Wests Tigers v Bulldogs Preview

Wests Tigers v Bulldogs Preview
NRL.com Wed, 14 Apr 2010 13:50

Wests Tigers v Bulldogs
SFS
Friday 7.35pm

The Wests Tigers head into this clash with the Bulldogs with confidence, having won four of their five 2010 encounters; their only slip against the Roosters in sweltering conditions. Though they suffered a huge blow losing halfback Tim Moltzen for the season last week, there’s plenty of attacking forces elsewhere in the side meaning covering for him shouldn’t pose too much of a problem.

That said, it’s a big step up for his replacement Blake Lazarus, who has been recruited from NSW Cup side Balmain Ryde; he can expect to be tested by the likes of Ben Hannant and David Stagg all night. (The irony is that 21-year-old Lazarus has played just four Toyota Cup games over the past two years having had a series of serious knee injuries that required reconstruction.)

The Bulldogs shouldn’t be completely discounted, despite the fact they’ve only recorded one win so far. Last week they were in the match against the Warriors to the last second, just a Luke Patten lapse on full-time handing the New Zealand side victory with a late try. It was a better showing from Canterbury, who have been their own worst enemy in previous weeks, with errors and missed tackles costing them dearly.

But what will happen this week?

The Bulldogs have lost their past three encounters at the SFS, the last one being against this very side, who had the audacity to inflict a 34-12 upset and send the JJ Giltinan Shield racing across to Kogarah Oval to see St George Illawarra awarded the 2010 minor premiership. Retribution would be in the back of the Doggies’ heads, as well as saving face for a dismal start to the season.

Last week’s was a brutal contest between the Wests Tigers and the Cowboys, with Moltzen not the only player to limp from the field. Many expected them to comfortably dispose of North Queensland and at half-time it looked like that might happen, but a second-half fight-back kept the visitors on their toes and forced Robbie Farah to put the game away with his second field goal of the season (and the Tigers’ third). Farah and Benji Marshall have been leading the Tigers’ troops around the park with aplomb and pose the biggest threat to Canterbury, who were often left grasping at – or should that be gasping for? – air against a Warriors side that lead the league in offloads (93).

While the Tigers don’t pose as much of a threat in second-phase play (55 offloads), they do lead the competition in tries scored (26). And though stopping the Tigers’ attack poses one problem, their defence is another. They’ve missed the least amount of tackles in the Telstra Premiership (123), while the Bulldogs sit third for the most missed (189). It’s been the thorn in their paw for the opening rounds.

Kevin Moore has said he expects a better performance from his big men this week, who are yet to completely fill the voids of injured players Michael Hodgson, Mickey Paea and Dene Halatau, and the departed Greg Eastwood.

Watch out Bulldogs: Benji Marshall was once a player who “shouldered” the heavy burden of the ‘injury-prone’ tag. That’s all in the past now, as he stands as one of the most creative and threatening players in the game today.

At the end of last year he tore the Bulldogs apart with instinctive play, both passing and kicking. He has faith in his outside players and the combination he’s developing with Lote Tuqiri is formidable – the winger often following his five-eighth in support play to cross for tries.

In the five matches so far, Marshall has scored five tries, made seven try assists, six offloads and three line-breaks. Keeping his influence on the game to a minimum is crucial to the Dogs’ chances of defeating the Tigers. Of the 26 tries Wests Tigers have scored this season, eight have come from 50 or more metres out; Marshall is a threat at any point of the game, at any position on the field and is always on the lookout for a chance to break through the defence.

Watch out Tigers: Losing isn’t something the Bulldogs like to wear and they’ll be fired up this week. Last week their attack showed signs of revival and they have begun to mix up their play when it comes to scoring options.

Most teams have figured out the strength of the left side of Bryson Goodwin and Josh Morris and the pair are heavily defended when the ball comes their way, but on the other side, Jamal Idris and Steve Turner are starting to work well together. Nine of their 24 tries have come on the right, and with Turner now five games into his tenure at the club, he’s starting to inject himself into the play.

He has the most territory out of dummy-half in the team (229 metres) and also has four tries and four line-breaks. The Tigers need to be wary of his probing around the ruck.

Where it will be won: It’s not a new concept that games are won in the forwards. But it’s certainly been the case for 2010.

Forward momentum is proving paramount to gaining the edge and this game will be no different. The Bulldogs have come undone when teams have picked up speed to start rolling off quick play-the-balls and forward running. The names Bryce Gibbs, Robbie Farah, Liam Fulton and Gareth Ellis have all been mentioned when talking about strong performers, and if they get another roll-on here it will give Marshall the room he needs to work his magic.

The Bulldogs have looked threatening themselves when they’ve been able to build up the same go-forward; a repeat will get them into this match.

The history: The ledger stands at 10-8 to the ’Dogs and the previous eight games have been evenly split. They’ve pretty much gone tit-for-tat since 2005.

Conclusion: It’s a tough game for the Bulldogs to face when they so desperately need a win, but often these types of games are what’s needed to revive teams.

The Tigers have shown patience this season and continue attacking to the last second. With Benji Marshall playing, there’s bound to be lots of tries. It won’t be a thumping, but the Tigers are likely to hold on to this one.

Match officials: Referees: Jared Maxwell & Bernard Sutton; Sideline Officials: Paul Holland & Russell Turner; Video Ref: Paul Simpkins.

Televised: Channel Nine – Live 7.35pm (NSW), delayed 9.30pm (Qld); Fox Sports 2 – Delayed 11pm.

  • Stats: NRL Stats.

A good weekend will be had by all because our Friday night will be amazing!
Tigers By 14+

:sign:
triserratops

good preview.
don’t go into this game thinking its only going to require wests-tigers going through the motions to come away with a win.
it will be hard fought encounter, with neither side going to give in.
patience and good defence & discipline will win this match

Preview: Wests Tigers v Bulldogs
John Greco
VENUE & TIME: SFS - Friday, April 16, 7.45pm (AEST)
COVERAGE: Channel 9
HEAD TO HEAD Played 18 - Tigers 8, Bulldogs 10
LAST TIME: Tigers 34-12 Bulldogs, Round 26, 2009
Luxbet: Tigers $1.62, Bulldogs $2.30

WALKING WOUNDED: The Tigers have been dealt a massive blow with the versatile Tim Moltzen out for the rest of the season with a knee injury. The 21-year-old has played eight games at halfback for the club in which the Tigers have never lost. Blake Lazarus will take over from Moltzen and make his NRL debut. The Tigers are also without Todd Payten due to a calf injury. The Bulldogs have no further injuries with Jarrad Hickey back after missing a game with a bruised lung. Injured forwards Mickey Paea, Michael Hodgson and Dene Halatau aren’t far off a return.

FORM: These are two sides at opposite ends of the form spectrum. The Tigers are enjoying their best start to a season in some time and could make it four wins in a row if they can topple the Bulldogs. It’s been around this stage in the last couple of seasons when the Tigers season has began to unravel but victory on the road against the Cowboys last week suggests they are made of sterner stuff in 2010. The Bulldogs on the other hand are in disarray. They say you can judge how a team is travelling by their attitude in defence and in the last couple of weeks the Bulldogs trademark steel just hasn’t been there. The players are all confident the club is not far off turning things around but another loss here would give them a 1-5 record and time will be running out fast.

WHO’S HOT: Much of the focus has been on Lote Tuqiri’s brilliant comeback to the NRL and with five tries in as many games it’s easy to see why. But Tigers skipper Robbie Farah has also been outstanding in the opening five weeks, sparking his team’s recent brilliant come-from-behind win over the Raiders and guiding them around the park with class. His battle with the Bulldogs No.9 Michael Ennis this week will be intriguing and could go a long way to deciding who will be the NSW hooker in State of Origin. The only thing hot coming out of Canterbury is the heat coming out of coach Kevin Moore’s mouth following another mistake-riddled performance against the Warriors last week. Homesick prop Ben Hannant might want out of the club to return to Queensland but he has been a tireless performer all season and if more Blue and Whites followed his lead then they won’t found themselves at the bottom of the table much longer.

WE THINK: With the talent in the Bulldogs squad, it’s hard to imagine they aren’t going to click into gear soon. They showed glimpses of their former selves last weekend but will need to sustain those good patches against the red-hot Tigers. Moltzen has been a revelation in the No.7 jersey and his loss will be a huge blow for Tim Sheens’ side. No team has managed to win back-to-back matches in this fixture in the last six games and that trend is likely to continue. Bulldogs by 6

Willow …… you’re a wasted talent on here. You should be writing in Big League or RLW 😉

@Knuckles:

Willow …… you’re a wasted talent on here. You should be writing in Big League or RLW 😉

I don’t want to pay to see Willow’s analysis!

“Many expected them to comfortably dispose of North Queensland”

Who did? QLD were favourites, I hate this retrespective type of reporting it takes away so much of our performance.

@Knuckles:

Willow …… you’re a wasted talent on here. You should be writing in Big League or RLW 😉

😆 He doesn’t write these one’s mate….cant you tell they’re amaturish…

@Geo.:

@Knuckles:

Willow …… you’re a wasted talent on here. You should be writing in Big League or RLW 😉

😆 He doesn’t write these one’s mate….cant you tell they’re amaturish…

So true. See here:

http://www.thekennel.com.au/forum/showthread.php?t=77498" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Unless Willow moonlights as a doggies fan, this isn’t his work :slight_smile:

@Team Tiger:

@Geo.:

@Knuckles:

Willow …… you’re a wasted talent on here. You should be writing in Big League or RLW 😉

😆 He doesn’t write these one’s mate….cant you tell they’re amaturish…

So true. See here:

http://www.thekennel.com.au/forum/showthread.php?t=77498" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Unless Willow moonlights as a doggies fan, this isn’t his work :slight_smile:

Its a hard school on this forum !!!

Do you think he is like that artist who won the Art Gallery $75,000 first prize for a painting that he copied ?!?!?!

Given the authors name, John Greco, is listed in Willow’s original post I think its pretty clear that Willow isnt purporting to the write these articles.

I should note that the use of these articles may be a copyright issue - I dont think it would satify fair use - irrespective of the attribution.

That being said, I doubt any of the copyright owners could care less and Willow’s collation of this material makes it easy for me.

Keep up the good work Willow - both the collation and original material you write.

Our short kicking game is vital this week.

Turner has a habbit of defending on a hard infield run. Kick behind him early to put him in too minds. Also consider kicking just inside of where we are as well. Patten tends to try and shadow Turner on attacking raids where he can so they are open to a hard runner through the middle chasing a grubber

@southerntiger:

Given the authors name, John Greco, is listed in Willow’s original post I think its pretty clear that Willow isnt purporting to the write these articles.

I should note that the use of these articles may be a copyright issue - I dont think it would satify fair use - irrespective of the attribution.

That being said, I doubt any of the copyright owners could care less and Willow’s collation of this material makes it easy for me.

Keep up the good work Willow - both the collation and original material you write.

Thanks southern…Correct, these match reviews don’t come from me and I would never try to claim credit for them, pretty sure I always state the source for copyright purposes.

Stating the source (as far as I know and I am not an IP lawyer by any means) does not really get around the copyright issues. But as I said, it is doubtful the copyright owners would care. You have been doing it for a few years so I dont see it as an issue.

Interesting watching Sheens talk about this week’s match on WTV. Very wary of the Bulldogs, knows they’ve been given a rocket during the week and knows they will turn up ready to play. He’s also confident the Tigers will turn up, they know the Bulldogs are a better side than where they sit on the ladder and they have only scored a couple of tries less than the Tigers.

He also got a bit annoyed at the journos trying to hype up the Farah V Ennis battle. On Lazarus, he’s not expecting the world from him, just wants him to be a link man mainly. Says he has good speed and will worry the Bulldogs if he sees an opportunity.

Says Folkes has got the team fitter than they have been and his no nonsense attitude has helped the overall discipline of the team.

Anyway, head to the official Tigers website to have a listen.

http://www.weststigers.com.au/default.aspx?s=article-display&id=24609" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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