Media Reports

NRL 2016: Wests Tigers young guns dominate in big win over Manly Sea Eagles

Dean Ritchie - The Daily Telegraph

AND they said Jason Taylor couldn’t coach.

Predicted he would be just about sacked by now.

Well, the Wests Tigers coach has masterminded back-to-back wins, his Wests Tigers equal first, unbeaten and flying after two NRL rounds.

The Wests Tigers ‘Fibros’ scored a remarkable 36-22 win over ‘Silvertails’ Manly last night at a thunderous Leichhardt Oval just a week after an upset with over New Zealand.

It would seem Taylor can coach after all.

Wests Tigers claimed last week Taylor had the full of support of the board. Maybe this time they were telling the truth.

It was an extraordinary game last night, Wests Tigers leading 16-2 before Manly powered back to level the scores before the home side kicked away again.

Defeat anchors Manly to the bottom of the NRL table after two straight losses. An anxious Trent Barrett is still waiting for his first win as an NRL coach.

Wests Tigers had all the momentum early, lost it, and then wrestled it back. They are certainly a team with plenty of ticker and gumption.

Manly firebrand Marty Taupau was jeered after his shock departure from Wests Tigers to Brookvale during the off-season. It appeared to rattle Taupau at times, other times he ripped holes in the Tigers. He also scored a try.

Wests Tigers looked dangerous each time they went wide, Manly again failing to number up. Time and again.

Manly’s comeback was snuffed out through Wests Tigers tries to David Nofoaluma (58th minute) and James Tedesco (70th and 77th minutes). Tedesco scored a hat-trick.

The ‘Tigers, Tigers, Tigers’ chant could be heard right across Leichhadt last night.

Tedesco was brilliant again, furthering pressing his claims for a call-up into the NSW State of Origin side. Each time Tedesco touched the ball, you felt something was going to happen. Only the finest can do that.

The first half was full of action, speed, skill and entertainment, Wests Tigers leading 16-10 at the break.

Wests Tigers scored the first try last night — and it was an absolute ripper. Tigers halfback Luke Brooks regained his own chip kick in the fifth minute before firing a pass to halves teammate Mitchell Moses, who kicked again for Nofoaluma, who sped through to catch the ball on the full and score a spectacular try.

It certainly sent the traditionally vocal Leichhardt crowd into raptures. Wests Tigers led 4-2 at that point after Manly posted an early penalty goal.

The home side looked ‘on’ — they were focused, sharp and up-tempo.

And they went further ahead after 20 minutes when Manly was caught short defensively out wide when centre Kevin Naiqama crossed untouched. It was the same defensive deficiencies that caused Manly so much trouble against Canterbury in round one. The conversion put Wests Tigers ahead 10-2.

But the Tigers were hungry and, unbelievably, crossed again just three minutes late.

Wests Tigers attacked Manly’s same left side and again the holes appeared. Naiqama cut through before sending Tedesco tearing away for his side’s third try. The crowd was beside themselves.

Moses converted to give Wests Tigers a stunning 16-2 lead. Manly did gift Wests Tigers a lot of possession through some basic errors.

Manly though weren’t about to concede just yet. It took the Sea Eagles 31 minutes to post their first try, a barge from back-rower Lewis Brown from dummy half. It wasn’t the prettiest of tries but it was important. Sea Eaglers skipper Jamie Lyon missed the conversion, his side behind by ten points.

And Manly’s comeback continued just before halftime when five-eighth Dylan Walker, on the back of second phase, cut through some weak defence to score. Lyon missed the conversion, Wests Tigers ahead by six points at halftime. Wests Tigers forward Curtin Sironen came from the field after ten minutes with a hamstring injury.

Tedesco Hattrick beats Manly
Mon 14 Mar, 2016, 8:40pm
By Jack Brady ‌, National Correspondent,

James Tedesco produced a hattrick in front of a boisterous Leichhardt Oval crowd, as the Wests Tigers secured a memorable 36-22 victory over the Sea Eagles to keep their 2016 unbeaten streak intact.

Tedesco scored two late tries dousing any thought of a Sea Eagles comeback, who are yet to record a victory under new coach Trent Barrett.

Between Tedesco and centre Kevin Naiqama, the duo combined for four tries and three try assists with the latter’s passing prowess throughout the game well-received by the Tigers faithful.

The Sea Eagles early 2-0 lead was short lived when in the fifth minute David Nofoaluma’s try sent the Leichhardt hill into raptures.

A Nate Myles error allowed Luke Brooks to regather his own kick, who quickly threw it to halves partner Mitch Moses. Throwing caution to the wind - on the zero tackle - the five-eighth’s decision to kick to an open Nofoaluma proved the best course of action.

Naiqama kept the good times rolling midway through the first half when he sliced through haphazard Sea Eagles defending to score out to the right.

Three minutes later Naiqama proved the impetus for the Tigers’ third try when he forced his way through more ordinary Sea Eagles defence before sending Tedesco away to score his first.

Manly back-rower Lewis Brown provided some relief for coach Barrett when he forced his way over from dummy half in the 32nd minute.

Dylan Walker ensured the Sea Eagles entered half-time down by only six points when he palmed off Moses and Kyle Lovett in a solo scoring effort three minutes from the break.

Jorge Taufua crashed over in the corner in the 42nd minute, and with Jamie Lyon’s clutch sideline conversion, gave the Sea Eagles equal pegging in the second half.

The Tigers remained unperturbed however and in the 50th minute Jordan Rankin scored his first try as a Tiger – the home side handed good field position thanks to an ugly tackle by Martin Taupau on his former teammate Moses minutes earlier.

Magic hands from Naiqama again helped winger Nofoaluma to his second of the game in the 59th minute, taking the Tigers to an eight-point advantage heading into the final quarter. Moses extended the lead to 10 with a 64th minute penalty goal.

Tedesco screamed through a gaping hole in the Sea Eagles’ defence to score his second try before Taupau’s 74th minute try gave Manly a glimmer of hope.

But it was quickly shut down with Tedesco securing his hattrick two minutes from full-time to seal the win.

Wests Tigers 36 (James Tedesco 3, David Nofoaluma 2, Kevin Naiqama, Jordan Rankin tries; Mitch Moses 4 goals) defeated Manly Sea Eagles 22 (Lewis Brown Dylan Walker, Jorge Taufua, Martin Taupau tries; Jamie Lyon 3 goals) at Leichhardt Oval. Crowd: 11,269. Half-time: Wests Tigers 16-10. Injuries: Curtis Sironen (Wests Tigers) – hamstring.

Wests Tigers coach Jason Taylor endorses James Tedesco for State of Origin inclusion

March 14, 2016 - 10:15PM

Adam Pengilly
Sports reporter

Jason Taylor has endorsed James Tedesco to fill the contentious NSW No.1 jersey - having talked down the Tigers fullback’s hopes last year - as Laurie Daley ponders another man staking a claim for the job in the post Jarryd Hayne era.

Tedesco bagged his first NRL hat-trick as the Tigers remained unbeaten in a rollercoaster 36-22 win over Manly on Monday night, and his coach was quick to label his jet-heeled custodian “one of the best finishers in the game”.

Asked whether Tedesco was ready for the State of Origin cauldron, Taylor said: "Yep, absolutely. We talked about that this time last year and I didn’t think he was. He played every minute of every game last year and in my opinion … that’s a really easy decision.

“There’s not many better finishers in the game.”

Josh Dugan’s uncertain move to the centres at St George-llawarra has again sparked debate over who is the best man to fill the NSW No.1 – and Tedesco is front and centre in the discussion.

With the game hanging in the balance at 16-all straight after half-time after the Tigers whittled away a 14-point lead, Tedesco sped over twice in the final half hour to ice the second straight win for the unbeaten Tigers as Trent Barrett’s rocky start to life as an NRL coach continued.

“I think [I’m ready],” Tedesco said of the Origin debate. "I just want to continue that form and if I do get that call-up I’ll take it with both hands.

“Coming into last year I had three or four seasons but only played a handful of games coming off serious surgeries. This year coming into pre-season the body was feeling good.”

Taylor was quick to deflect the credit though to his tireless forward pack, who covered for the early loss of Curtis Sironen (hamstring) admirably.

The joint venture can start an NRL season with three straight wins for the first time should they beat the Gold Coast on Saturday night.

“For me we’re following on from the way we finished the season last year,” Taylor said. “We played some really good footy at the end of the season last year.”

New-look Manly’s turbulent start to the year doesn’t show any signs of steadying with Cronulla set to make the trek to Brookvale Oval on Monday night.

Barrett was critical of his side floating in and out of the game having wrestled back the momentum to draw level before surrendering it in the last half-hour.

“We came up with – let’s be honest – pretty ordinary plays in the clutch,” he said. "There were some really good signs there, but they were spasmodic. That’s the word. In patches we looked like a good team, but in patches we looked ordinary.

“Twenty-two points should be enough to win and we need to be more resilient on our own tryline.”

Luke Brooks and Mitchell Moses star as Wests Tigers heap misery on Manly Sea Eagles

March 14, 2016 - 9:03PM

Adam Pengilly
Sports reporter

In-demand halves Luke Brooks and Mitchell Moses sent their market values up another cog and put rivals clubs on red alert, shredding a winless Manly as the Tigers preserved their unbeaten start to the season.

Jason Taylor’s Generation Next proved the future might very well be here and now as his off-contract conductors, having slowed negotiations before an expected final decision mid-year on their 2017 homes, steered a sometimes nervy Tigers to a welcome home win.

Having threatened to butcher a huge half-time buffer against the Warriors in the opening round, the Tigers surrendered an early 14-point lead before steadying to sink a slightly improved Manly 36-22 at Leichhardt Oval.

The tale of two coaches has taken differing fortunes in the opening fortnight; Taylor’s troubled tenure looking a little more secure as Trent Barrett’s introduction to the NRL coaching furnace shows no signs of cooling.

But it is perhaps the Tigers’ former premiership hero Mark O’Neill, the joint venture’s new general manager, who is the man most under pressure as he ponders how to secure Brooks and Moses on new deals.

The salary cap squeeze won’t be any easier though as Brooks, who wore James Bond’s “007” on his back against Manly while having a hand in all six Tigers tries, and Moses were at their scheming best.

The duo’s display was somewhat tempered with the early withdrawal of fellow fresh-faced twenty-something Curtis Sironen, who limped from the field with a hamstring injury after just 10 minutes.

Manly’s left-edge defence copped a particular working over with Souths recruit Dylan Walker and Steve Matai powerless to stop a rampant Tigers, who will fancy themselves to remain flawless through three rounds with a trip to the Gold Coast on Saturday night.

Despite peeling off three tries in the space of 10 minutes either side of half-time to level the scores, Barrett’s new-look Manly displayed teething for a second straight week.

The rivalry between the clubs might not quite be a throwback to the Silvertails and Fibros days, but if recent history has been any guide the modern day scoreboard has been anything but kind to the traditional battlers. Of their last six meetings the Tigers had lost five.

Someone forgot to tell this batch of Tigers cubs. At least it wasn’t part of Jason Taylor’s mid-week address.

After Jamie Lyon slotted a penalty goal to open the scoring for the visitors, it turned out to be the Brooks and Moses show as they blasted to a 16-2 lead.

Game over? This is the Jekyll and Hyde Tigers after all. And maybe Manly’s new boys sensed it.

Penrith recruit Lewis Brown wrestled four defenders over the line from an innocuous dummy-half play to reduce the margin before Souths’ premiership winner Walker tormented Moses to scamper through a feeble effort.

Wests Tigers 36 (James Tedesco 3, David Nofoaluma 2, Kevin Naiqama, Jordan Rankin tries; Mitchell Moses 4 goals) defeated Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 22 (Lewis Brown, Dylan Walker, Jorge Taufua, Martin Taupau tries; Jamie Lyon 3 goals) at Leichhardt Oval. Referees: Henry Perenara, Chris James. Crowd: 11.269.

Wests Tigers v Sea Eagles: Five key points
Jack Brady Tue 15 Mar, 2016, 6:57am
National Correspondent,

Martin Taupau tried his best to spark the Sea Eagles to their first win of the year but it was his former teammates instead who provided the platform for James Tedesco’s try-scoring treble in the Wests Tigers’ 36-22 win.

Tedesco’s hat-trick down to forwards platform

Tigers coach Jason Taylor said Tedesco’s starring role against Manly on Monday night wouldn’t have been possible if not for the platform provided by the club’s forwards.

The task for the home side became difficult when back-rower Curtis Sironen went down with a hamstring complaint within the first 10 minutes, yet Taylor was buoyed by the club’s newfound fighting spirit.

“We had guys do some real courageous stuff,” Taylor said after the win.

"Woodsy played the first half straight. Ava Seumanufagai almost played the entire second half and we needed him to. If he came off earlier we would’ve used our last interchange way too early.

“There was a lot of fight there. I know you guys will talk about the finishing we came up with but it was the fight in our own half which was the key for me. It set a great platform for us and it was really encouraging.”

No love lost in Taupau’s Tigers return

Taupau had a running battle with Wests five-eighth Mitch Moses all night, and while the Tigers prevailed with the competition points the back-rower was easily Manly’s best.

Shifted to the left edge after an ordinary showing at lock in Round 1, Taupau made 159 metres including three line breaks and a try in his return to Leichhardt Oval.

A late shot on Moses, while the five-eighth was in the process of kicking, was the only lowlight for Taupau – with the Tigers going on to break the then 16-all scoreline in the next set.

“I thought Marty Taupau was really good on that left edge and I thought [that penalty] was rough on him,” Sea Eagles coach Trent Barrett said.

“Marty wasn’t even looking, he was backing into him. Things like that don’t help but in saying that we have to be resilient enough to turn them away. We can’t cave in because something goes against us.”

Brooks slots back in seamlessly

Sure he missed the Tigers’ Round 1 grind against the Warriors but Luke Brooks had no worries slotting back into the side to help Wests continue their undefeated start to the year.

Brooks came up with a try assist and cleverly guided the team around the paddock, and more importantly the Tigers’ left edge duo of Tim Simona and Jordan Rankin were pleased with the halfback’s return.

“The hardest part about it all was getting through Round 1. I was excited about him coming back into the team because I know how well he’s trained and how well he played in the trials,” Taylor said.

"So getting past the hard part with two points and have him come back into the team was a real positive.

“The guys on the left side got a bit more ball too. They were frustrated last week because we had, with all due respect to him, Chris Lawrence playing five-eighth for a lot of the game.”

Search continues for new-look Sea Eagles’ maiden win

You can’t blame the Sea Eagles for their ordinary start to the year considering their high turnover of players in the off-season.

“There were times there where we had opportunities to win the game and came up with pretty ordinary plays in the clutch. That’s an area we need to improve,” Barrett said while assessing Manly’s 14-point loss.

In retrospect the club was perhaps unfairly given lofty expectations at the start of the campaign, but then again it’s only Round 2. Barrett’s men will have plenty to say in 2016 yet.

Williame’s baker’s dozen

Our hearts bleed for Sea Eagles winger Brayden Williame here at

The poor bloke has now played 13 NRL games since his 2013 debut and he’s yet to win a single one.

With Brett Stewart’s return date from his ongoing hamstring issues yet to be determined, let’s hope the Sea Eagles can sneak a win in before the veteran fullback’s return – for the sake of their luckless 23-year-old Wiliame if nothing else.

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