Benji steers Tigers to win over Raiders
June 22, 2013 - 10:46PM
Adrian Warren - SMH
Acting Wests Tigers captain Benji Marshall delivered a couple of big plays as his eventful week ended with a 17-12 NRL win over travel-sick Canberra at Campbelltown Stadium.
Marshall kicked a match-tying sideline conversion and edged the Tigers ahead 13-12 with a 73rd minute field goal on Saturday night.
Winger Tim Simona sealed the Tigers’ win two minutes later when he twisted his body and planted the ball over the line for a try.
The Tigers scored three tries to two in a mistake-marred game, which was played in heavy rain in the second half.
It was a seventh loss in eight away games for Canberra this season and thwarted their bid to win three straight for the first time this year.
Over the past week Marshall had come under criticism for missing several tackles in the Tigers’ last game, while the latter part of his week was dominated by more headlines about his ongoing contractual negotiations.
Canberra led 6-4 at halftime.
The Tigers were first to strike, with winger David Nofoaluma crossing in the 13th minute after some slick passing.
Elusive fullback Reece Robinson set up both Canberra tries.
He combined with Josh McCrone and Jack Wighton to send Sandor Earl over in the first half.
There was a tinge of controversy about the try Robinson set up for Anthony Milford in the 58th minute.
Tigers centre Blake Ayshford appeared to have grounded Robinson in a legitimate tackle, but the Raiders fullback quickly bounced back up and continued his run.
Marshall and halfback Curtis Sironen set up Joel Reddy for the Tigers’ second try.
Marshall landed a tough sideline conversion to again level the score.
Hit by a crippling injury list, the Tigers lost hooker Masada Iosefa in the 33rd minute with a broken forearm.
Tigers centre Chris Lawrence came off the bench and returned to action after being sidelined with a hamstring injury since round seven, but was placed on report for a shoulder charge.
Joel Thompson was also put on report for a shoulder charge on Marshall in the last few minutes.
That was tame compared to the end of the Holden Cup match, which featured an old fashioned all-in brawl.
Mitchell Barnett (Raiders) and Nathan Brown (Tigers) were sent off, Kyle Lovett (Tigers) and Tahakilu Pangai (Raiders) were sin-binned and Brenden Santi (Tigers) was placed on report.
Marshall said he was happy to end a difficult week on a high.
“I just wanted to do my job today and that was to lead by example and control the game,” Marshall said.
“I thought last week I let the control get away from me in the game, so I just wanted to get that back.”
Tigers coach Mick Potter described Marshall’s effort as “a great captain’s knock”.
“I said to him after the game that he really led by example,” Potter said.
“He’s been trying, it’s not lack of trying, and I think it just came together tonight.”
Potter said he thought the report on Lawrence was the wrong call and suggested he felt the same way about the Milford try.
Canberra coach David Furner lamented opportunities missed by his side, especially in the first half when Brett White and David Shillington both lost the ball trying to get over the Tigers line.
“What we’ve been very good at is just being patient and I didn’t think we were,” Furner said.
"A couple of times there forcing offloads, not getting to the areas where we needed to.
“The more the game went on, the more we gave them an opportunity to win it.”
Benji’s return to form inspires Tigers to late victory
June 22, 2013 - 11:37PM
Michael Chammas - SMH
Rugby league reporter
With Benji Marshall set to make a decision on his future within the next week, the Wests Tigers’ stand-in skipper delivered a timely reminder of his value by helping his side overcome controversy to snatch victory against the Raiders on Saturday night.
While he didn’t produce the trick-shots he’s now synonymous with, Marshall’s goal-kicking and a late field goal, as well as his leadership, guided his inexperienced Tigers to a 17-12 win at a wet and miserable Campbelltown Stadium after a controversial try awarded to the Raiders handed the visitors a 12-6 lead midway through the second half.
While most of the talk coming out of the night was about the four players who were sent from the field in an ugly brawl during the Holden Cup game, Tigers coach Mick Potter applauded Marshall for his ability to overcome a week of speculation surrounding his future to help the joint venture club to their third win in four games.
“He takes speculation and criticism personally and that’s why he purposely avoids the spotlight because it’s easy to have a shot at him,” Potter said.
“I’m pleased for him because he’s a leader among us. He never stops trying and never stops trying to improve and I’m pleased that he helped us to a large degree to win that game. He was in school when he played first grade here and he loves the joint. He’s a pleasure to coach.”
The Tigers looked set to suffer their 10th loss of the season when Canberra’s Anthony Milford was awarded a try in the 58th minute, despite replays showing fullback Reece Robinson had been allowed to play on and set up the try after he was brought to the ground by Blake Ayshford.
However referees Adam Devcich and Alan Shortall deemed Robinson wasn’t held in the tackle, awarding the controversial try to give the Raiders a 12-6 lead with 22 minutes remaining.
But the Tigers, through tries to Joel Reddy and Tim Simona and a field goal to Marshall, managed to claw their way back from the adversity and end Canberra’s two-game winning streak with a 17-12 victory.
Tigers coach Mick Potter dodged a fine in the post-match press conference when he was asked if his side was unlucky to have had that try awarded against them. He said: “I’m not sure if it’s luck, I wouldn’t be able to say . . . I haven’t got the cash.”
Later quizzed on the try, Potter said the decision to award Milford the four-pointer wasn’t his major gripe with the officials. “I put myself in the other coach’s shoes and I asked myself was he tackled and I thought it was a 50-50 call,” Potter said.
“That wasn’t my major beef tonight. I know it did put us behind by six points because they scored under the post but that wasn’t my major beef [with the referees].”
"Representative duty stripped the Tigers of their best two players this season – Aaron Woods and Robbie Farah, while the Raiders had to do without Josh Papalii (Origin) and Blake Ferguson (suspension), and the rain in the second half only diminished the quality of football.
For the fourth time this season the Tigers were unable to attract a crowd in excess of 10,000, but the 7833 in Campbelltown was narrowly better than the 7125 fans who braved the miserable conditions at Leichhardt Oval against the Cowboys in round 11.
Chris Lawrence, who injured his hamstring at the same ground against the Broncos back in round seven, made his return off the bench but it didn’t take him long to leave his mark on the game.
Unfortunately it wouldn’t have been the type of impact his coach would have liked, with Lawrence put on report for a high tackle on Canberra halfback Josh McCrone in the 37th minute.
However Potter believes Lawrence has little to answer for, describing it as “just a rubbish report”.
Just as it looked like the Tigers’ luck was beginning to turn with injuries, they were dealt a huge blow just before half-time with their only dummy half, Masada Iosefa, taken from the field with a suspected broken arm suffered in a tackle on David Shillington.
The Tigers are expected to get fullback James Tedesco back for their clash with the Storm at Leichhardt next week.
WESTS TIGERS 17 (D Nofoaluma J Reddy T Simona tries B Marshall 2 goals B Marshall field goal) bt CANBERRA 12 (S Earl A Milford tries J Croker 2 goals) at Campbelltown Sports Stadium. Referee: Alan Shortall, Adam Devcich. Crowd: 7,833
NRL Match Report: Wests Tigers defeat Canberra 17-12
Saturday 22 June 2013 10:57 PM
NRL Match Report: Wests Tigers defeat Canberra 17-12
Wests Tigers tonight scored a thrilling 17-12 victory over the Canberra Raiders at Campbelltown Sports Stadium.
Trailing 6-4 at half time and losing hooker Masada Iosefa before the break, the Wests Tigers turned in a gutsy display to overcome a strong Raiders side in wet conditions.
Coming off a disappointing loss to Brisbane on Monday night, the Wests Tigers came out strong and tested the Raiders line on numerous occasions early on.
A perfectly weighted grubber from Benji Marshall had opposite number Terry Campese scrambling for the ball in-goal, with the Wests Tigers trapping him and forcing a repeat set in the early stages.
On the next set, Liam Fulton linked up with Sean Meaney in an impressive second man play as the fullback sent flying winger David Nofoaluma over in the corner. Marshall missed the kick, but the Wests Tigers had a 4-0 lead after 14 minutes.
In the 19th minute, Marshall put over a cross-field kick for Nofoaluma who unfortunately couldn’t handle the ball as a chance went begging.
Raiders hit back in the 27th minute with Reece Robinson busting out of three tackles before linking up with speedster Jack Wighton who drew in the defence and put Sandor Earl over in the right corner. Jarrod Croker put his side in the lead with a conversion from the sideline making it 6-4.
Masada Iosefa was helped from the field with a broken forearm in the 33rd minute, meaning Liam Fulton moved into the hooking role for the remainder of the match.
Chris Lawrence was placed on report for a high shot on Josh McCrone, giving the Raiders a full set inside the danger zone. A big set in defence held Canberra out though, forcing an error.
With under two minutes remaining in the half, Sean Meaney made the simplest of errors on a kick return as he fumbled trying to pick up the ball, giving the Raiders another chance to extend their lead.
It wasn’t to be though as the Raiders grubbered a ball over the sideline on the first tackle, leaving the scores at 6-4 going into the break.
Just three minutes into the second stanza, the Raiders had another chance but winger Sami Saulima was ruled to be held up over the line by some desperate Wests Tigers defence.
As the rain started to get heavier, the Wests Tigers received a relieving penalty 35 metres out. Marshall opted to take the two points and made no mistake evening it up at 6-all after 48 minutes.
A big tackle from Curtis Sironen took Reece Robinson over the touchline easing the pressure in the 52nd minute as the Raiders looked dangerous.
Not long after that a dubious call had the Raiders back in front with Robinson ruled not to be tackled by Blake Ayshford, as the fullback got up and sent Anthony Milford over under the posts for a 12-6 lead after 58 minutes.
Both side tussled it out before a magic short ball from Sironen hit Joel Reddy perfectly on the 30-metre line, as the experienced back found his way to the line in the 66th minute. Marshall landed the goal from the sideline to even it back up at 12-all.
With eight minutes remaining, Marshall set up for a field goal 15 metres out from the Raiders line, hitting it perfectly for a 13-12 lead in the dying stages.
With the game still in the balance, Tim Simona became the hero for the second time in three weeks, collecting a loose ball from a wayward grubber and spinning out of a tackle to slam it down in the corner. Marshall missed the goal, but the Wests Tigers held a 17-12 lead with three minutes to go.
Back-to-back penalties had the Raiders deep on the attack in the final minute, however a Campese chip kick went straight into the arms of Sean Meaney to wrap up the game, 17-12.
Wests Tigers 17 (Nofoaluma, Reddy, Simona tries; Marshall 2 from 4 conversions, 1 field goal) defeated Canberra 12 (Earl, Milford tries; Croker 2 conversions)