Media Reports

Tigers pip Warriors in incredible contest
Sat 05 Mar, 2016, 7:30pm
By Martin Gabor‌, National Correspondent,

The Wests Tigers have survived a monumental comeback to see off the Warriors 34-26 at Campbelltown Stadium on Saturday night.

The loss condemned the visitors to their seventh straight opening-round loss, with the defeat further soured by a potential dislocated kneecap to Ben Henry in what was his first game back from a season-ending ACL injury.

Mitch Moses produced his best performance in first grade, playing a hand in three of his side’s six tries and controlling the match like a seasoned veteran in the absence of regular halves partner Luke Brooks.

The Tigers settled the better after a comedy of errors to start the game with Moses finding a hard-running Curtis Sironen to score Wests’ first points of the season.

The hosts had sprung a surprise before kickoff, bringing Kyle Lovett into the starting side for Manaia Cherrington, with Jack Littlejohn shifting to dummy-half. Jason Taylor’s gamble paid dividends with Lovett scoring the game’s second try from a magical Chris Lawrence offload.

Moses was at it again minutes later finding an unmarked David Nofoaluma to cross for the side’s third in the opening quarter of the game.

The winger then almost turned provider, finding space down the right before kicking back in field for Kevin Naiqama to dot down, only for the men in the Bunker to find a little knock on from Lovett in the lead-up.

The Warriors took full advantage of the let-off, scoring through left centre Solomone Kata after Nofoaluma put down a relatively simple Shaun Johnson kick.

An entertaining first half took on new meaning just before the half-hour mark, with the Tigers putting in an early candidate for try of the year.

It started with a Moses banana kick to Tedesco, with the fullback offloading to big Tim Grant who did brilliantly to pick up the bouncing ball, before quick hands found Naiqama on the right, who grubbered back infield for Tedesco to gather and score.

The Warriors would have been happy to go into half-time down 22-4, but they wouldn’t be so lucky with the Tigers scoring the second best try of the season so far a minute before the break.

A shift from five metres out ended up with Naiqama, who drew in three defenders before linking up with fellow centre Tim Simona who torched Roger Tuivasa-Sheck to cap off the Tigers’ best ever opening 40 minutes at the venue.

Whatever Andrew McFadden said at half-time took a little bit of time to sink in with a Manu Vatuvei error almost leading to what should have been an easy four pointer.

But led by Shaun Johnson, the Warriors came to life after that, scoring three tries in eight minutes to narrow the margin to just two points with 13 minutes to play.

The mercurial playmaker set up the first try of the second stanza, hitting former skipper Simon Mannering with a flat ball close to the line.

The Warriors looked destined to score again with Tuivasa-Sheck making a surging run down field, only for Simona to reel in the new NZ fullback.

One play later they did find the line, with interchange forward Bodene Thompson exploiting a huge overlap to cross out wide.

The Campbelltown faithful must have been nervous with the visitors scoring two more tries in the space of two minutes to draw themselves within a conversion.

Johnson scored the first, stepping his way through some tiring defenders to cross under the sticks, before an expansive shift from their own half finished with Kata touching down for his second of the night.

Johnson tried desperately to snatch the unlikeliest of victories at the death, but a desperate chip and chase went horribly wrong as James Tedesco raced 50 metres to seal the heart-stopping win.

The Warriors will head into next week wondering what could have been, while the Tigers will be aiming to make it two wins on the trot when they take on Manly at Leichhardt Oval in Monday night footy.

The west turns wild as Tigers cling on in try-fest against New Zealand Warriors

March 5, 2016 - 9:06PM

Phil Lutton
Sports reporter

Wests Tigers coach Jason Taylor says fans can expect more free-flowing rugby league from his team this year but insists they aren’t the game’s new entertainers after they survived a second-half surge to cling on against the Warriors.

It felt like 2005 all over again when Mitchell Moses, minus regular halves partner Luke Brookes, orchestrated a 28-4 lead that seemed to have the lacklustre Kiwis shot to bits at Campbelltown, only for the visitors to turn the tables and return fire with interest.

The Tigers would hold on 34-26 thanks to a late try to James Tedesco and Taylor, who confidently brushed off questions about his future in the job, said he was pleased with the effort despite the enormity of the second-half collapse.

“It was classy and composed,” Taylor said, referring to the dominant first 40 minutes. “We lost our way in that area in the second half. It was good… we’ve worked hard on a lot of that half we saw in the first half.”

The closing-out phase clearly needs work but the intent to play open, liberating rugby league should be more than enough to enthuse the Tigers faithful, who may not have been expecting miracles this season as they try to regroup and rebuild.

Taylor said to expect more of the same but stopped short of declaring his team the new entertainers of the NRL in an era of completion rates and structured attack.

“That’s how we’ll be playing footy this year. Thats our style. The disappointing thing was the mistakes we made in the second half were just poor decisions. But that’s what we’re hoping to play, for 80 minutes,” Taylor said.

“But no, I don’t think so (new entertainers). It’s still based on defence. What we did in the last eight minutes and first 40 minutes won us the game.”

Moses is off contract at the end of the year and Taylor said he hoped it was these sort of afternoons that would help convince him to stay and lead the Tigers into a new era of success.

And Taylor was quick to dismiss any speculation over his job, saying he had no issues coaching in the environment and felt he had the complete backing of powerbrokers within the club.

“I’m not worried about the speculation because it doesn’t affect the people in charge at our club. It doesn’t matter what is written or said. We’re going forward.”

Warriors coach Andrew McFadden, another man under pressure, confirmed the worst for Ben Henry, who went down with a dislocated knee in the first half. It appears his season may be over not long after it began.

“I just felt like we were waiting for someone else to do it. What we realised in the second half is that it takes a team effort and far more purpose. You need a far more aggressive approach. Once we got going, it was hard to stop, like them in the first half,” McFadden said.

“But it’s not acceptable to start a game like that. It was all pretty obvious for the players after the game.”

Neither team would want that one again, although the first half was a pulsating advertisement for the 13-man game. Forget development officers and school clinics in Sydney’s west; just put that one on loop.

The Tigers looked unstoppable in the opening 40 minutes, breezing through some laughable Warriors defence, with one of the worst offenders superstar signing Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, who barely made an effort against Tim Simona on the stroke of halftime as he scored under the posts.

The 28-4 lead looked more than enough but the Tigers retreated in the second half as the Warriors finally decided to have a crack. It had the feeling of too little, too late until it became very real in the 66th minute as Solomone Kata crossed to put his team within a sniff of victory.

But the Tigers would hold on, with Tedesco finally ending the debate with the final say in an 11-try extravaganza.

“Thou shalt win a thriller”

Dan Talintyre (Headline: @tigers4eva05)
Sat 5th March, 06:47PM

A rampagnt Wests Tigers have downed the New Zealand Warriors 34-26 in Round 1 of the 2016 NRL season on Saturday at Campbelltown Sports Stadium.

Despite missing the likes of Luke Brooks, Robbie Farah and Dene Halatau, Wests Tigers flew out of the blocks to lead 28-4 at the half-time interval and never looked back — holding firm against a strong Warriors side to emerge with an eight-point win in the end.

Wests Tigers began the match in the perfect fashion with Mitchell Moses putting Curtis Sironen into a yawning gap on the right edge after just six minutes of play.

His successful conversion gave the home side a 6-0 lead, but it wasn’t long before that margin was extended, with Chris Lawrence combining beautifully with Kyle Lovett to allow the Club’s 2015 Rookie of the Year to crash over next to the posts.

Another succession conversion from Moses made it 12-0 after just 15 minutes.

The home crowd would be on their feed moments later, with Moses throwing a superb cut-out ball for David Nofoaluma to cross out wide and take the score to 16-0.

After Kevin Naiqama was controversially denied a four-pointer following a knock-on at the back, the Warriors were able to get on the scoreboard in the 23rd minute through Solomone Kata, with Tuimoala Lolohea unable to change the score from 16-4.

It didn’t take long for Wests Tigers to cross again, with James Tedesco capping off an incredible passage of play in the 28th minute that saw the ball move from one side to the other, with a chip-kick and a grubber all included in the masterful move.

Another conversion for Moses took the score out to 22-4 with 10 minutes to play.

It appeared the scoreline would remain as such as both teams approached half-time, before a moment of brilliance from Kevin Naiqama and Tim Simona saw the Samoan international race away to score his fifth try in four matches against the Warriors.

Moses’ simple conversion took the scoreline to 28-4 at the half-time break.

After starting the second half strong, Wests Tigers soon found themselves under pressure when a flurry of quick tries to the Warriors saw them claw their way back into the contest.

It started with Simon Mannering going over under the posts in the 48th minute, and continuted with Bodene Thompson crashing over out wide in the 58th minute after a strong run from Roger Tuivasa-Sheck — reducing the hosts’ lead to 28-14.

After a moment of magic from Shaun Johnson saw the halfback step his way over and take the score to 28-20, it was well and truly game on in the 68th minute as Kata grabbed his second try of the day — capping off a move started by the visitors in their own half.

With the scoreline locked at at 28-26 in the final ten minutes, both teams came up with several errors to keep the margin close, before Tedesco sealed the win when he plucked a Johnson chip-kick out of the air, racing 60m to score in front of a rousing crowd.

Moses’ conversion after the siren took the score to 34-26, which is how it read at full-time.

Wests Tigers 34 (Tedesco 2, Sironen, Lovett, Nofoaluma, Simona tries; Moses 5/6 goals) def. NZ Warriors 26 (Kata 2, Mannering, Thompson, Johnson tries; Lolohea 3/5 goals)

Interesting in the post match presser JT mentions Edwards will be playing next week.


Interesting in the post match presser JT mentions Edwards will be playing next week.

Is there a link to the post match press conference?



Interesting in the post match presser JT mentions Edwards will be playing next week.

Is there a link to the post match press conference?

@wd in perth:



Interesting in the post match presser JT mentions Edwards will be playing next week.

Is there a link to the post match press conference?

I wonder who asks the question at about the 2:35 mark of JT’s presso

Watch what Woods does 😆 at 2:40

And before someone says it isn’t what it is , every other time he uses his index finger to scratch his eye

Perhaps a shout out to Greg and Jack 😉

Taylor praises mature Moses
Sat 05 Mar, 2016, 9:25pm
By Martin Gabor‌, National Correspondent,

His side might have faded in the second-half against the Warriors on Saturday, but Jason Taylor was still pleased with his young Tigers – and especially the performance of Mitch Moses.

Moses had arguably his best game in the NRL, setting up three tries in an exceptional first half for the Tigers that saw them race out to a 28-4 lead.

It was a breakout game for the 21-year-old, who led the Tigers around the park with fellow playmakers Luke Brooks and Robbie Farah missing.

Taylor was clearly chuffed with what his young half produced, but admitted he would have liked to have seen a more complete performance from the entire team.

“His first half was very impressive. But I don’t think any of our players are really happy about what we did for the second 40,” Taylor said.

“He was classy. He was really composed. And then we lost our way in that area in the second half. I’m sure Mitch would have liked to have kept that rolling for the second 40.”

Former playmaker Taylor has enjoyed watching his young protégé’s development as a first-grader, and believes the hard work is starting to reap rewards.

“It’s been enormously enjoyable [watching him improve],” the Tigers coach said.

"Mitch has worked so hard at it. He was such a rookie this time last year. He’d only played a handful of games. We made it hard for him early on because he wasn’t getting to play the footy that he really likes.

“But he earned the right to do that and he’s doing that now. He ran the team for us today which is a really big step for him and he did it really well.”

With the Tigers written off by some leading into the new season, Taylor said the playing group had come together during the pre-season and tonight’s result showed what they were capable of.

“We’re trying to build a team here that enjoys each other’s harmony and moves up the ladder. There’s a lot of work in progress,” he said.

“There’s a lot of work being done and there’s a lot more that will be done to get this club back to where it should be, and that’s playing semi-final football. And being led by Woodsy, we want guys like Luke and Mitch to take us there.”

Wests Tigers v Warriors: Five key points
Sat 05 Mar, 2016, 9:44pm
By Martin Gabor‌, National Correspondent,

Home crowd gets Tigers home

The Tigers got their season underway with what turned out to be a gutsy 34-26 win over the Warriors, and coach Jason Taylor says the Campbelltown faithful got them over the line.

“It was a great atmosphere out there today. It was a really good crowd,” Taylor said.

“The club worked really hard to get people to come and watch us play. That was massive out there today. I thought the crowd played a big part in getting the boys home.”

The crowd of 10,917 were on their feet after a razzle-dazzle first-half from the hosts, but it was their parochial support in the dying stages when the game was on the line that mattered most to the players.

With two games each at Campbelltown and Leichhardt Oval in the opening seven rounds, Taylor hopes his side can use their passionate fans as motivation to get their season off to a flying start.

“We just want to thank them because we’ve got a Leichhardt Oval game coming up next week and we’d like to see it like that again.”

Ben Henry’s season could be over

If there’s one player who deserves a bit of luck, it’s Ben Henry. The Warriors forward missed most of 2013 and 2015 with ACL injuries, and looked to have dislocated his kneecap in what was his first game back in the NRL.

His coach Andrew McFadden was shattered after the game, telling reporters the latest injury would likely see him miss the entire 2016 season.

“It looks like it at this stage. It’s not looking good. I’m shattered for him actually. It’s very disappointing, so we’ll wait and see,” McFadden said.

Don’t get used to expansive footy

Jason Taylor clearly enjoyed seeing his side’s hard work pay off in the season-opening win, but was quick to point out that he’d rather see the Tigers win matches through their defence.

While his side conceded 22 points in a 19-minute second-half blitz, Taylor believes it was the work done in the opening and closing stages without the ball that got them over the line.

“It’s still based on defence. Everything we do is still based on defence,” Taylor said.

“And in the end what we did in defence in the last eight minutes, and what we did in the first 40 minutes, is what won us that game.”

Taylor was thrilled with the courage shown by his team when the opposition were on the march, and said he was always confident that the Tigers would hold on.

“There wasn’t at any stage where I thought we were gone but it got scary when you’re leading like we did and they got within two,” he said.

“But we showed a lot of character and I saw the group come together and grit their teeth. That’s not easy to do when an opposition gets a roll like they had.”

Interchange rules withstand the heat

The match might have been played in stifling early autumn conditions, but both teams were seemingly able to handle the heat.

Warriors skipper Ryan Hoffman said the hot and humid conditions were part of the game and didn’t use it as an excuse for his side’s eight-point loss.

“Both teams had the same eight interchanges,” Hoffman said after the game.

“Obviously losing Benry (Ben Henry) in the first-half put a bit of pressure on it, but you know you saw blokes like Simon Mannering and Ben Matulino play some really big minutes. So if we need guys to play those big minutes they’ll do it.”

Tigers forwards deliver from the front

Aaron Woods admitted his side’s defence through the middle wasn’t good enough in the trials, but a frank discussion leading into the Round 1 clash against the Warriors inspired the team to lift.

The Tigers pack easily outpointed their bigger opposition, running for over 300 metres more than the Warriors in the opening 40 minutes.

“We spoke about it the last two weeks. We were pretty disappointed with ourselves in the trial against the Sharks. We thought they rolled our middle too much so the last couple of weeks we’ve been working really hard on that,” the new skipper said.

Leading by example, Woods and fellow front-rower Tim Grant were exceptional in the opening exchanges, providing his playmakers with the time and space they needed to attack.

“We just wanted to get off the line. They’re a big pack those Warriors boys, so if we could stop the roll on we’d be able to stop those guys out the back like Shaun Johnson, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Issac Luke.”


Interesting in the post match presser JT mentions Edwards will be playing next week.

He didn’t say first grade though. Pretty sure Edwards will play state cup next week

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