Phil Gould's analysis of the game.

Tigers show defensive strength to match their attacking flair
PHIL GOULD
April 11, 2010

THE ANALYST

This was a very good night for the Wests Tigers. It wasn’t a pretty win; but it’s hard to be entertaining when you don’t have the football.

Renowned for their brilliant attacking flair and ability to outscore even the best of opponents, the Tigers were forced to win this one with their defence.

In the steamy, tropical conditions, they tackled their hearts out and should gain a lot of confidence from a victory of this nature.

The Cowboys dominated possession in the early stages of the match, forcing the Tigers into three consecutive line drop-outs. At one stage of the first half they were also favoured by a 5-1 penalty count.

Despite a mountain of quality time at the attacking end of the field, the Cowboys never looked like scoring a try.

Their failure to breach the Tigers’ defensive line in the first 40 minutes caused them no end of frustration. They looked irritated and confused. This soon led to a drop in confidence levels.

I couldn’t believe it when after only 25 minutes, and trailing 10-0 on the scoreboard, the Cowboys elected to kick a penalty goal from close range rather than applying more attacking pressure to get themselves a badly needed try. The Tigers must have been giggling.

Shortly afterwards the home side lost their chief playmaker Johnathan Thurston to injury. The Cowboys’ mentality for the rest of the first half showed aggravation and annoyance. They tried hard, but their football was frantic and their discipline deteriorated.

Their second half was slightly better, but then again they were gifted a glut of possession courtesy of a string of penalties.

Hooker Aaron Payne moved into the halfback role and did a reasonable job steering the side around the park. They looked far more composed during this period and managed a couple of tries to get themselves back within six points on the scoreboard.

Again, we saw how important Thurston and injured fullback Matty Bowen are to the fortunes of this team. Without them the Cowboys rank as wooden spoon contenders.

I didn’t like their attack at all last night. Their scattergun approach will not stand up under pressure. If anything they run themselves ragged rather than put real pressure on their opponents.

It was controlled performance by the Tigers. They were forced to do a mountain of tackling but handled the extra workload with ease.

Their attacking opportunities were limited. At one stage of the match they were on the wrong end of a 10-4 penalty count and had made more than 70 more tackles than their opponents. Fatigue from all the extra defending meant they were somewhat conservative when they did have the ball in hand.

They too lost their halfback to injury early in the contest when Tim Moltzen suffered a serious knee injury, but playmakers Benji Marshall and Robbie Farah ensured it was business as usual.

When they did get a chance to attack they were deadly. Marshall had a big hand in three of his team’s four tries. Farah annoyed the Cowboys with his neat passing and quick surges out of dummy half.

Their left-field attack with centre Chris Lawrence (two tries) and Lote Tuqiri (one try) is as dangerous as any team in the NRL.

There are a lot of points in these boys. If they had the amount of ball the Cowboys enjoyed I dare say they would’ve won by a big space.

He is pretty spot on with his analysis.

I love how Gus Gould loves the Tigers!..he is such a respected Analyst of the game, players take notice of what he says…If I were a player off contract, I’d be demanding my agent meet with the Tigers to try and get a start with them…but for some reason it doesn’t happen…?..We are such an attractive proposal to any player…we have a squeaky clean image; we are many fans second choice team; we play at home grounds with great history and atmosphere; we are not going broke; we have one of the best coaches in the game…why wouldn’t players demand to join the Tigers???

@alexaki:

I love how Gus Gould loves the Tigers!..he is such a respected Analyst of the game, players take notice of what he says…If I were a player off contract, I’d be demanding my agent meet with the Tigers to try and get a start with them…but for some reason it doesn’t happen…?..We are such an attractive proposal to any player…we have a squeaky clean image; we are many fans second choice team; we play at home grounds with great history and atmosphere; we are not going broke; we have one of the best coaches in the game…why wouldn’t players demand to join the Tigers???

Because no matter how good you play,if the coach don’t like you he won’t pick you in 1st grade. 😢

Scary to think being on the wrong side of a 10 - 4 penalty count when L.O.D gave away 4 penalties in one trip up the field before his binning. Shows how lop sided the officiating was at stages

The referees frustrated me more than Andy Raymonds commentary.

Gus is, of course, an astute judge of the game. But he cares about it a lot. It seems to me only in the past couple of seasons has he been a Tigers’ ‘supporter’. However, I think he realises the brand of footy we play is absolutely necessary for the game’s continued success. I’m finding more and more teams unwatchable - seeing teams trade throwing the ball around for grinding their opposition away week in, week out is far from what I would label entertainment.

The Tigers, even in recent ‘grinding’ wins, have been enjoyable because there’s been an element of unpredictability, usually thanks to Benji. Which I think is also the reason for Gus’s growing support of the man.

Spot on G…

I hate the fact that Cam Smith watches the clock for his drop-outs to maximise the 40 secs…regardless of whether that was a penalty on the weekend or not…thats not in spirit of the game…the fact that teams like the Storm play right to the limit of the rules makes them successful but also very boring…

like or loathe him, Phil Gould says it how he see’s it.
there will come a day when he and the NRL settle their " issues" and he may return to coaching.
I bet he would like to coach a team with benji and robbie in it

@G. Strombolli:

Gus is, of course, an astute judge of the game. But he cares about it a lot. It seems to me only in the past couple of seasons has he been a Tigers’ ‘supporter’. However, I think he realises the brand of footy we play is absolutely necessary for the game’s continued success. I’m finding more and more teams unwatchable - seeing teams trade throwing the ball around for grinding their opposition away week in, week out is far from what I would label entertainment.

The Tigers, even in recent ‘grinding’ wins, have been enjoyable because there’s been an element of unpredictability, usually thanks to Benji. Which I think is also the reason for Gus’s growing support of the man.

Agree with all of this 100% win or loose Tigers supporter or not it seems like everyone likes watching Tigers games (except the team were playing fans) and i for one am bored of watching most other NRL teams, the game is becoming more and more dull due to teams playing percentage football, give me the Tigers Raiders Titans Warriors Cowboys Penrith games anyday. I’d rather see attacking football with some mistakes than boring safe football without mistakes.

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