Tigers beaten in the basics: Cleary
Sat 13 May, 2017, 7:30am
By Chris Kennedy, National Correspondent, NRL.com
Wests Tigers coach Ivan Cleary says his team was simply beaten in the rugby league basics by a South Sydney side that played too strongly in a 28-8 win on Friday night.
The Tigers missed 57 tackles to the Rabbitohs’ 14, were outrun by 1,678 metres to 1,241 metres, on the wrong end of a 6-1 line break tally and 13-6 offload count and held just 44 per cent of the ball.
“The first half we were beaten in the fundamentals of the game really. Physically,” Cleary said.
"When we had opportunities we weren’t able to build any pressure. Really shot ourselves in the foot, effectively. It’s just where we are. There’s a lot of work to do.
“Credit to Souths, they played strongly and put us under pressure and we couldn’t return the favour. Certainly not for long enough.”
Those fundamentals also included kicking a restart out on the full and giving up an error and a penalty in the set after kicking a penalty goal while they had a man in the sin bin. That was itself another fundamental error, with Ava Seumanufagai throwing a silly punch at former teammate Robbie Farah.
“We shot ourselves in the foot with the ball. Too many errors, too many penalties,” skipper Chris Lawrence said.
“The possession stacked up for them. We got beaten physically in the middle, particularly in that first half. We got beaten in the middle of the field.”
The only bright period for Wests Tigers came immediately after the half-time break when they started strongly and seemingly caught Souths off-guard, with the pressure eventually telling in a try to Elijah Taylor.
“We started the second half really well. Unfortunately [they] got a tackle-two penalty when we were right on their try line and had them under all sorts of pressure and they scored on the last tackle of that set, then the next set after we gave a penalty away for kicking out on the full so all that good work was undone.”
If there were any positives to take out of a dire loss, it was that the team stuck to their task after falling behind 28-8 with half-an-hour to play and managed to not concede further points; the other was a gusty effort from lock Elijah Taylor, who racked up 62 tackles in the middle of the field.
“In the second half after they’d gone up 28-8 I thought we battled manfully,” Cleary said.
“We certainly have plenty to work on but it was a night that could have headed south pretty quickly, but I thought they hung in there which was a good sign.”
Of Taylor, he added: “Elijah’s been doing that sort of thing for years. He turns up every week and trains as hard as he can. He plays 80 minutes, he never shirks his duties. He’s probably a good one to model yourself on in terms of being a professional player. I thought he was outstanding tonight.”