It was a must-win game for the dogs but a gritty performance saw the mighty tigers take home the 2 points in atrocious conditions at ANZ stadium. Sydney had copped 8 straight hours of torrential rain and this game was always going to be an arm wrestle.
The tigers have won their last three games and it’s no surprise this coincides with the return of rookie half-back Robert Lui. He gives the team direction and takes the pressure of Benji and Robbie allowing them to be their creative best. He has a long way to go but the signs are promising for the future. With Moltzen out for the season Lui has his chance to cement the spot as his own.
The tigers have improved their defence since the shilacking they copped from the Rabbits and conceded only 12 points in total against the Knights and the Warriors.
The Tigers were hoping for a similar performance against the Dogs but it didn’t take long for them to open up and in the third minute the Dogs threatened the line with a structured play. Good decoy runs from Hannant and Ryan caused Lui to rush up from the line but he failed to close down the play. Daniela followed suit and also grabbed nothing but air.
General Patten was through and after side-stepping Farah he linked up with slippery Morris. Farah was off-balance and couldn’t make the tackle as Morris flew for the line. Mitch Brown reacted and came in on Morris leaving Goodwin free on the wing. Morris must have been thinking of his beer bet with his brother because he selfishly held the ball and went for the meat pie himself.
Enter big Bryce Gibbs. What’s a front rower doing scrambling in cover defence? Outstanding work from the big fella and he’s been doing it all year. Beau Ryan took slippery head on and with the help of Gibbs stopped a certain try. Could have been called a double movement but the couch Ref deemed he hadn’t crossed the line. If he wins the end of year bet Morris might want to slip a few cans to his mate Goodwin, might be the only love he will receive all year. A super knock-on followed from Blake Green and the Tigers survived.
A bit of slap and tickle from Gibbs and Hannant in the scrum gets the Baron on the edge of his seat but nothing eventuates. Hannant wisely deciding not to take the Tiger fire-brand on. Due to some average kicking from Lui and an early handling error from Beau Ryan the Dogs have the better of the opening 10 minutes. Great to see Tuqiri and Jamal lock horns, looks like a shag pile carpet the Baron used to own…
A great kick from Ennis holds up in the in-goal and Mitch Brown has one of the plays of the game to beat a thousand defenders to get back into the field of play. A penalty and the Tigers are on the attack but try to play too expansive in the wet weather conditions and a long pass from Benji to Lui is dropped cold. This game was always going to be won through the middle of the park and the tigers needed a rethink. The Baron could see it – hopefully Timmy got the message out to the boys.
Ellis was running hard and making good metres while Tuqiri was looking for work. Lui was having an average game with the boot and Farah took over the reins with a deft kick and great chase to keep the bulldogs in their end at the 17th minute. This gave the Dogs a shot at a 40/20 and Blake Green put in a monster kick that was all but over the line before a flying Beau Ryan managed to bat the ball back into play. Superb skills!
BOOM!! A quick dart from Farah at dummy half and a short pass to Chris Heighington ends with a massive hit from Jamal Idris. With eyes only for the ball Chris doesn’t see the black avalanche that powers down upon him. Idris doesn’t miss him either but to his credit Chris gives him nothing and bounces straight back to his feet like the rubbery ball of muscle that he is. Great guts and Chris actually forces Jamal out of the game for a few minutes to fix his hair which had come loose from the monster collision…
Benji under a ton of pressure spews his kick out on the full giving the dogs great field position. The Tigers need to set up a second choice kicker to give Benji the option to pass. The Tigers kicking game gives off a rather pungent odour in the first half…
TRY! - 21st Minute to the Dogs
Andrew Ryan shows a good side-step and fends his way past Lui. Ellis does well to drag him down in cover defence but not before he draws in Beau Ryan and sets up slippery Morris for his 50th try. Could Beau have stayed out on slippery Morris? Tough call but Ellis did make the cover tackle on Ryan.
6-0 and the Dogs are looking the better of the two teams after 23 minutes.
Beau Ryan gives Tim Sheens a few more grey hairs when he leaves the ball to roll gently across the dead ball line from a Kimmorley kick with the man-mountain Idris breathing down his neck. Saved by a blade of grass but at the end of the day he made the right call because the Tigers get the ball back. Kimmorley has kicked strongly during the first half.
Gus Gould has a whinge about the lack of support runners for the Tigers. Tuqiri left with no passing options as he teases the defensive line. Didn’t stop him from throwing a lovely dummy though…
TRY!!! 30th minute to Tigers!!
Benji puts a tidy little kick through and the General spills his guts and makes a meal of it. Simon Dwyer is Johnny on the spot and did well to get his hands free to find Benji in support. Benji with a little jink does the rest and steams over for a try. This is better wet weather footy from the Tigers, keeping it simple and waiting for the mistakes. Great play Dwyer and great kick/finish from Benji.
33rd minute and Benji kicks on the 3rd tackle, hearts in mouths as it just manages to stay in play. Tigers have struggled with the long kicking game tonight.
The tigers bench dominates the last 10 minutes in the middle and give the tigers great go forward. Fifita a real handful and Moors very effective. Dwyer also good.
Special mention for Mitch Brown’s effort from a Kimmorley kick. Straight through his legs and the call of ‘nutties’ goes up from the stands, in the end well recovered and then even managed to grab a penalty. His testicles were also spared and received only a light brushing from the ball as it sped through. A ‘cool breeze’ if you will.
After a loose carry from Dwyer the Dogs once again threatened the line with a kick but B.Ryan was on the spot again to force the ball in goal. Ryan having a solid game as custodian.
Heighington uses some magic knees in the 38th minute to force a mistake from Gordon. A nice little subtle play that pays off and gets the ball for the Tigers. Gibbs is busy taking notes on how to get away with it. Chris has played strongly and has been in everything.
After some oranges and words of wisdom from the great Tim Sheens the boys are ready for the second half.
BOOM!! 44th minute and Todd Payten gives out a free lesson to young Jamal in the form of a big meaty ‘don’t argue’ that puts the man mountain on his arse. Beautiful stuff, the old Thurston ‘show and go’ with a massive hammer on the end of it. The young pup will think twice before taking the crafty veteran on again.
At the end of the set the tigers are unlucky not to score off a well-weighted kick from Farah. Cinderella gets a glass toe to it but the bounce of the ball beats him like a wicked step-sister.
After the drop-out the Tigers look great with attacking raids down the wing of Tuquri but a beautiful ‘no-look’ Benji knock-on abruptly ends proceedings. The Baron is a big fan of the no-look pass but the ‘no-look’ catch?? The Baron never takes his eyes off a cold schooner until that bad boy is touching his lips. And only then will he let his eyes roam for the nearest eye candy.
Andrew Fifita – how good is this young bloke? An absolute handful for the defence he also shows a beautiful pair of hands to take the intercept and then for good measure draws a penalty! The Baron will tell you for free that to win a Premiership you either need a million $ over the salary cap or a very strong bench. The Tigers have a great bench, full of impact, go-forward and heart. Good signs indeed my friends.
Benji’s hot and cold night continues as he misses the penalty…tough conditions but Benji’s kicking confidence seems to be down this year.
50th minute and Lui places a nice little kick to the in-goal and was unlucky not to get a result after he toed it through again.
TRY! 52nd minute to Dogs
After a good off-load from Idris to create space Kimmorley kicks for his captain who dives on the ball for a four pointer. 6 points in conditions like this is a lot of points. Tigers need to dig deep and the Baron wills them on. Brad Morin off the bench seems to have injected life into the Dogs and they are on top in the second half.
57th minute. Beautiful positional play from Bryce Gibbs who hangs back 30 metres covering the charge down option on the last tackle. Ennis pulls it off and Gibbs is there to pick up the crumbs and charges 20 metres down field. The Baron would love to be in the video session when this one comes up…
TRY!!! – 59TH Minute – Wests Tigers!
In Robbie we Trust.
Sizing up the fallen marker Farah darts over from dummy half to keep the Tigers in the game. A nice deep backline set, a quick play the ball from B.Ryan and Farah does the rest.
12 all – 20 minutes to go…The Baron can’t sit still.
BOOM!!! 63rd minute and Junior shows Idris who his daddy really is. A strong ball carry from Moors and Idris lines him up from 10 metres back and drops that big shoulder of his. Junior has none of it and drops his own massive slab of meat and the two connect with the force of a train wreck. Idris is sent crashing to the ground where he frantically tries to collect the remains of his shattered pride…
64th minute and Gus was ‘wowing’ as the dogs are hit with a ‘forward’ pass call. The call came from the touchie and he’s done real well. Good on him for having the testicular fortitude to call it. It was the correct call and a let-off for the Tigers.
67th minute and a nice little chip and chase from Marshall on the 30metre line almost comes off. He re-gathers well and offloads to Ryan who attempts to give it back but the ball is spilled. Exciting stuff and the Baron loves it when Benji gets creative. He’s a game breaker.
68th minute = BRAIN EXPLOSION from Kimmorley!!!
Brett sends his brain home early and decides to run it on the last tackle, dummies and is tackled on the 40m line. MASSIVE turning point. The Baron almost feels sorry for him as Kimmorley watches his Origin jersey slowly make its way through the crowd and out the exit…
A high shot on Gibbs (who makes sure the Ref is aware of it) gets a crucial penalty and the Tigers have only one thing on their mind – Field Goal baby! Sheens plays chirades on the side-line and the tigers roll on through the middle for the set-up.
FIELD GOAL!! - Tigers!!
4th tackle and it looks like Benji has put himself in position for the shot but the ball goes to Lui who has all the time in the world and calmly slots it over like he’s been doing it all year. Nil Dramas and the Tigers have hit the lead 13-12!
Great composure shown by Lui and proves he can be the go-to man in tight situations. The Baron was proud as punch and cracked another cold one in celebration.
71st minute – Todd Payten. There are little things that win you big games and Payten produces gold in this defensive set.
BANG! He rushes up and smothers Turner in a ball and all tackle on the 2nd. Turner gains only a few metres. He then follows the ball and tags the wild Stagg slowing him down enough for the other boys to finish him off with little metres gained.
Gets back into the line and watches Kimmorley who drifts across the field trying to link up. Payten reads the play early and smashes Andrew Ryan as soon as he gets the ball and forces the mistake. (a sneaky knee on the ball on the ground) Payten owns this set. Ellis knows it and congratulates him along with Gibbs. The Baron also notices and gives props to props where they’re due.
Tigers in the box seat now and look for a try to seal the game. Lui and Ellis combine well (as they have all game) for a strong run before Farah pops a kick into the in-goal and Lawrence smashes the General in goal for a drop out.
Next set both Daniella and Farah get close before Ryan puts in a well-weighted grubber that ends up in the tenth row…
75th minute and Kimmorley has a shot at FG, sprays it wide and the dogs have no chasers. Lote smashes it up for some easy yards. The big unit has been kick-returning with menace all night. And then a great touch finder from Benji when it counts.
76th minute – Sean Meany into the game as fullback. Debut appearance with the game on the line. The Baron holds his breath as he takes a solid run from dummy half for his first touch. Good faith shown by Sheens.
TRY! 78th Minute Tigers!! Game Winner
Marshall puts the game to bed, sliding across field and linking up with the hard running Dwyer. Sheens has big wraps on him and the Baron agrees he has great potential. Hits the hole hard and has a nice step. For his 1st try he beats two players for the game sealer.
19 – 12 – Tigers win!!!
A tough, gritty win that the Baron loves. Puts the team into fourth position and gives them a chance to welcome new signing Wade Mckinnon with a few cold brews over the weekend. Ellis will have to make do with the warm beer as he heads off to play for England. Good luck and enjoy the weekend off boys.
Because the Baron says so.