In Gosford, Wests Tigers skipper Robbie Farah led his team to a comfortable 36-12 victory over Cronulla in the first match of a double header at Bluetongue Stadium.
Farah scored two tries and set up another two as the Tigers skipped away to an easy win in the first game of a double-header.
The scoreline wasn’t the only concern for the Sharks, with lock Paul Gallen a late withdrawal with a thigh injury while Trent Barrett was hardly sighted after half-time.
The Sharks looked rusty in the first half as a string of fumbled passes and muffed catches left them 18-0 down at the break.
The Tigers were missing superstar Benji Marshall but Robert Lui put in an impressive display at five-eighth and Moltzen hardly missed a beat at halfback.
The Sharks came out firing in the second half, with Siosaia Vave bursting through the Tigers defence to put Kelly in.
Vave also put in a pass to Isaac Gordon, who scored a consolation try in the 66th minute.
Daniel Fitzhenry missed the match with a groin strain, but Tigers officials were confident the winger would play the opening round.
WESTS TIGERS BEAT SHARKS 36-12 IN NRL TRIAL
By Wayne Cousins
Saturday, 27 February 2010
Fine performances from five-eighth Robbie Lui and hooker Robbie Farah have led Wests Tigers to a 36-12 trial victory over Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks at Bluetongue Stadium, Gosford, tonight.
Lui and Farah were the catalysts for the victory off a strong performance by the Wests Tigers forwards who dominated up front.
However it was Lui, who turned 20 this week, whose creativity and footwork at five-eighth caused problems for the Sharks in a seven tries to two victory in front of a good size crowd.
Wests Tigers went into the match without ‘Tiger for Life’ Benji Marshall (ankle), prop Todd Payten (hamstring) and winger Daniel Fitzhenry (groin).
The good news for Wests Tigers is there are no injuries from the trial win as the team now prepares for its round one clash against Manly at the SFS on Monday, March 15.
Wests Tigers half-back Tim Moltzen made a mistake in the first set of six by kicking the ball out on the full from a last tackle clearing kick. Fortunately for the Tigers, the Sharks dropped the ball in the next set.
The handling in the opening five minutes has been ordinary in the humid conditions.
Wests Tigers prop Bryce Gibbs was penalised for a shepherd five metres out from the line in the seventh minute.
The Sharks were denied a try in the 12th minute when Wests Tigers full-back Mitch Brown dropped a Trent Barrett bomb for second-rower Reece Williams to score. Referee Jason Robinson penalised a Sharks player for pushing Brown away from the ball after he spilt it.
Wests Tigers got a repeat set after Barrett knocked down a pass five metres from the Sharks line.
The pressure told on the Sharks when some quick hands found lock Chris Heighington who crashed through two defenders to score out wide.Moltzen converted the try for a 6-0 lead. Heighington and Moltzen are both Central Coast juniors.
It became 10-0 in the 21st minute when five-eighth Robert Lui split a tackle from a dummy half pass from Farah. Lui passed the ball back inside for Farah to score next to the posts. Moltzen converted the try for a 12-0 lead.
A perfectly placed kick by Lui into the Sharks’ left hand corner trapped the winger in-goal to give Wests Tigers a repeat set three minutes later.
Heighington was denied his second try when he was involved in a shepherd from a Farah pass.
Lui is having a fine all-round game and is thriving running off breaks from Farah.
Farah set up the third try when a flat pass from dummy half saw prop Keith Galloway charge through two defenders to score next to the posts. Moltzen converted the try for an 18-0 lead after 36 minutes.
Jake Mullaney has entered the field of play to play full-back, replacing Daniela. Brown has moved to the wing.
The Sharks had their best chance when centgre Blake Ferguson made a break down the right edge before offloading to winger Isaac Gordon who dropped the ball 20 metres out with the tryline in front of him.
The score remained 18-0 at half-time.
The Sharks opened the scoring in the second half when prop Siosaia Vave offloaded in a two man tackle to pass to half-back Albert Kelly to brush off a defender to score from 10 metres out. Winger Luke Covelll converted the try for an 18-6 scoreline after 44 minutes.
Brown extended the Wests Tigers lead when he scored in the corner after the ball travelled through the hands of centre Chris Lawrence and Moltzen after Lui offloaded in a three man tackle from five metres out. Moltzen failed to convert the try from the sideline for a 22-6 lead after 46 minutes.
Lui is clearly sending a message to Coach Tim Sheens that he is the man for the number seven jersey for round one.
Wests Tigers received a repeat set when a grubber kick by Farah was forced dead in-goal in the 58th minute. The Tigers were able to get into the Sharks’ territory after Lui broke through four defenders to reach the quarter line.
A penalty against the Sharks for holding down too long in tackle gave Wests Tigers another set from 15 metres out. Farah capitalised on the extra possession when he darted from dummy half to roll over in a tackle to score his second try in the 59th minute for a 26-6 lead. Moltzen failed to convert the try.
Willie Mataka has replaced Chris Heighington.
The Sharks got their second try when Talima Tautai offloaded to send Gordon into a hole out wide to race away to score behind the posts. Covell converted the try for a 26-12 scoreline after 65 minutes.
Moltzen got in on the tryscoring when he stepped and turned past three defenders to score near the posts after good lead up work by Farah on the back of a penalty. Moltzen converted his own try for a 32-12 scoreline after 69 minutes.
Wests Tigers were almost in again for their seventh try when Lui hit a gap only for his pass to Brown to be knocked on by a desperate Sharks defender.
Chris Corby came on to replace Mullaney.
A pass by Lui to Ellis saw the international cross the tryline only for referee Robinson to rule no try. Lui did have a hand though in the next try a minute later when the ball was spread left for Heighington to score his second try for a 36-12 scoreline. Moltzen’s attempt at goal was wide off the mark.
Tigers salute a Robbie dazzler
- By David Riccio
- From: The Sunday Telegraph
- February 27, 2010 8:38PM
WESTS Tigers captain Robbie Farah last night said he is ready for the start of the NRL season after he dismantled the Sharks.
With Benji Marshall sitting out the match, Farah was involved in six of his team’s seven tries, including scoring two himself.
“We saw it as a dress rehearsal for Round 1 and we didn’t want to go in on the back of two poor performances,” Farah said.
"I got more involved and had a few more opportunities around the ruck. I was disappointed with my game last week, so tonight’s game gives me a boost of confidence.
“I think my preparation is a lot better this year. I’m injury-free and I’ve been training as hard as I can. I’ve given myself every opportunity to start playing well from Round 1.”
Tigers coach Tim Sheens acknowledged the performance of Farah and also the commitment of his pack.
The win completed a fine 48 hours for the Tigers, with Marshall signing a new six-year deal with the club in the lead-up to last night’s match.
“I wouldn’t say it was a great game, but I was happy with Robbie Farah in particular, he led the show and our forwards tackled all right, too,” Sheens said. “But [Farah] was the difference in the game. It was just a scrappy game with a lot of errors from both sides. We got through it without injury, but I’m not taking too much from it.”
Farah was the chief destroyer, but he had some help with rookie Robert Lui and utility Tim Moltzen also producing flashes of brilliance.
Cronulla, who rested Paul Gallen, paid the price for a huge amount of dropped ball and were unable to reel in an 18-6 halftime deficit despite strong performances from backrower Anthony Tupou, halfback Albert Kelly, hooker Paul Aiton and prop Luke Douglas.
Tigers forward Chris Heighington opened the scoring in the 15th minute, the backrower barging over from close range.
Farah inspired the next two Tigers tries. Quick hands from the brilliant hooker put Lui through a hole in the Sharks defence, before he found Farah backing up in support.
He was at it again five minutes before halftime when he spotted some tired Cronulla defenders and provided a flat path for red-headed prop Keith Galloway to score.
Trailing 18-0 at halftime, the Sharks were doing little to get bookmakers to tighten their long odds for the premiership.
But Kelly showed a glimpse of his talent by picking up his first try for the club just after the break.
WESTS TIGERS 36 (C Heighington 2, R Farah 2, K Galloway, M Brown, T Moltzen tries; Moltzen 4 goals) CRONULLA 12 (A Kelly, I Gordon tries; L Covell 2 goals).
Leaner, keener Lui carves up Sharks to secure halfback spot
February 28, 2010
Wests Tigers 36 Sharks 12
ROOKIE halfback Robert Lui confirmed his starting place in the Wests Tigers side for the opening round of the premiership with a stand-out performance in last night’s emphatic trial win against Cronulla at Gosford.
Tigers coach Tim Sheens said after the game he would be going with Tim Moltzen at fullback, Lui at halfback, and, of course, Benji Marshall at five-eighth for the game against Manly at the Sydney Football Stadium on Monday, March 15.
Marshall missed last night’s game to get over an ankle injury, while Lui played five-eighth, Moltzen halfback and Mitch Brown fullback.
The Tigers are still waiting to see how early Lote Tuqiri will be able to leave English rugby to join them, but when he does get here Sheens said he would probably start on the wing to get used to the NRL again, before being considered as fullback. Tigers hooker Robbie Farah was the only player who outshone Lui last night, and their understanding was a joy for Tigers supporters to see.
Lui, who played four first-grade games late last season and only turned 20 on Tuesday, was limping with a foot injury after the game, but said he would be fit for round one. It was clear he had lost weight since last season, and was sharper as a result.
‘‘I’m fitter and really keen,’’ Lui said. ‘‘Folkesy [the Tigers’ high-performance manager, Steve Folkes] has trained us hard and I really like what it’s done for me. I wasn’t certain about anything as far as the first round goes before I came here tonight, so I’m really happy to have played well.’’
The game was over as a contest by half-time, when the Tigers led 18-0. Farah took control of the ruck early in the game and he and Lui combined to carve up the Cronulla defence.
Farah said he been determined to get more involved in the game than he had been against the Roosters, and was happy with the result.