Round 12 of the Telsta NRL premiership saw the Wests Tigers return to traditional home ground Campbelltown Sports Stadium to take on the 7th placed New Zealand Warriors. Both teams were coming off the back of solid last round wins, the Tigers returning to the winners list with a solid win over Newcastle while the Warriors held off South Sydney in New Zealand. The Tigers entered the match with an unchanged lineup while the Warriors lost several key players in prop Sam Rapira, Captain and lock Michael Luck and stand-off James Maloney. The Warriors however boasted an impressive recent win record against the Tigers so it was important for the Tigers to hit the Warriors hard and work on improving their form from last week. So were the Tigers up for the challenge?
The Tigers received the ball from the kickoff and got away to a poor start with Mark Flanagan caught with the ball on the last tackle as Benji Marshall was put under pressure. This gave the Warriors a set inside the Tigers half however the Tigers defence held but Chris Lawrence came up with a lost ball as the Tigers were trying to work the ball out of their own half. Again the Warriors had good field position early but the Tigers defence was equal to the task with some good scrambling defence. The Tigers were then awarded a penalty in the 4th minute allowing them to get out of their own half. A clever grubber kick from Farah forced the Warriors to bat the ball dead as Lote Tuqiri was steaming through after the ball. The Tigers didn’t waste their opportunity as they spread the ball on the last tackle and Geoff Daniela did well to draw in a couple of players before offloading to Beau Ryan who crossed in the corner to open the Tigers account. Marshall’s conversion missed and the Tigers led 4-0.
The Tigers as we have seen before though, made a mistake from the re-start with Chris Lawrence coming up with his second error for the match. Warriors winger Kevin Locke took off down the sideline and looked set to score however Benji Marshall came up with a great try saving tackle to force Locke into touch. The Tigers were still prepared to move the ball around in coming out of their own half though. The Tigers forced a mistake from the Warriors in the 11th minute through Gareth Ellis. From the scrum win Benji Marshall sliced through the Warriors defence only to be pulled down by Hohaia in a try saver. A penalty moments later gave the Tigers another chance however Chris Lawrence came up with his third error for the match dropping the ball with Tuqiri unmarked on his outside. Benji Marshall was the next Tiger to make a mistake, kicking out on the full in the 15th minute. The mistake did not cost the Tigers fortunately. A penalty to the Warriors in the 18th minute gave the Warriors great attacking position and the Tigers gave away a second penalty compounding the pressure on their defensive line. The Tigers defence again held firm in a pleasing sign.
A forward pass from Benji Marshall in the 24th minute allowed the Warriors to go on the attack inside the Tigers half and they crossed in the 26th minute through Joel Moon after he ran onto what looked to be a forward pass from Brett Seymour. Seymour converted the try to give the Warriors a 6-4 lead. The Warriors looked dangerous from the re-start as they bent the Tigers defensive line back however the Tigers held on. For the next few minutes both teams probed at each other with mistakes made by both sides however the Warriors were first to crack as the Tigers scored through Lote Tuqiri in the 37th minute. The try came on the back of a scrum win on the Warriors tryline and the ball was spread through the Tigers hands as Chris Lawrence did well to draw in the defence before offloading to Tuqiri who crossed in the corner. Marshall converted from the sideline to give the Tigers the lead once more at 10-6. The Tigers then went back-to-back like only they can. Robbie Farah scored after the Tigers spread the ball on the last tackle as Geoff Daniela was put into open space and he did well before drawing the fullback and offloading to Robbie Farah in support. Marshall converted the try to give the Tigers a handy 16-6 lead at halftime.
The Tigers kicked off and got away to a safe start. The Warriors however came up with a bad mistake in the 42nd minute as Warriors winger Kevin Locke attempted to pass the ball from a kick return however he slipped and the ball went forward. This gave the Tigers great attacking position and they forced the Warriors in the in-goal as Daniel Fitzhenry came up with a nice short kick. Andrew Fifita came up with a great run from the line drop out and Geoff Daniela scored in the corner moments later as the Tigers kept the ball alive. Marshall converted from the sideline to extend the Tigers lead to 22-6 after 46 minutes. Daniela was in for his second on the next set as the Tigers went length of the field as the Warriors failed to defuse a bomb put up by Rob Lui. Benji Marshall did well to bat the ball back to Lui who offloaded to Ryan who threw a cut out pass to Daniela who stepped a couple of players to score. Marshall again was accurate with the conversion, this time off the post to give the Tigers a 28-6 lead.
The Tigers came up with a mistake from the re-start as the Warriors went on the attack however the Tigers goal line defence was good. The Tigers spread the ball down the left side in the 51st minute however a dropped ball by Lote Tuqiri brought the movement undone. The Tigers cut loose again in the 55th minute as the Tigers spread the ball to the right and Rob Lui threw an excellent pass to put Gareth Ellis into open space and he took off downfield before drawing the fullback and offloading to Daniela in support who scored his hattrick. Marshall converted from in front to give the Tigers a very good 34-6 lead. Chris Lawrence was next to get in on the try scoring spree as the Tigers again scored another try from beyond halfway. Lawrence received the ball on the Tigers 30 before beating a couple of poor tackles and streaking into open space, he still had work to do though as he beat the fullback easily and scored under the posts. Marshall again converted to give the Tigers a 40-6 lead.
Benji Marshall came up with a brain melt in the 62nd minute as he threw a flick pass over the sideline after scooping up a loose Wariors pass. Luckily for Marshall, the Tigers defence held however they were forced to kick the ball dead as Locke put in a grubber kick for himself. The Warriors then lost the ball after bending the Tigers back to their try line. Chris Heighington then came up with a great linebreak off a set play which involved some very sharp short passing and the Tigers followed the break up with a try to Mark Flanagan in the 68th minute as the Warriors failed to ground a grubber kick by Farah and Flanagan scored the easiest try of his career by diving on the ball. Marshall converted the try to put the Tigers out to 46-6.
There was only one more try to be scored in the match and this was through Lote Tuqiri who got his second for the night in the 78th minute as the Tigers had repeat sets on the Warriors line. Tuqiri showed brute strength to force his way over from dummyhalf taking two defenders with him. Marshall missed the sideline conversion however the damage was well and truly done with the Tigers running out 50-6 winners in fantastic style after a mistake ridden first half.
Onto the players (stats subject to change):
5. Daniel Fitzhenry - Named on the wing but played at fullback once again. Fitzy was solid again tonight, and while not particularly prominent in attack, he was busy and safe at the back. He will definitely have some competition from Wade McKinnon in a couple of weeks though. 85 metres in attack, 1 tackle and 2 missed tackles.
2. Lote Tuqiri - Pretty decent game tonight and it was great to see him back in the try scorers list bagging a double. Lote came up with one error in the second half and didn’t get a great deal of ball, but generally he made the most of what he got and came up with a couple of good tackle beating runs. 78 metres in attack, 2 tries, 9 tackle breaks, 2 linebreaks, 1 offload, 1 error.
3. Geoff Daniela - Easily had his best game in Tigers colours tonight scoring a hattrick and getting channel 9’s MOM. Left the field with ice on his neck/shoulder as a result of a knock he copped early in the match but should be right for next week. Also came up with a couple of good tackles and showed very godo footwork. 111 metres in attack, 3 tries, 3 linebreaks, 6 tackle breaks, 2 try assists, 5 tackles.
4. Chris Lawrence - Had an unhappy start to the game, dropping the ball 3 times in the first 15 minutes but he gradually came good, setting up Tuqiri’s first try. Scored a great try of his own in the second half and it was great to see him in full flight, it has been all too rare this season. Defensively he wasn’t really tested tonight. 120 metres in attack, 1 try, 1 linebreak, 1 try assist, 4 tackle breaks, 9 tackles, 1 offload, 3 errors.
1. Beau Ryan - Played on the right wing again tonight and scored the Tigers opening try. Didn’t get as much ball tonight and it was one of his quieter games. 61 metres in attack, 1 try, 1 linebreak, 8 tackles.
6. Benji Marshall - Started the game well with a good linebreak and a try saving tackle, and while he did some good things, there were a couple of bad things thrown in, a kick out on the full and a flick pass over the sideline were two errors Benji will be kicking himself over. The footwork was there though and his goalkicking was excellent tonight. The good outweighed the bad, but he’s still got some work ahead of him. 70 metres in attack, 4 tackle breaks, 1 linebreak, 1 try assist, 6 tackles, 3 errors.
7. Robert Lui - Pretty quiet in attack, he threw a couple of nice passes which led to Tiger tries though the ball to Ellis was a beauty. I thought his defence was pretty good tonight though and his kicking game wasn’t too bad. 1 linebreak assist, 18 tackles.
8. Bryce Gibbs - Solid game from Bryce tonight, 2 penalties conceded is all I can really nitpick at, and he probably won’t be happy about it either. Otherwise he got through plenty of work, made good metres and defended well. Good effort. 127 metres in attack, 30 tackles.
9. Robbie Farah - I thought he played more conservatively tonight in the scheme of things. He didn’t do a lot of dummyhalf running, instead opting to receive and distribute more, perhaps in a move to attract attention from the Origin selectors, I don’t know. Regardless, Farah got across the tryline and his kicking game wasn’t too bad, there were a couple of touch finders and a couple of good short kicks. He was busy in defence as usual. 30 metres in attack, 1 try, 34 tackles.
10. Todd Payten - His first spell to start the match was good I thought, although he seemed to cop some sort of knock later in the game. Showed some nice passing in the second half as the Tigers went on their point scoring spree too. 61 metres in attack, 17 tackles.
11. Mark Flanagan - Not playing huge minutes as he is subbing with Simon Dwyer, but it’s a move which is working so far. Not prominent in attack, but he scored a try and defended well. I noticed he had some ice on his shoulder at the end of the game so hopefully it’s nothing serious. If he could put another 5kg on I reckon he would be much more potent. Decent game all the same. 47 metres in attack, 1 try, 19 tackles.
12. Gareth Ellis - Probably the Tigers best forward tonight and came up with some powerful runs and plenty of tackles. Excellent game once again and has really hit a purple patch of form in the last couple of weeks. 142 metres in attack, 1 linebreak, 1 linebreak assist, 2 try assists, 1 offload, 34 tackles, 1 error.
13. Chris Heighington - Someone please pick this guy to help NSW. Another strong game from Heighno and he didn’t stop all night. Not quite up there with Gareth tonight, but not far behind and still had a very good game. Ran hard all night and defended well as usual. 127 metres in attack, 1 linebreak, 4 tackle breaks, 2 offloads, 23 tackles.
14. Andrew Fifita - Coming into the match a little later and it’s working well for him at the moment. Provided very good impact off the bench again with some strong running and defended well. Really enjoying watching him develop as a player and his improvement from this time last year to now has been amazing. 133 metres in attack, 6 tackle breaks, 11 tackles.
15. Junior Moors - Didn’t play as many minutes tonight and looked to cop a head knock in the first half. Still showed some good running up the middle and no complaints with his defence. 41 metres in attack, 14 tackles.
16. Simon Dwyer - Again solid off the bench but I would have liked to see him run a bit wider where he can get his arms free. Defended well and looking alright out in the middle though, he’ll only get better as far as I can see. 33 metres in attack, 15 tackles.
17. Mitch Brown - Came on late once again and played in the centres tonight as Daniela got a rest. 32 metres in attack.
Overall Team Analysis:
Attack - Another classic Tigers smokescreen was deployed in the prelude to this match with Tigers Assistant Coach Royce Simmons coming out in the media and saying the Tigers had been banned from playing razzle dazzle football…Lies! The Tigers attack looked scratchy in the first half as the side came up with a few errors, but leading up to halftime it came together and the second half was a demolition as the Tigers ran the Warriors ragged with some great attacking play in their most comprehensive attacking performance of the season.
There was some great passing, some great running and some effective kicks thrown in for good measure. The thing was though, Farah, Marshall and Lui were not the stars tonight. They played their role, but weren’t dynamite IMO. Daniela was sharp in the centres, Lawrence looked good after a poor start, Tuqiri also looked good and Ellis, Heighington and Fifita all looked dangerous in the forwards.
Defence - The Tigers only conceded 6 points for the second week in a row, and this has really helped their for and against. The scrambling defence was there again tonight and while the Warriors were far from their best, the Tigers did well to never really give them a sniff. All the players defended well tonight.
Kicking game - It was alright tonight, the Tigers forced a couple of line drop outs and two of their tries even came from kicks tonight. The long kicking game still needs some work, but the kick chase was pretty effective tonight.
Team stats (Warriors in brackets):
Try assists: 9 (1)
Offloads: 7 (10)
Linebreaks: 10 (1)
Linebreak assists: 8 (1)
Tackles made: 249 (341)
1 on 1 tackles: 10 (6)
Missed tackles: 28 (45)
Tackle breaks: 45 (28)
Total metres gained: 1304 (977)
Possession: 57% (43%)
Completion rate: 29/37 = 78% (19/29 = 66%)
Errors: 8 (11)
Penalties conceded: 4 (3)
Overall it was a really pleasing win to see tonight. The Tigers scored some cracking tries and ran the Warriors off the park in the end. There were however some pieces of play the team will need to work on. They came up with some poor errors early on and were lucky not to pay the penalty. Like last week though, as the match wore on, the Tigers settled and looked better the longer the match went. The second half was excellent to watch and again, there wasn’t a bad player on the field tonight. The Tigers will still need to improve for next week against the Bulldogs, having already been beaten once by them this season, the Tigers wil need to keep their completion rate over the 80% mark if they are going to beat the Bulldogs.
For now though, I’m just happy the Tigers won so convincingly in the end. All comments welcome as usual. :sign:
Thanks Willow, well said all round. I have to put on a word for Robert Lui, I thought he was very good tonight. He has a great long pass and his bombs were good. I think he is making a big difference to the team since returning.
PS, any chance Gareth Ellis was really born in NSW?
you cant bag benji for his 2 errors, kcked out on the full. if it was 10cm less it would of been a great kich, his sill flick pass was to lote……it was already 40-6 and again if it was an ok pass u would say benji hgad a great game.
Fitz did ok but offers NOTHING in attack
Tigers … great game and A.F you are a gun young man
13. Chris Heighington - Someone please pick this guy to help NSW.
You are spot on here. This guy is almost a Queenslander in the way he gives 100 per cent every game and just keeps on going hard. (I almost made myself sick with that analogy - Queenslander - ughh!).
As usual, a great report Willow. I might not say it every week but it is one of the first things I read after a match. Thank you for the effort .
The_Phantom last edited by
I thought Lui was very good tonignt.Had a great passing game,changed the point of attack when needed and his long passes give his outside men so much more room to do their thing.
Lui was more than ‘pretty quiet’. He reads the game very well and knows how to put his outside men in space. He’ll only get better too.
bradexl last edited by
How good is young lui going to be? His passing game and how he reads the play is remarkable for a 20 year old. Exciting times ahead.
Great report Willo. I thought:
- Lui played his best game for the Tigers…his long passing game allowed Benji to play wider.
- Heinington is in rare form…another top shelf game from him!..great summation on his game.
Lui was more than ‘pretty quiet’. He reads the game very well and knows how to put his outside men in space. He’ll only get better too.
Don’t get me wrong, I thought Lui had a fine game, I would have liked him to take the line on a bit more though, I didn’t notice him as much because of that. I’ve got no complaints with his passing game though, the ball to Ellis in the second half to put him away was a beauty. The torpedo bomb which led to Daniela’s second try was also very good. And Lui’s defense last night was also good.
In the first 20 Lui really seemed to not get involved, he only put in one kick that I remember (the one that dribbled over the sideline for a scrum) – despite our kicking in the first 15 minutes being pathetic.
From then on he stepped up and was great, especially his passing. Crisp and clean. That ball to Ellis in the second half was all class.
Player and team stats have been updated.
senexx last edited by
From what I have seen of Lui, he is being eased into it all which is why he is not the dominant playmaker/ball runner in the first 20 or 40
I agree with Willows comments on Dwyer, would really like to see him drift a bit wider in attack he could do some real damage out there… but still going well up the middle. Just hope he isnt the casuality when Galloways back
More problematic is what do you do with Simon once both KG and Fults come back. This dilemma was one of the reasons why I wasnt a big fan of Liam returning (I have probably been proven wrong on this point) as it could halt the development of one of the best young backrowers in the game. Dwyer ultimately does more for me than most players in our forward pack - he defends as good as Liam and Heighno and also has a better attacking game. Interesting times to see how this plays out.
Lui is the Wildcard if he can keep progressing anythings possible ,that pass he laid on for Ellis to hold pass behind the defender shows what he can do with a ball .Dwyer and Fafita good stuff ….IMO when Benji/Farah/Lui get there playing system together this could be really something special.