Wests Tigers v Bulldogs: Five key points
Sun 23 Apr, 2017, 8:00pm
By Alicia Newton, National Correspondent, NRL.com
Wests Tigers put tough week behind them
Distractions are something that can either hinder a side’s performance or bring them closer together. With news during the week that the club pulled contraction extension offers to skipper Aaron Woods and James Tedesco off the table, many expected the Wests Tigers to struggle mentally.
The “big four” label, which Woods, Tedesco, Mitchell Moses and Luke Brooks all dislike, was squashed by Tigers coach Ivan Cleary in the post-game press conference.
“It’s a big 17, mate,” Cleary responded when asked about the team.
"Today showed we’re focussed [on-field] and we’re competitive at the moment.
“If we can continue to improve and evolve then we will end up where we deserve at the end of the year.”
Eastwood’s late blunder
Bulldogs back-rower Greg Eastwood would likely do things differently if he had his time over again after the Bulldogs were on the attack with the score 12-12 late in the game.
With less than 10 minutes remaining and both sides going for the one point, the Kiwi international kicked the ball early in the tackles count and immediately raised his hand to signal an apology.
Bulldogs coach Des Hasler was not happy in the press conference and hinted at the Eastwood moment.
“I just thought we gave up field position too easily and too early in the tackle count,” he said.
“Like late there in the game on tackle three with seven minutes left.”
Captain Woods stands up
Despite copping a barrage of boos before and after the game from his own fans, Wests Tigers skipper Aaron Woods was instrumental for the joint venture with 217 metres from 18 carries in a 64-minute effort.
The player who has reportedly signed with the Bulldogs was named man of the match and recipient of the ANZAC Medal.
“For what he’s done for the club, his performance speaks volumes and has from day one,” fellow Tigers forward Chris Lawrence said after the match.
“That’s Woodsy and that is what you’re going to get each and every week.”
Brenko Lee sin-bin costly
It was a dog fight of a game (pardon the pun) that could have gone either way in the second half until the Brenko Lee’s professional foul on Chris Lawrence swung momentum the Wests Tigers’ way.
Both coaches had differing opinions on the incident that cost Lee a 10-minute spell on the sidelines, with Bulldogs coach Des Hasler believing the play was nothing more than a penalty.
“I thought the 10-minute sin-bin was harsh… very harsh,” Hasler said in the press conference.
“The penalty was probably warranted but not a sin-bin.”
There is life after Moses
A returning Luke Brooks showed Wests Tigers fans there is plenty of hope if and when Mitchell Moses departs for Parramatta next season.
Brooks’ timely return was a promising one with the halfback showing no signs of a hamstring injury that has ruled him out for the last three weeks.
“It was a late [call to play him]. He gives us a lot more options and a kicking game [on the edge],” Cleary said of Brooks.
"In his first game back there was a little bit of rust on occasions but I thought he was very willing.
"It was good for him he come up with that play to get us the win."