Match previews


Wests Tigers v Sea Eagles
Sydney Football Stadium
Monday 7pm

Comedy radio duo Roy and HG declare Monday night football to be the game of the week every round; and this week they would be 100 per cent correct.

The Wests Tigers taking on Manly promises to be an absolute cracker, so look forward to the end of work on Monday and get out to the game.

Wests Tigers come into the clash off the back of three straight wins, but it can’t stop at that for them. To stay in the race for the top eight they must knock off the defending premiers.

For the majority of the year the Tigers have played without consistency, but the past three weeks they have tightened up their defence and have played with greater discipline.

While Manly look to have pretty much sewn up a top-eight position, they now have a top-four finish on their minds. They have some work to do, with the Titans and Storm looking well entrenched; however as Des Hasler says: “The key is to keep winning.”

Hasler will be excited by the fact he will field arguably his strongest 17 for the year this week. He’s named Jamie Lyon at five eighth – the position where he led Manly to a grand final win last year. Steve Matai is back in the centres and Chris Bailey provides some nice utility value coming off the bench.

The good thing for the Sea Eagles, of course, is that Brett Stewart is due back in a couple of weeks. If his team-mates can keep the momentum going until then, his side can expect to peak at just the right time of year.

Watch out Wests Tigers: Jamie Lyon back in the no.6 jersey spells trouble for Tim Sheens. The NSW representative’s form at five-eighth at the back end of last year was the best football he’s played since coming back to Australia at the end of 2007.

Lyon is the most dangerous attacking player in the Manly side at the moment and the more times he gets the ball in his hands the better. He has five try assists and eight tries to his name playing in the centres, and his average should only increase with the move to pivot.

The Sea Eagles haven’t lost anything out wide with him moving in closer. Mid-season recruit Ben Farrar (four tries) has held his own and, particularly in attack, he looks dangerous.

Watch out Sea Eagles: The Wests Tigers trail only competition leaders the Bulldogs and St George Illawarra for most line breaks as a team. And with 53 clean breaks they have made more genuine busts than any other outfit in the NRL.

With the likes of Benji Marshall (seven line breaks) and Chris Lawrence (nine line breaks) on the edges, Robbie Farah (seven line breaks, most of any hooker), Tim Moltzen (five line breaks) and Shannon Gallant around the middle and Taniela Tuiaki out wide, the Tigers have strike-power right across the park.

Tuiaki leads the entire league for line breaks, with 20 made this year by the man they call ‘TNT’. Watch for the Tigers to work for good field position and give it Tuiaki one-on-one with his winger. You can almost guarantee him a genuine chance of a try every time.

Where it will be won: The Sea Eagles have shown in recent weeks a weakness in giving up early leads. They trailed the Sharks and found themselves 14-0 down against the Knights last week after only a matter of minutes.

Although on both occasions Manly proved good enough to come back, it’s obvious that if the Tigers start well, they can set a great platform. The hard part then will be holding on to that lead – something Wests Tigers have struggled to achieve this year. However, last week against Canberra, the orange, black and whites didn’t take the foot off the pedal all the match and only conceded one late try.

Stats show the Tigers are more than capable of making line breaks, and Benji Marshall is still third of all halves in the game in try assists with 19. Also, Robbie Farah has made 15, making him the most dangerous attacking no.9 in the NRL.

However, to utilise their offensive strength, the quick men need some room to move.

With Keith Galloway still out injured for the Tigers a lot of pressure has fallen on remaining props Todd Payten, John Skandalis and Bryce Gibbs. Skandalis averages a respectable 122 metres per match, and last week Payten put in a giant 145-metre performance against the Raiders.

The Wests Tigers need more of this, as they are going up against arguably the best front-row rotation in rugby league. Jason King (87 metres), Josh Perry (79 metres), Brent Kite (108 metres) and George Rose (91 metres) are far from the biggest metre-eaters in the competition – but as a foursome, they are awesome.

If these Sea Eagles big boys continue to roll forward, the likes of Anthony Watmough (127 metres and 10 line breaks) and Glenn Stewart (84 metres) at the back of the scrum will make life very difficult for the Tigers.

The History: Played 12; Wests Tigers 4, Sea Eagles 8. The visitors have defeated the Wests Tigers in their past five meetings.

Conclusion: With both sides possessing some serious attacking weapons this game promises to be highly entertaining. If Tim Sheens’ men can hold up their end of the bargain in defence, they will be more than competitive.

The best thing about this match for Wests Tigers’ fans is that at the end of 80 minutes they will know whether the side deserves to be a top-eight team. If they win it, well, remember what happened in 2005?

Match Officials: Referees – Shayne Hayne & Matt Cecchin; Sideline Officials – Paul Holland & Gavin Reynolds; Video Ref – Paul Simpkins.

Televised: Fox Sports – Live 7pm.

  • Statistics: NRL Stats.

How Joey sees it….


Like Souths, the Tigers have won three straight to put themselves in striking distance of the eight but face a massive test here. Tim Moltzen’s move to halfback has proved to be a success and Robbie Farah’s form has been super.

The defending premiers seem to be warming up big time and will now have one eye on a top four berth which seemed out of the question after their start to the year. Showed plenty of composure to come back from 14-0 against the Knights and with Watmough, Perry, Stewart and co. leading the way in the pack, they are looking good.
Real acid test for the Tigers. But how do you go past Manly?

From Sportal:

Preview: Wests Tigers v Sea Eagles
Adam Lucius, Sportal

VENUE & TIME: Sydney Football Stadium – Monday, August 3, 7.05pm (AEST).
HEAD TO HEAD: Played 12 – Sea Eagles 8, Tigers 4.
LAST TIME: Round 10, 2009 – Sea Eagles 23-10.

WALKING WOUNDED: Steve Matai is back after serving a two-week suspension and will line-up in the centres, meaning a shift to five-eighth for Jamie Lyon. Many (including Des Hasler) believe Lyon is best suited to the No.6 position and the Sea Eagles will only be strengthened by his shift closer to the action. Chris Bailey will come off the bench. The Tigers are still missing a few, including Dene Halatau, Chris Heighington and Keith Galloway.

FORM: Tigers coach Tim Sheens reckons fighting to get into the top eight rather than fighting to stay in the eight suits his side’s psyche. In previous seasons the pressure of trying to hold onto a finals spot has proved too much for Wests to handle. This year they are on the outside looking in, having hauled themselves back into contention with wins over North Queensland and Canberra. This shapes as a far tougher test. Manly is the side that has every other team looking over its shoulder with trepidation. The Sea Eagles have won eight from their last 10 and don’t appear to have been stretched in too many of those victories. They trailed 14-0 early doors against Newcastle and then blew the bumbling Knights apart.

WHO’S HOT: Tigers winger Taniela Tuiaki is one fearsome sight when he gets wound up and charges into the defence. ‘TNT’ is one of the hardest players in the NRL to pull down and, close to the line, is almost unstoppable. The big man is growing in confidence with every game and now realises the damage he can cause with his massive frame. Full-back Shannon Gallant would fit on Tuiaki’s breakfast plate but he’s been very good since given his shot a few weeks back. Manly prop George Rose is one player who would give Tuiaki a run for his money in the size department. But ‘Gorgeous’ is successfully mixing brawn with brain, emerging as one of the most improved props in the NRL.

WE THINK: This should be one of the more entertaining Monday night contests of the year, given both sides’ propensity to throw the ball around. The Tigers are third overall in the most line breaks category, thanks largely to Benji Marshall, Robbie Farah and Chris Lawrence. Stopping points has been a bigger problem. Manly don’t have a drama in either department at the moment and have in-form players across the park. A top four berth appears theirs for the taking. And they look to have the Tigers covered here. Sea Eagles by 10

Fox sports and Laurie Daley’s preview:

Wests Tigers v Manly, Monday 7pm (EST), Sydney Football Stadium
It would be quite the revival if Wests Tigers were to reach their first finals series since the glory days of 2005. Just four weeks ago, when they lost 21-10 to St George to record their seventh loss in eight matches, the Tigers were six points out of the eight and only had the Roosters behind them. Now, on the back of three successive wins over the Rabbitohs, Cowboys and Raiders, and some of their best football of the season, the Tigers lie in wait just two points off eighth place. It was against the Tigers at Brookvale Oval back in round five where Manly first showed signs of life. After four straight defeats, the Sea Eagles prevailed 23-10 on that day back in April but it took them a good month after that game for them to hit their stride. Now, on the back of eight wins in 10 games, they are looking fully capable of defending their title.

Laurie Daley says: The Tigers have shown us in the last couple of weeks that they can play very good football. But, they look like they’ve only got one way to win and that is to score points and blow the other team apart, whereas Manly can win in different ways. They can win coming from behind, by playing a grinding style of football and they can win with some magic. I think they can force a few errors on the Tigers and be more committed for that 80-minute period to win this. Sea Eagles to win.

I dont know where Laurie got that idea of blowing sides apart and scoring lots of points to win when our defence has been up with the best for the last month or so, but then again…. Its Laurie Daley we’re talkin about here.


I dont know where Laurie got that idea of blowing sides apart and scoring lots of points to win when our defence has been up with the best for the last month or so, but then again…. Its Laurie Daley we’re talkin about here.

Exactly. We’ve climbed to 8th in the defensive stats avergaing 21 odd points a game and have only leaked 38 points in 3 games. Geez Laurie! 😮

to me, the most pressure in on manly.
they are expected to win.
nothing would be better than wests-tigers to beat the current premiers, it would make remaining NRL teams sit up and take notice.

From the SMH:

Wests Tigers v Manly
Greg Prichard | July 31, 2009

Monday, SFS, 7pm
Referees: Shayne Hayne, Matt Cecchin
Head to head: Sea Eagles 8 Tigers 4
Last clash: Sea Eagles 23 Tigers 10 at Brookvale Oval (Rd 5 2009.)
TAB Sportsbet: Tigers: 2.90 Manly $1.40
FootyTAB: Tigers +7.5

The Tigers face their moment of truth. They have won three in a row in a desperate run at the finals, but they need to keep it going and you can’t get a much tougher task than a date with the Sea Eagles at the moment.

The Sea Eagles have won six of their last seven - and eight of their last 10 - to climb to fifth on the ladder and put a real scare into all of the other teams that consider themselves premiership contenders.

They haven’t got superstar Brett Stewart back from injury yet, but he is only a month away and if they can keep winning in the meantime they will have a great shot at defending the title they won last year. The Tigers have looked good in beating the Rabbitohs, Cowboys and Raiders, but the Sea Eagles are a big step up from those opponents.

The Sea Eagles have dominated the Tigers in recent years, winning the last five clashes. They last met in round five of this season, when the Sea Eagles won 23-10 at Brookvale. That was one of the only two games in which Brett Stewart has played this season.

The Sea Eagles got into trouble early on against the Knights last weekend, but didn’t panic despite being 14-0 down. They scored piled on the points in the closing stages of the first half and the opening stages of the second to blow the Knights away.

The Tigers are going to have to defend at least as well as they have recently - and probably better - if they hope to cause an upset. They have conceded a total of just 38 points in their three recent wins.This is a Tigers home game, but playing at the SFS hardly represents a big advantage to them. They have got some chance of winning this game, but the Sea Eagles deserve to be warm favourites.

Wests Tigers v Manly, Monday 7pm (EST), Sydney Football Stadium
The Adjudicator says: > "The Adjudicator told you this would happen. The Tigers would give all residents of Leichhardt and Campbelltown false hope that their season was destined for revival. But here comes the fall. Manly are back to their smarmy best, even giving teams head starts before running them down and piling 40-plus points of pain on them. Apparently this week they aren’t even going to arrive at the ground until half-time and will still take unbackable odds into the game. I want to believe that “05 is still alive” in the Tigers’ den, but I’ve read this script before – > and the nice guys finish last.> "

Hey Z….Are u the Adjudicator…When did you get the gig at Foxsports…

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