling a dummy to Glenn Hall.

The home side went into the half-time break leading 14-12 after Lote Tuqiri scored a 40 metre intercept try two minutes before the bell.

The Tigers made a great start with Moltzen scoring in the second minute from a Marshall bomb which Bowen fumbled under pressure from Heighington with the video referee giving the home side a benefit of the doubt decision.

North Queensland hit back with tries to Glenn Hall and Antonio Winterstein.

Neil Henry claimed his side had enough possession to win the game but failed to make it count.

“We certainly had our opportunities to win the game … I can’t complain about that,” Henry said.

“There’s basically a try in the result at the end.”

Brilliant …. Thanks Willow

Thanks willow. And credit to the female reporter who conducted the interviews. Her knowledge of The game and where the tigers are at as a team puts a lot of the former legends of the game who conduct the post match interviews for channel nine to shame.

Dapper Benji barely raises a sweat, but stats don’t lie
Michael Chammas
May 28, 2012

Benji Marshall could’ve played in a dinner suit yesterday afternoon and would’ve remained in good enough condition to head straight into Wests Leagues Club for post-match celebrations last night.

He was only tackled once with the ball in 80 minutes. The only other time he hit the deck was when he was hit in mid-air by James Tamou, and Marshall, the New Zealand skipper, lashed out at the Kiwi defector with a short-armed jab to the jaw of the floored Cowboy.

To suggest Tigers officials need not worry about sending Marshall’s jersey to the laundromat this morning might sound like a shot at the Tigers No.7, but nothing could be further from the truth.

Only once, late in the second half, did he take on the line, forced to play the ball.

Yet, he still walked away from Campbelltown Sports Stadium having amassed the type of statistics that would take most playmakers in the NRL a month to achieve.

So here they are: one try, two try assists, two line breaks, seven tackle breaks, three offloads and five from five with the boot to steer his team over the line against the Cowboys.

Unfortunately, it isn’t a game Marshall is likely to look back on with great fondness.

Regardless of his match-winning feats, it will be remembered as the afternoon Tamou - a 194-centimetre prop weighing 113 kilograms - ran down the Tigers pivot in a stunning show of pace from the Cowboys’ enforcer.

But back to Marshall. Coach Tim Sheens moved him to halfback against the Titans in round nine, with the intention of getting his star playmaker even more involved than he already was.

To achieve the things he did last night having only been tackled once was remarkable, but imagine how devastating he will be later in the season when he regains the confidence to start taking the line on more.

Marshall, like many of the Tigers players over the past three weeks, has been struggling with the flu, and it showed yesterday in the number of times he was on his haunches.

But his move to halfback is having the desired effect, with Sheens crediting Marshall for helping the team grind out the close matches they were losing earlier in the season.

‘‘We have been grinding them out a little bit more and a lot of that has to do with Benji playing at seven,’’ Sheens said.

‘‘When he’s two-out, he demands the ball, so I suppose we move the ball more to him … at the end of the day, the major ball-players are Robbie [Farah] and Benji and if we’re playing Benji tight around at halfback then we stay a bit tighter. That probably hasn’t been a bad thing for us, actually.’’

After five consecutive losses earlier in the season that left the Tigers languishing at the bottom of the ladder, they’ve now won five on the trot to climb into seventh position, just two points behind the Broncos, Sharks and Rabbitohs, who are all equal second on 16 points.

They haven’t set the world alight in their stretch of victories, but suddenly they are edging closer to the brand of football that saw them tagged as premiership favourites before a ball had even been kicked this year.

They play the struggling Raiders next week, travel to Melbourne to take on the Storm without their Origin stars a week later, then head into their final bye in round 17 with games against the lowly ranked Roosters and Knights.

The Cowboys didn’t come away with the two points last night, but there’s no doubt they will be there at the business end of the season.

Coach Neil Henry felt his team were unlucky to be on the wrong end of some crucial refereeing decisions, but refused to blame the officials for what is now his team’s 13th loss from their past 14 games in Sydney.

‘‘We didn’t get the rub of the green a bit,’’ Henry said. ‘‘But I’ll say, the game was in our own hands. We were the team that didn’t make the most of our field position, particularly in the first half. I thought we should’ve got some more points on the board.’’

Farah says ref got it right against Cowboys but wrong in the big one
Michael Chammas
May 28, 2012

ROBBIE FARAH, the man at the centre of the controversial try that decided the State of Origin series opener, avoided further drama yesterday by insisting the video referee got it right when he denied the Tigers hooker a try in the 73rd minute of their 26-18 victory over the Cowboys yesterday.

Farah admitted he’d dropped the ball in the heavy collision with his team in front by two points, but is still bemused by the controversial try awarded to Greg Inglis at Etihad Stadium last Wednesday night.

Farah wasn’t laughing when ‘‘TRY’’ flashed up on the scoreboard to seal a Maroons victory, but four days later he saw the funny side of questioning surrounding the hottest topic in rugby league. Asked about the no-try decision handed down by video referee Chris Ward yesterday afternoon, which could be argued as having been knocked out by the knee of a Cowboys defender, Farah laughed and said: ''Not sure what the rule is there. ‘‘I wasn’t playing at it, so, nah, I’m not too sure. I dropped the ball.’’

At first Farah was reluctant to reflect on Sean Hampstead’s decision to award Inglis the try. ''I’m wearing Tigers colours, so let’s talk about this game … ‘’ he said with a grin on his face. But he then opened up on the matter that has been eating at the hearts of many Blues fans since the 18-10 loss to the Maroons.

Farah was adamant he didn’t deliberately attempt to kick the ball out of Inglis’s hands, which allowed the Queensland centre to place downward pressure on the ball to claim the four-pointer.

But he said it wasn’t the reason the Blues lost the match, although it did cost them a chance of pinching a late come-from-behind victory.

‘‘I don’t want to talk about it anymore so I might as well say something now,’’ Farah said. '‘No, it wasn’t [a deliberate attempt to kick the ball out of Inglis’ grasp]. It happened too quick. I thought he’d scored the try until I saw the replay and realised the ball had come loose.

‘‘I can’t believe there’s that many people out there thinking I did actually play at the ball. Anyway, it didn’t cost us the game. It probably cost a chance of winning the game, but it didn’t cost us the game.’’

The resurgent Tigers made it five straight wins yesterday. Adam Blair, who joined the Tigers from the Melbourne Storm for big dollars, didn’t enjoy the best of starts at the Tigers, but coach Tim Sheens is pleased with how he has developed.

‘‘He chases kickers, he’s good in the tackle, he carries the ball well, he’s got good footwork and he’s got good speed at the play-the-ball,’’ Sheens said. ‘‘Robbie likes playing off the back of him because it’s hard to get him on the ground and hold him down. There are little things that you pay money for, not just scoring tries.’’

Sheens ponders prospect of promoting Tigers’ cub Sironen to key role
Michael Chammas
May 28, 2012

WESTS TIGERS coach Tim Sheens will spend the week contemplating whether to throw 18-year-old rookie Curtis Sironen into the five-eighth role, after Blake Ayshford suffered a suspected fractured wrist in the win against North Queensland.

Sironen, the son of Balmain legend Paul Sironen, made his debut coming off the bench at Campbelltown Sports Stadium yesterday afternoon, but his development could be accelerated if he is handed the responsibility of filling the most famous jersey in the joint-venture’s short history.

Sheens has experimented with Tim Moltzen, Tom Humble, Jacob Miller, Chris Lawrence and Ayshford in the opening 12 weeks of the competition. He is unsure whether to add Sironen to that list against Canberra on Saturday night.

‘‘I want to have a good look at it and see who is available first,’’ Sheens said. ''We’re looking for a partner for Benji [Marshall] and Curtis, given the opportunity, he’ll handle it. But I’m just not sure yet whether I want to throw him in too hard, too early.

‘‘You can ruin a young bloke by going too hard, too early and I think I’ve done that in my career. I think I’ve pushed some young guys too early when they’ve been a bit young because we didn’t have other options. But if you’ve got options, you’d prefer not to do that.’’

Sironen, who had shoulder surgery after finishing his HSC last November, returned from his 5½-month rehabilitation through the under-20s in round nine.

He played his first full game against the Warriors in the under-20s last Friday night but understands the structures in place at NRL level, having spent plenty of time around the first-grade squad in the pre-season.

While he’s happy to bide his time and find his feet in the top grade, he still has the belief he could handle the step up to a starting spot if it was thrown at him this weekend.

‘‘I’d take it with open hands,’’ Sironen said. ''But in saying that, I’ve got to get back to training and train hard and earn my spot. It’s hard to say until I’ve had a game starting, but I think with the boys around me, they’d help me out. I didn’t feel too out of place there [yesterday], as long as I can adjust to the speed I’m pretty confident .’’

Sheens first watched Sironen when he played in the SG Ball Cup for Balmain, admitting he saw something special.

‘‘Hell yeah, right from day one,’’ Sheens said. ‘‘We knew how good of a player he is, it was just a matter of growing into his body. Whether or not he ends up in the second row, he’s probably going to go that way, might be a few years yet, but, at the moment, he’s still got good speed and good skills to play five-eighth.’’

Five things we learnt from yesterday’s game
May 28, 2012

1.Benji Marshall should now be considered a genuine halfback.

It’s not just the No.7 on his back, but the way Marshall organises his team from the first receiver role. Everything the Tigers do now revolves around him and while his individual brilliance isn’t on display as often he still set up two of his side’s four tries and scored one himself.

2. James Tamou is pound for pound the fastest man in the NRL.

The Cowboys prop turned the clock back to his junior days as a centre when he ran Marshall down after a 60-metre break and later beat Robbie Farah before putting a giant sidestep on Tim Moltzen to find himself in the clear. Those who suggested Tamou’s feats are evidence of how much Marshall has slowed up should watch the replay to see him outsprint Ashley Graham in the same run - and also gain an idea of how fast Tamou is.

3. Veteran wingers Matt Utai and Lote Tuqiri have been reborn.

After a stint in NSW Cup, Utai is back to his best and beat Marshall for the most tackle breaks (eight) from his 13 runs, which yielded 124 metres. Tuqiri ran even further (139m) from his 10 runs, which included a 40m intercept try that gave the Tigers a 14-12 lead just before halftime.

4. The Cowboys still don’t know how to win in Sydney.

The 26-18 loss at Campbelltown was North Queensland’s 13th defeat in their past 14 matches in Sydney and since 2006 they have won just six out of 34 games in Sydney. They have also beaten the Tigers just once in the past nine matches between the two teams.

5. Curtis Sironen is destined for a bright future at the Tigers.

The 18-year-old five-eighth became the first son of a former Balmain or Western Suburbs great to play for Wests Tigers and he did not look out of place at NRL level. The way Tigers coach Tim Sheens blooded him in the last 30 minutes of the match was similar to how he eased Marshall into first grade and Sironen was unlucky to be disallowed a try on his first touch, while he came up with an ankle tap on a runaway Johnathan Thurston.

And Heigno can still go 80 minutes !

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