WESTS TIGERS BEAT MANLY 26-22 IN NRL
By Wayne Cousins
Monday, 15 March 2010
A gutsy second half performance saw the Wests Tigers come from behind to record a 26-22 victory over Manly Sea Eagles at the SFS tonight in round one of the Telstra Premiership.
Dual international Lote Tuqiri made his club debut for Wests Tigers as did Jason Cayless, Mark Flanagan and Junior Moors.
Wests Tigers members and supporters rose as one at the Sydney Football Stadium when Tuqiri slammed the ball down in the left corner to score the opening try.
It came from the scrum win with centre Chris Lawrence passing the ball to Tuqiri to score to get his Wests Tigers career off to a dream start after just four minutes.
Five-eighth Benji Marshall failed to convert the try from the sideline for a 4-0 lead after five minutes.
Wests Tigers were denied a try two minutes later when referee Jared Maxwell ruled centre Blake Ayshford threw a forward pass to winger Beau Ryan.
Manly threw plenty at Wests Tigers in the 13th minute but the defence held firm with the set finishing when Ryan defused a Lyon crossfield bomb.
Two minutes later, Manly again attacked inside Wests Tigers quarter but the defence remained strong with Tuqiri defusing his first bomb to end the raid.
Starting props Bryce Gibbs and Keith Galloway were replaced after an intense opening 19 minutes. Club debutants Jason Cayless and Junior Moors replaced the pair.
A clever short kick by full-back Tim Moltzen on the last tackle saw the ball forced dead in the 20th minute by Manly full-back Brett Stewart.
On two separate occassions, Lui and Marshall have both kicked the ball dead in-goal to perhaps nullify Stewart’s attacking potential in bringing the ball back. Instead, Manly re-started play with a 20 metre tap.
Manly got back on level terms in the 25th minute when a crossfield bomb by Lyon saw Robertson outleap Ryan to score near the posts. Lyon converted the try for a 6-4 lead.
A drop pass by Moors in the 29th minute gave Manly a scrum win 20 metres out. Wests Tigers paid the price when an inside ball by Lyon saw pop a one handed pass despite the attention of Marshall and Tuqiri to offload to Glenn Stewart to score near the posts.
Lyon converted the try for a 12-4 lead.
Wests Tigers lock Chris Heighington was penalised in the 33rd minute when he took out Lyon who was chasing through a bomb. A quick penalty tap saw George Rose push his way through the attempted tackles of Gallioway, Moltzen and Liam Fulton to score next to the posts. Lyon converted the try for an 18-4 lead.
Ryan looked set to score in the 39th minute when a crossfield kick by Farah saw the ball sit up for his winger only for Robertson to knock the ball loose out of his opponent’s hand. It would have been a crucial try right on half-time.
Manly were awarded a controversial penalty by Maxwell inside the final 10 seconds after he alleged a player was interfered with from a Lyon bomb. Maxwell left the field to a huge roar of anger from supporters as Manly took a 20-4 lead at the break.
Tuqiri produced some excitement early in the second half when he made a break down the left wing before grubber kicking ahead only for a Manly player to beat him and Marshall to the ball.
Manly half-back Kieran Foran was placed on report in the 47th minute for a swinging right arm on Fulton, who walked off the field for treatment. He was replaced by Englishman Mark Flanagan who was making his NRL debut.
From the penalty, Wests Tigers spread the ball wide. Maxwell then stopped play after penalising Watmough for some rough treatment on Ayshford in a tackle.
Wests Tigers went on the attack 10 metres out but the pressure valve was released through a drop ball.
Heighington copped a nasty gash to the nose after he was hit with a right arm by prop Brent Kite, who was placed on report in the 55th minute.
From the penalty, Wests Tigers took play inside Manly’s quarter before a poor crossfield kick by Farah for Tuqiri saw the ball go over the sideline on the full.
Wests Tigers got back to 20-10 when the ball was spread right through Lui for Moltzen to split the defence to turn the ball back inside for Ayshford to score. Marshall converted the try from out wide.
Manly centre Tony Williams was cautioned after taking out Fulton off the ball.
Two minutes later, some clever work by Farah and Marshall saw Moltzen race downfield before sending Fulton on a 40 metre run to the corner for a 20-14 scoreline.
Manly extended their lead to 22-14 when Heighington was penalised for holding down Josh Perry too long in a tackle.
However Wests Tigers rallied again when a chip kick by Ryan saw Brett Stewart drop the ball. On the next tackle, the ball was spread right through Marshall and Fulton for centre Chris Lawrence to score. Marshall converted the try for a 22-20 scoreline with eight minutes remaining.
Wests Tigers supporters were estastic when the ball was spread left for Tuqiri to race downfield to be tackled 10 metres short of the line. Marshall was then tackled on the next play. The ball was then spread right before Farah placed a grubber kick behind the defensive line for the ball to bounce up. Ellis managed to grab it in with one hand before placing it down over the line for his first ever try for Wests Tigers.
Marshall converted the try from out wide for a 26-22 scoreline with four minutes remaining.
Manly went on the attack inside the final two minutes and got within 10 metres of the line before a great tackle by Fulton on the last stopped Rose.
Rose then came over the top with a swinging right arm on replacement Daniel Fitzhenry which resulted in Gibbs coming in to defend his team-mate. Riose was sent to the sin-bin. The clock was stopped with 14 seconds remaining. The penalty was awarded to Wests Tigers.
Farah kicked the ball dead before taking the tap as the full-time siren to give Wests Tigers a superb 26-22 comeback victory in front of a crowd of 18,241.
It was a win that had to be seen to be believed.
Lote Tuquri scores on NRL return as Wests Tigers come back to beat Manly at SFS
By Steve Jancetic
March 15, 2010 8:57PM
Wests Tigers beat Manly
Wests Tigers 26 Manly 22
LOTE Tuqiri provided the dream start and his teammates the fairytale finish as the Wests Tigers came back from the dead to beat Manly 26-22 in a Monday night thriller at the Sydney Football Stadium.
The Tigers looked gone when trailing 20-4 just before the hour mark, but four tries in 16 minutes - including Gareth Ellis’ first for the club five minutes from fulltime - capped a stunning comeback after Tuqiri had scored with his first touch in the NRL in more than seven years.
While the cheap shots and late hits looked like something from the 1970s - with three Manly players put on report for high shots and George Rose finishing the game in the sin bin - the Tigers’ skill and razzamatazz looked like something from the future.
The Sea Eagles seemed home and hosed when leading by 16 points, but on the back of a mounting penalty count and two tries within two minutes to Blake Ayshford and Liam Fulton, the Tigers were back in the hunt.
Manly regathered their composure and their discipline to halt the Tigers charge, with Chris Heighington giving away his third penalty of the night to gift Jamie Lyon an easy two points and the Sea Eagles an eight-point lead.
But the Tigers weren’t done with yet - Benji Marshall brilliant in putting Chris Lawrence over eight minutes from time before a deft Robbie Farah kick - with his non-preferred right foot - set up Ellis for the match-winner.
Tuqiri, after more than seven years in rugby union, touched down after just four minutes to give the 18,421-strong crowd hopes of a rout, but it was the opposition who soon started piling on the points.
Michael Robertson got the Sea Eagles’ first points when he reeled in a Jamie Lyon bomb on 25 minutes before Glenn Stewart and then George Rose - who defied his ample build with a deft left foot step - scored tries within five minutes of each other to all but bury the home side.
Manly discipline went out the window after the break with Keiran Foran and Brent Kite both put on report for high tackles, while Tony Williams was lucky not to find himself in the sin bin for a late hit on Fulton in the lead up to Ayshford’s try.
The Tigers comeback stunned the visitors before Manly’s frustrations boiled over when Rose was binned for a high tackle which sparked a melee on the fulltime siren.
In what could be bad news for Manly, fullback Brett Stewart limped off with a knee injury late in the match after pulling off a cover tackle on Tuqiri, who was in full flight down the wing.
Tuqiri enjoys fairytale return
Posted March 15, 2010 20:56:00
Tuqiri touches down
Lote Tuqiri scored from his first touch of the ball, as the Wests Tigers triumphed 26-22 over Manly in a thrilling round one encounter at Sydney Football Stadium on Monday night.
Tuqiri, who returned to the NRL after seven years in rugby union, touched down on the left flank in the opening five minutes, although for much of the contest it appeared the Sea Eagles would be the ones to walk away with the two competition points.
The Tigers had trailed 20-4 midway through the second term before four unanswered tries propelled the 2005 premiers into the lead five minutes prior full-time.
Tuqiri, whose Australian Rugby Union contract was terminated last year, had only arrived in Sydney within the past week following a stint playing with English rugby union club Leicester.
The dual international was noticeably tense prior to kick-off but his nervousness evaporated when he scored in the fourth minute from a scrum win deep inside the Sea Eagles’ half.
The Tigers had gone left down the blind side and centre Chris Lawrence made the final pass to Tuqiri, who juggled the ball at first before diving over to open the scoring.
Tuqiri, who played 67 Tests for the Wallabies, was then put under great pressure from the Sea Eagles, who bombarded his left wing with a series of bombs as had been predicted in the lead-up to the clash.
The Tigers had still enjoyed the better of the exchanges but their early lead fell away when Sea Eagles co-captain Jamie Lyon planted a cross-field kick to winger Michael Robertson, who marked the ball and scored his side’s opening try.
Lyon converted and then set up the Sea Eagles’ second try when his neat offload in the tackle allowed Glenn Stewart to scamper over in the 29th minute, before George Rose bustled over from first receiver with half-time approaching.
Both conversion attempts were successful from Lyon, who then landed a penalty goal to establish a 20-4 lead at the break.
The Tigers looked frustrated early in the second half when a series of attacking raids came to nothing, but their cause received a boost when they scored back-to-back tries through Blake Ayshford and Liam Fulton.
Both four-pointers saw full-back Tim Moltzen give the final pass and with a single conversion from Benji Marshall the Tigers had closed the deficit on the scoreboard to just a converted try.
Lyon nudged the Sea Eagles out to an eight-point buffer with a penalty goal in the 69th minute, but it did little to halt the Tigers’ momentum with converted tries to Lawrence and England international Gareth Ellis sealing the victory.
Ellis’ effort was helped by a break down the left touchline from the 30-year-old Tuqiri, whose match fitness was sometimes found wanting in what was his first appearance in the NRL since 2002.
Stewart out of action as Sea Eagles crumble GLENN JACKSON
March 16, 2010
Wests Tigers 26 Manly 22
If a week is a long time in football, then what of the 20-minute period of mayhem that ended last night’s contest, in which Manly went from coasting to a first-up victory to their season being in disarray just 80 minutes into it.
Wests Tigers, through Robbie Farah, Benji Marshall and Lote Tuqiri - who bookended the match with a try and and thundering run that put Brett Stewart out for potentially six weeks - recovered from a 20-4 deficit to win thanks to four tries in the final quarter.
But just as they exploded into the game, the Sea Eagles imploded, three of their players being placed on report in a manic second half.
That combined with the match-eve injury to winger David Williams, who popped his shoulder for what could be a 10-week recovery, means the Sea Eagles are already on the back foot just one game in.
‘‘There’s no excuses for a 20-4 scoreline,’’ coach Des Hasler said. ‘‘We just didn’t convert it.’’
Manly’s discipline all but evaporated as the Tigers clawed their way back into the contest.
First Kieran Foran, then Brent Kite and finally George Rose were placed on report, the latter as tempers boiled over at the death of a remarkably entertaining contest for such an early stage of the year. ‘‘That’s always a concern,’’ Hasler said of his players who will face the inquiries of the match review committee today.
Also a concern, for a time, was the Tigers’ slump after the perfect start; not just an early try but one by their star recruit. Tuqiri scored after just four minutes, but the Tigers appeared to clock off after the first 20. It appeared the Tigers’ only highlight would have been that try. Just like you don’t win the competition in round one, it’s also fair to say you don’t win a game in the fourth minute.
Tuqiri’s performance mirrored his side’s; awfully inconsistent but brilliant in patches. When it mattered, Marshall and Farah stood up, both of them having hands in the Tigers’ four tries in the last 20 minutes. The final one was scored by Gareth Ellis, the English import who failed to notch a single try last year and was forced to shed his clothes in Cairns for a traditional nude run.
‘‘I’ll be telling everyone I won’t be doing one now,’’ Ellis said. At least one English star enjoyed his first run of the season.
‘‘I’m not getting any younger,’’ Tigers coach Tim Sheens said. ‘‘We were down for the count.’’
Literally. But neither Sheens nor Farah had any major complaints over the high shots, even though Chris Heighington’s nose was broken by Kite.
‘‘A lot of them guys were going down,’’ Sheens said. ‘‘But that’s Manly’s problem, not ours.’’
Said Farah, who kicked for Ellis’s try: ‘‘We showed some good character there. We could have easily dropped our bundle.’’
Manly, meanwhile, also showed good and bad signs. Jamie Lyon’s kicking game let him down at times, but throughout the middle stages of the match it was superb, and he almost won the game for the Sea Eagles. But for the brilliance of Farah and Marshall he would have.
‘I couldn’t believe it’: first touch and Tuqiri’s over CHRIS BARRETT
March 16, 2010
Lote Tuqiri could not believe it. With his first touch of the ball in the NRL for nearly eight years, the dreadlocked winger found himself diving for the corner without a hand laid on him.
A try four minutes into his debut for the Wests Tigers - he could hardly have dreamed of more in the hours of sleep he managed on the long flight back from England last week.
It was also the perfect start to the most anticipated individual performance of the weekend, almost capped off by a fairytale finish with only a desperate Brett Stewart tackle flooring Tuqiri as he galloped towards the line inside the final five minutes. Despite the Manly fullback’s bravery in bringing him down, there were no smiles for the Sea Eagles in the aftermath.
Stewart sustained a knee injury in that very tackle that could sideline him for up to six weeks, and the Tigers stole a come-from-behind 26-22 win when second-rower Gareth Ellis dived on a Robbie Farah grubber moments later to make his first try for the club extra special.
Beaming after a memorable return to the NRL, Tuqiri described his first-touch try, laid on by five-eighth Benji Marshall and centre Chris Lawrence from the scrumbase, as a ‘‘dream start’’.
‘‘I couldn’t have asked for anything more,’’ he said. ''I honestly couldn’t believe it. We called a play on the short side off the scrum - we’d practised it all week and it came off. [Centre] Chris Lawrence likes that line going out, and he sucked two defenders in, and lo and behold he popped it up.
‘‘I juggled it a bit - I don’t know if I would have caught that in the 80th minute, but luckily I was still fresh.’’
Of his dash down the left flank in the last five minutes, which turned back the clock as the 30-year-old hit top speed, he said he had an eye on Stewart as he loomed ever larger on his radar. ‘‘I didn’t realise I had that much running in my legs,’’ Tuqiri said of his 50-metre run.
‘‘Luckily I had a bit of a headstart. I saw Brett Stewart in the corner of my eye, I thought he was going to slow down a bit. I was waiting for him to slow down so I could step inside, but he didn’t. I just took the tackle and luckily we scored in the next couple of plays. I hope he’s OK.’’
Tuqiri’s return was a successful one given his long absence from the game, though he admitted he might have still had rugby union tactics on the mind when he produced a kick over the top, on the third tackle, early in the second half.
‘‘I made a bit of a boo-boo just after half-time,’’ he said. '‘I thought I was still playing rugby when I chipped through on the third tackle or something. I’ve gone, ‘Oh, what the … ’ Luckily nothing came of it. I’m sure a few of my old Waratahs teammates in the stands would have been laughing at that.’’