WESTS TIGERS BEAT CANBERRA 25-4
By Wayne Cousins
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Wests Tigers moved within one win of the top eight with a commanding 25-4 victory over Canberra Raiders at Canberra Stadium today in round 20 of the Telstra Premiership.
The win takes Wests Tigers to 20 competition points, two behind eighth placed North Queensland Cowboys.
The victory was also the first time Wests Tigers had won three consecutive matches since 2007. It now sets up a huge clash against premiers Manly at the Sydney Football Stadium on Monday, August 3, in which Wests Tigers will be hoping to have prop Keith Galloway back from a knee injury.
Captain Robbie Farah was magnificent in the win and led the way with 49 tackles while the Wests Tigers forward pack were relentless which set the platform up for the likes of halves Tim Moltzen and Benji Marshall to weave their magic.
The 21 point margin was the biggest ever victory by the Wests Tigers over Canberra and ended the Raiders’ season.
Wests Tigers were solid in the opening five minutes of the match with some unpredictable play by five-eighth Benji Marshall.
Second-rower Danny Galea has been impressive early, making some strong tackles and swooping on loose passes.
Wests Tigers opened the scoring in the 11th minute when half-back Tim Moltzen stepped back inside Canberra second-rower Glenn Turner to score under the posts for a 4-0 lead. Marshall converted the try for a 6-0 lead.
Canberra hit back in the 15th minute through a possible try to full-back Josh Duggan who stepped past Marshall and accelerated through a gap to score near the posts.
Referee Tony Archer called on video referee Phil Cooley who ruled no try due to an obstruction by Canberra second-rower and former Tiger Bronson Harrison on opposite second-rower Gareth Ellis.
Wests Tigers produced some outstanding defence on their own tryline after repeat sets to Canberra in the 20th minute.
A good run from a return kick by winger Beau Ryan saw the ball pop loose in the 22nd minute to give Canberra a scrim win 35 metres out from the Wests Tigers tryline.
Some more outstanding tryline defence by Wests Tigers resulted in Moltzen grabbing his second try. Canberra decided to run the ball on the last tackle and a desperate offload by full-back Josh Duggan saw Moltzen intercept the pass to race 88 metres to score under the posts. It was the second time this season that Moltzen has scored two tries in a game.
Marshall converted the try for a 12-0 lead after 26 minutes.
A drop ball by prop Bryce Gibbs after the re-start gave Canberra a scrum win 35 metres out from the Wests Tigers tryline. Canberra received a penalty for Wests Tigers being offside in their 10 metres. Gibbs knocked the ball out of a player’s hands at dummy half to give Canberra a scrum win 10 metres out. Duggan then lost the ball in a one on one tackle by centre Blake Ayshford.
Archer called on the video referee to determine whether interchange player John Morris was onside after a break down the right flank by speedy full-back Shannon Gallant who kicked the ball back inside for Morris to swoop on the bouncing ball to score. Gallant’s break came from an offload by prop Todd Payten.
Marshall converted the try in the 33rd minute for an 18-0 lead.
A smart play by hooker and captain Robbie Farah saw him calmly land a 30 metre field goal to give Wests Tigers a 19-0 lead at half-time. It also stretched the lead out to more than three converted tries. It was the third time in three consecutive weeks that Canberra had remained scoreless in the first half.
Canberra five-eighth Terrry Campese went for a 40/20 kick in the first minute of the second half but Gallant took the ball safely as rain starts to fall at Canberra Stadium.
A great grubber kick behind the line by Farah saw centre Joel Monaghan get trapped in-goal in the 46th minute for a repeat set of six for Wests Tigers.
The pressure told on Canberra when Marshall offloaded to centre Chris Lawrence to catch and pass to winger Taniela Tuiaki to race 15 metres to score in the corner for a 23-0 lead. It was Tuiaki’s 16th try of the season and his 37th career try.
Marshall converted the try for a 25-0 lead after 48 minutes.
Canberra looked set to score in the 55th minute but half-back Marc Herbert lost the ball five metres out from the tryline with the ball falling into the arms of Ayshford.
The Raiders got a repeat set after Ryan was caught in-goal on the last tackle from a Herbert grubber kick. The pressure was relieved when Gibbs made a driving tackle on Monaghan to force the ball loose.
The video referee was called on after a crossfield kick by Campese was touched by Monaghan in contesting the ball against Tuiaki for winger Daniel Vidot to score out wide in the 61st minute.
Prop John Skandalis was placed on report for using a left arm high on Campese after he kicked the ball.
Campese failed to convert the try for a 25-4 scoreline after 62 minutes.
A grubber kick by Campese on the last tackle saw Marshall trapped in-goal to give Canberra a repeat set in the 66th minute. The pressure was relieved when Moltzen fielded a grubber kick and raced 50 metres downfield as he was looking to link up with Gallant but couldn’t.
A Marshall kick on the last saw Vidot tackled in-goal by Tuiaki and Lawrence to give Wests Tigers a repeat set. Canberra received the ball back when a grubber kick by Marshall was too heavy and went dead.
A terrible call against Gallant after he defused a bomb and was tackled by Duggan which saw him loose posession gave Canberra a scrum win 10 metres out in the 75th minute. The Raiders lost posession when Payten took an intercept pass before getting a relieving penalty.
Wests Tigers defence remained solid in the final minutes to record a comprehensive victory.
Coach Tim Sheens said the team spoke about not letting Canberra dominate on their home turf.
"We talked about how playing down here is their domain and they like to think sides don’t like to play in these wet conditions. We have played a few games in the wet this season and we turned up,’’ Sheens said.
“We talked about trying not to let them score and to work hard in defence.”
Sheens said hindsight was a wonderful thing when asked how good Gallant at full-back and Moltzen at half-back were.
"Both boys have done well and added an extra dimension,’’ Sheens said.
Second-rower Gareth Ellis said it was a great performance in the wet conditions.
"The weather made us play up the middle and we made some errors. Our first half defence kept us in the game despite our errors,’’ Ellis said.
"We are still in the mix for the finals and the task ahead is difficult but we are still in there.’’