Eels left standing as Tigers’ twin engines click into gear
March 23, 2013
Glenn Jackson - SMH
Rugby League Writer
Tigers 31 Eels 18
Tigers overpower sloppy Eels
WHEN Robbie Farah and Benji Marshall, unbreakable and unpredictable respectively, are in that sort of mood, Wests Tigers are always difficult to beat. They can be a frustrating team for their supporters at times, but it would be Parramatta supporters, as well as their players, who would leave Leichhardt exasperated.
Eels co-captain Jarryd Hayne was involved in regular verbal battles with the on-field officials, particularly after Marshall took a quick tap from inside his own half and was easing up before many of the Parramatta side had realised what had happened. They could feel aggrieved by some of the decisions, but not the result. With Aaron Woods and Adam Blair strong through the middle, Farah - a day after signing for life with the club - and Marshall were able to do some damage.
While some significant doubts linger around the Tigers’ ability to produce consistent football, they are certainly capable of producing brilliant football.
‘‘We’re getting better,’’ Farah said. ‘‘We’re not anywhere near where we want to be, but the good thing is we’re taking steps in the right direction.’’
Conversely, the Eels suddenly showed familiar frailties. They will hope it was simply a one-off, and perhaps it will be. But it will also knock their confidence around.
The Tigers, of course, feed off confidence, and the Eels would have known that if they gave their opponents the early advantage, at Leichhardt Oval, they would be hard to peg back. But knowing what not to do and doing what not to do are very different. The Tigers scored their first after four minutes, when Marshall sent centre Chris Lawrence at Eels half Chris Sandow. It was a no brainer that the Tigers would continue to target the halfback.
‘‘You try to go at those smaller defenders,’’ coach Mick Potter confirmed. ‘‘He’s one of them. Chris [Lawrence] did very well to get over the top of him.’’ The Eels were becoming pinned down their own end. Winger Cheyse Blair lost possession in a four-man tackle coming out of his own end, while not even Sandow’s superb 40-20 could turn the momentum. Mitchell Allgood lost the ball as he rolled to score, and the Tigers were given another life.
Farah, who had signed himself to life with the Tigers during the week, was not just resigning himself to key plays with the boot. After 20 minutes, he once again put Lawrence on Sandow, who was isolated again. By that stage, the Eels had made twice as many tackles as the Tigers, and missed six times as many. Sandow had made many of them and also missed a couple. But, rather cleverly, as it looked like they were about to send Lawrence towards the halfback again, the right centre Blake Ayshford surprised the Eels with a dart himself, giving the Tigers an 18-0 lead.
For all the Tigers’ dominance, the Eels should have had two tries themselves; after Allgood’s earlier effort, centre Jacob Loko was the next to lose possession as he tried to score, following a break from inside their own quarter. Remarkably, Farah was there to make the tackle on Loko which forced the ball loose.
‘‘I was lucky enough to force the ball out,’’ Farah said. ‘‘I guess it was a pretty big play. They’re the sorts of efforts you need.’’
The Tigers were leading every relevant stat from penalties to possession. And points of course.
The Eels would score the first of them in the second half, but it was merely a break from regular programming. Marshall’s quick tap surprised the Eels, and the five-eighth waltzed in from 60 metres out untouched before halfback Jacob Miller’s field goal put the result beyond doubt.
WESTS TIGERS 31 (C Lawrence 2 B Ayshford B Marshall T Moltzen tries B Marshall 5 goals J Miller field goal) bt PARRAMATTA 18 (J Loko R Morgan V Toutai tries C Sandow 3 goals) at Leichhardt Oval. Referee: Shayne Hayne, Alan Shortall. Crowd: 18,326.
Stuart looks for positives in Tigers defeat
March 22, 2013 - 11:55PM
Glenn Jackson - SMH
Rugby League Writer
Parramatta coach Ricky Stuart conceded the loss to Wests Tigers would be a “learning curve” for his co-captain Jarryd Hayne, as well as his young squad, whose ill-discipline cost them at Leichhardt Oval.
Hayne showed his frustrations during various verbal battles with the referees, leading Stuart to admit he might reconsider using the fullback to deal with the officials in future. But he was more damning of the Eels’ ill-discipline in allowing Tigers five-eighth Benji Marshall to score a crucial second-half try from a quick tap.
It’s ill-discipline. I’m not going to stand for that type of ill-discipline. You don’t turn your back on a penalty like that. Mum could have run through there and scored. It’s bullshit.
“I’m very disappointed with that quick tap,” Stuart said. “It’s ill-discipline. I’m not going to stand for that type of ill-discipline. You don’t turn your back on a penalty like that. Mum could have run through there and scored. It’s bullshit.”
The Eels had begun the second half brightly, but Marshall’s try halted an Eels comeback, as he and hooker Robbie Farah orchestrated an impressive win. “I wasn’t going to do it, but then they back-chatted to the referee, and marched them up the field,” Marshall said. “They all turned their heads and didn’t really look. He’s said ‘wait, wait, wait’, I said ‘now’, and he goes ‘yes’. So I just went. As soon as he gives you the mark, you can go.”
Farah added: “It’s the way the rules are now, the interpretation with the refs; as soon as they give you the mark, you’re good to go. We’ve got a couple there - one last week and one tonight. There’s some easy points there when you can pull their pants down and catch them napping. I think teams will start to wake up to it. But it was great awareness by him.”
Stuart lamented other things about the performance, conceding that the Eels did not deserve to win the game. But he was also critical of the 5-0 penalty count against his side in the first half, which became 9-5 for the match.
It led to Hayne taking his frustrations out at regular intervals. While Stuart said he could understand why Hayne so regularly clashed with the officials, he said the lopsided penalty count was no excuse.
“When it’s five-nil at halftime, penalty count, I can understand why he gets frustrated,” Stuart said. “There’s a number of penalties that we were getting penalised for, out there tonight and last week (against the Bulldogs), that the opposition weren’t getting away with. And it disappoints me. But it’s not the excuse. I can understand the frustration, he’s a new leader, and he’ll learn from that tonight. I’m not going to put up with it - it’s something we’ve spoken about, and it won’t happen again.”
Asked if he might revisit his plan to allow Hayne - co-captain alongside Reni Maitua and Tim Mannah - to deal with officials, Stuart said: “Absolutely. It’s all a learning curve.”
But Stuart did stress he was content the Eels did not capitulate under the weight of possession and penalties.
“When you start a game like that - I think they had 70 percent of the footy to our 30,” Stuart said. "At one stage there, we had to defend 16 sets and we had the ball for three sets, and the penalty count was five-nil.
"It was actually quite remarkable how we hung in there in that first half. If we played one of the bigger teams, they would have had 30 or 40 on us. Fortunately, we handled what they threw at us in that first half.
“I thought, defensively, we were very good in that first half considering the amount of football they had. If we had come out and played for 40 minutes the way I thought we could play, I knew we were still in it.”
Boo Ho Ricky. You were outplayed in the 1st half, and the Benji tap and try was agood wake up call.