Benji Marshall brilliance sinks Knights
Barry Toohey From: The Daily Telegraph May 21st
ENGLISHMAN Gareth Ellis refused to sugar-coat his side’s most important win of the season last night, declaring that the Wests Tigers are a long way from being back as a premiership force.
The big back-rower was among the Tigers’ best as they ended a four-game losing streak with a dominant second half against the Knights in driving rain in Newcastle.
After a barrage of criticism following their limp performance against Souths less then a week ago, the win was like gold to the club.
But Ellis played down its importance if the Tigers fail to back it up next weekend.
"One win doesn’t put right what’s happened over the past four weeks," he said.
"We are still a long way off.
“What it does is go a long way towards lifting the spirits of the team and getting that confidence back. We’ve copped flak about how we’ve been performing and rightly so, and it’s just good to get back to our winning ways. What we have to do now is build on it.”
There is little doubt last night’s win was vital. Rumblings about internal strife at the club would have turned to roars if the Tigers had fallen to a fifth straight defeat.
The pressure on the team was so intense, coach Tim Sheens brought them to Newcastle early and put them into camp for three days during the build-up.
It proved a masterstroke.
Ellis said the camp had brought the team closer together.
“When times are tough, it’s easy to go off in your little factions and blame other people,” he said.
"But being together and spending time with each other, it made us jell and really want to put things right for what we’ve done over the past few weeks.
“Looking at it now after we’ve won, it was the right thing to do.”
Tigers captain Robbie Farah said the criticism directed at his team had made it easy to focus on the game.
“It was easy to get get up for tonight’s game after the embarrassment of last week,” he said.
“Our pride was pretty hurt. I knew we were going to show up with a great attitude.”
Nothing separated the two teams at halftime.
It didn’t look good for the Tigers early after Knights five-eighth Ben Rogers waltzed past three defenders to score a simple try under the posts after nine minutes.
Ellis responded with only his second NRL try when he ran a great line off an inside ball from Robert Lui to cross not long after to tie things up.
The Knights had the wind in the second half but it was the Tigers who dominated off the back of 63 per cent of possession.
Centre Chris Lawrence broke the deadlock five minutes into the second half when he pushed off Knights half Scott Dureau to cross for a soft try after a scrum win.
That’s when Benji Marshall left his influence on the game. While you couldn’t knock his involvement, Marshall took a lot of wrong options and came up with some dumb plays.
But it was his field goal which kicked the Tigers 13-6 clear before he scored under the posts to really seal the result.
Knights coach Rick Stone bemoaned the fact the 50-50 penalty calls mostly went against his side but conceded the Tigers were the better team on the night.
Captain Steve Simpson summed up the feeling of most in the Knights camp when he said: “The frustrating part for us was we just weren’t about to build any pressure in the second half.”
WESTS TIGERS 23 (G Daniela G Ellis C Lawrence B Marshall tries B Marshall 3 goals B Marshall field goal)
bt NEWCASTLE (B Rogers try W Naiqama goal) at EnergyAustralia Stadium. Referee: Jason Robinson, Alan Shortall.
Tigers finally show some teeth
Margie McDonald From: The Australian May 22, 2010 12:00AM
DRIVING rain, a depleted Newcastle side and Benji Marshall helped Wests Tigers stop the rot and end a four-match losing streak.
After an embarrassing 50-10 clobbering at the hands of Souths at the SCG last Sunday, Marshall helped the Tigers claw back some respect at EnergyAustralia Stadium last night.
Marshall scored a try, kicked three penalty goals and added a field goal - all the more valuable considering the atrocious conditions.
Centre Geoff Daniela rounded things off with a late try and the Tigers, looking like the Barbarians rugby team in black-and-white hooped jerseys were back in the winner’s circle after a tough month.
“It was important we stuck together after you guys hammered us in the papers back home,” Tigers hooker Robbie Farah said.
"Sometimes you can get into the trap of pointing fingers and blaming people. But I said after the (Souths) game we’d stick together and we did.
“We played together for each other and worked for each other for the full 80 minutes.”
It was the fourth time since 2005 the Tigers have reigned supreme on the Knights’ home turf. And the fourth home loss from five matches this season for Newcastle.
Tigers coach Tim Sheens revealed he took his squad up a day earlier for a mini-camp in the Hunter away from the spotlight in Sydney. "Plenty of people tried to derail us. Significant losses seem to impact your confidence big-time," Sheens said.
"And we copped plenty. I’m not going to say we didn’t deserve what we copped, but we needed to stay tight as a group and they came through.
“We’ve got five or six starting players out. They talk about poor Newcastle and poor other clubs but we’ve struggled a bit, too. Three of last year’s 20 were in that squad tonight. The boys really hung together and worked really hard this week to get that to happen.”
Newcastle was without captain Kurt Gidley on NSW Origin duty, while hooker Isaac de Gois (ribs) and five-eighth Jarrod Mullen (ankle) were out injured.
The wet and miserable conditions made the football heavy going in the first 40 minutes, and it was no surprise to see just one try apiece to Ben Rogers from the Knights and Gareth Ellis from the Tigers for a 6-6 scoreline at the break.
Then the lightning came at the start of the second half, and the rain became harder.
That didn’t stop the Tigers scoring early with Chris Lawrence sneaking down the blind side - the first play off the scrum a Marshall four-pointer.
A loss could have sent the Tigers to 14th on the ladder, but they broke back into the top eight.
Newcastle coach Rick Stone said the weight of possession the Tigers enjoyed in the second half - 25 sets to the Knights’ 14 - meant the points were always going to come for the visitors.
“But the Tigers were the better team. They handled the conditions really well and kicked very well,” he said.
The Knights remain 12th on the ladder but are assured of two points next weekend with the bye.
Wests Tigers 23 (G Daniela G Ellis C Lawrence B Marshall tries; B Marshall 3 goals B Marshall field goal) Newcastle 6 (B Rogers try; W Naiqama goal) at EnergyAustralia Stadium. Referees: Jason Robinson, Alan Shortall. Crowd: 14,458.
Wests Tigers bounce back to best form with impressive win over Newcastle
By Ben Horne May 21, 2010
It was far from pretty, but the Wests Tigers have emerged from their week from hell with an inspired 23-6 NRL win over Newcastle in atrocious conditions at EnergyAustralia Stadium.
After being embarrassed 50-10 by Souths last week, the Tigers went into hiding as they desperately sort to lift themselves out of a four-game trough.
And while their performance in torrential rain in Newcastle might not have turned their season around just yet, they collected the two points they so desperately needed and forced their way back into the top eight.
Star player Benji Marshall had another indifferent match, including falling victim to an apparent ‘crusher’ tackle by Cameron Ciraldo with 15 minutes to go.
However, the five-eighth, maligned for his performance against the Rabbitohs last week, proved his match-winning qualities when he kicked a field goal in the 70th minute and crossed under the posts with six minutes remaining to seal the win.
Marshall emphatically threw the ball into the air after scoring and centre Geoff Daniela crossed in the dying minutes also, signalling an end to one of the most torrid weeks in the club’s history.
Following their massacre at the SCG, coach Tim Sheens was heavily criticised and rumours of player disharmony began to circulate.
But a few days of soul searching in Newcastle leading into the game evidently paid off.
Newcastle battled hard in the first half and some tenacious goal-line defence leading into the break saw them hold on to a 6-6 score.
But just five minutes into the second half, a lapse in concentration by the Knights defence allowed Tigers centre Chris Lawrence to score a soft try from a blindside scrum play.
The 10-6 advantage was always going to prove difficult to pull back in the dumping rain, and a penalty goal with 16 minutes left and Marshall’s field goal put the result beyond doubt.
Newcastle’s only joy came in the ninth minute of the match, when five-eighth Ben Rogers showed Brad Fittler-like footwork to score under the posts and open the scoring.
Second rower Gareth Ellis scored a rare try for the Tigers as their only first half points.
The Tigers came up to Newcastle early in the week to bond together before they faced the Knights, and coach Sheens said the mini-camp played a significant part in the win.
"The attitude of the club is to win and we wanted to win so we needed to all come up together and we did. The extra day made a big difference in our preparation,’’ Sheens said.
"Plenty of people tried to derail us and we came up to stay tight.
"They’re not easy to beat up here, they’re always a better side at Newcastle and considering the conditions … the boys really hung together and we worked really hard this week to get that to happen.
"We copped plenty and rightly so, we’re not going to say we didn’t deserve what we copped … but they came through tonight which was good.’’
Pride restored, for now: Farah
By GREG PRICHARD
May 22, 2010
Wests Tigers captain Robbie Farah says winning last night was the easy part for his team, coming off the back of a 40-point flogging from South Sydney last weekend. Trying to keep the momentum going will be the hard part.
’‘It’s a big win for us but we have to back it up next week,’’ Farah said. '‘We’ve had trouble finding that consistency. It was easy to get up for tonight’s game, after the embarrassment of last week. Our pride was hurt. I knew we would be up for it, but now the challenge is to get up for the Warriors [at Campbelltown on Friday].’'
There was nothing pretty about the win, in the pouring rain at EnergyAustralia Stadium, but after four straight losses, Wests Tigers would have happily sifted through garbage to find two competition points. It had to be about true grit if they were going to win last night and after falling behind early they eventually forced their way past Newcastle, before managing to make it comfortable inside the last 10 minutes.
You can’t quite say they are back, but the commitment was a good sign after four straight defeats. The nature of the loss to the Rabbitohs convinced Tigers coach Tim Sheens to bring his team to Newcastle early and they had been in camp together since Wednesday in preparation for a critical game.
‘‘Plenty of people tried to derail us,’’ Sheens said. ‘‘We needed to stay tight and we did. People talk about poor Newcastle and poor other clubs because of injuries, but we’re struggling a bit, too. We’ve got five or six starters out. We copped plenty after last week and it was important to stay tight as a group. We stuck to the senior guys and they came good.’’
The Tigers started off looking determined enough, but still a little unsure of themselves and they didn’t react well to bombing the first try-scoring opportunity of the game.
Beau Ryan, named at fullback but playing on the wing, only had to catch a pass from centre Geoff Daniela to score in the fifth minute, but the ball was a little out in front of him and he couldn’t handle it.
In the ninth minute, Knights five-eighth Ben Rogers took advantage of some shoddy defence to step through the line untouched 30 metres out and go on to beat a flimsy tackle from Andrew Fitzhenry and score.
Mistakes began to come regularly from both sides, and when Wes Naiqama knocked on in the 12th minute from what should have been a regulation take of a Tigers’ clearing kick - even in the rain - the Tigers were good enough to lock the game up off the subsequent set.
Halfback Robert Lui ran across field and handed a ball back inside to English second-rower Gareth Ellis, who was running hard on an angle. Knights prop Ben Cross couldn’t stop him and Ellis had a free run to the try line after that.
The Tigers were slightly the better team, but weren’t able to show it on the scoreboard. Rogers was perhaps the worst offender when it came to mistakes, knocking on when he tried to take a pass from a Knights’ scrum win deep in Tigers territory in the 24th minute and losing the ball in a tackle down the other end.
The Tigers dominated possession early in the second half and it soon paid off, when centre Chris Lawrence scored from a trademark blindside move off a scrum win inside Newcastle’s 20-metre area.
When the Tigers were awarded a penalty within shooting range, they decided to go for the points on offer since they were so hard to come by the other way, and Marshall’s successful kick at goal in the 64th minute made it 12-6.
The game was at the crossroads then. It was still close enough for the Knights to come back, but another point was probably going to be enough for the Tigers to seal it, in the wet conditions. Marshall did that with a field goal, 11 minutes from full-time. Two tries inside the last 10 minutes were cream on the cake for the visitors.
The defeat meant the Knights, who beat Sydney Roosters last weekend, still haven’t been able to put back-to-back wins together this season. Their coach, Rick Stone, said the Tigers handled the difficult conditions better.
’‘They had an 88 per cent completion rate in the second half and 63 per cent of the ball,’’ he said. ''Our discipline at times left a lot to be desired and allowed them to keep the pressure on us. They had 25 sets to 14 in the second half and it was hard to handle that avalanche of possession against us.
From the Newcastle Herald
Slip-up for Knights as Tigers bite
BY BRETT KEEBLE
22 May, 2010 04:00 AM
WESTS Tigers taught Newcastle a lesson in patience and poise in the wet with a 23-6 victory over the Knights at a rain-lashed EnergyAustralia Stadium last night.
Chasing back-to-back wins for the first time this year after beating the Roosters 34-18 last Saturday, the Knights gave their saturated fans among the crowd of 14,458 some hope when they led 6-0 after a Ben Rogers solo try in the ninth minute.
But the Tigers, hurt and humiliated after a 50-10 flogging from South Sydney at the SCG last Sunday, responded with 23 unanswered points to end a four-match losing streak and win their fourth straight game at EAS stretching back to 2005.
Heavy rain started falling about 45 minutes before kick-off and continued unabated, becoming torrential in the second half. That made for a slippery surface and a tough night for ball control, but Knights coach Rick Stone conceded the Tigers handled the conditions much better.
‘‘Particularly in the second half, when we had them down for an 88 per cent completion rate and 63 per cent of the ball, which makes things tough,’’ Stone said.
‘‘We didn’t finish our sets appropriately. Our kicking game, I think, was disappointing, and they definitely out-pointed us in that area.
‘‘Our discipline at times left a bit to be desired and allowed the Tigers to keep putting pressure on us, and their 25 sets to our 14 in the second half, they controlled the game really well and it was hard to handle that avalanche of possession.
‘‘That probably showed at the back end with a couple of tries.’’
A Chris Lawrence try from a scrum win five minutes into the second half gave the Tigers a 10-6 lead which they extended to 12-6 in the 65th minute when Rogers was penalised for a lifting tackle on Tigers lock Chris Heighington.
Referee Jason Robinson reported Knights lock Cameron Ciraldo for a “crusher” tackle on Marshall one minute later, but the New Zealand Test skipper recovered to pot a field goal in the 70th minute for a 13-6 advantage then scored a converted try five minutes later after Robbie Farah’s 40-20 kick into the wind.
Stone and stand-in skipper Steve Simpson were concerned about a 9-5 penalty count and some ‘‘tough calls’’ against them but made no excuses.
‘‘In the end, it’s fair to say the Tigers were a better team,’’ Stone said.
‘‘They handled the conditions well, they kicked well, their discipline was pretty good, and they maintained pressure consistently over the last 40 minutes.’’
The Knights head into a bye next weekend lamenting the frailties of their defence, kicking game and attacking options in enemy territory.
‘‘We just wanted to build on last week’s game but full credit to the Tigers. They just outplayed us tonight,’’ Simpson said. ‘‘They really frustrated us in that second half especially, we couldn’t build any pressure and obviously a few penalties there, and some different things really cost us.
‘‘When we were on the Tigers line, they always seemed to get an easy way out, which was really frustrating at times and the 50-50s definitely went against us tonight, I thought.’’
Tigers coach Tim Sheens, who took his players into camp in Newcastle on Wednesday to isolate them from criticism, was pleased with the way the team bounced back after being embarrassed by the Rabbitohs.
‘‘It was hard going, particularly in the second half into that breeze, and conditions got pretty poor,’’ Sheens said.
‘‘But I was real happy with the way the boys controlled the footy and tried to control field position, which wasn’t easy kicking into the wind, but we worked hard, didn’t drop too much ball and our discipline was pretty good.
‘‘Plenty of people tried to derail us and we came up here to stay tight, which we did. They’re not easy to beat – they’re always a better side at Newcastle – and considering the conditions, and after they got to a 6-0 lead, there was every reason that we could have got beat there.
‘‘But the boys really hung together, and we worked really hard this week for that to happen.’’
In his first game back after suffering a knee injury in his New Zealand Test debut a fortnight earlier, Zeb Taia was a late inclusion on the Newcastle bench for Con Mika.
● The Knights won their third straight under-20s game, upsetting second-placed Wests Tigers 22-18
westTAHger last edited by
the reports sum it up well.
conditions were not the best. wests-tigers controlled to ball well for their sets.
was sitting in bay 13, all rugged up, but would not have swapped it at all.