Finals countdown: Wests Tigers v Sydney Roosters Glenn Jackson
September 7, 2010
Qualifying final 2
(3) Wests Tigers v (6) Sydney Roosters
Saturday, 6.30pm, SFS
Why it’s been a good year
Wests Tigers - The things that made them great are the same things that made them grate; wonderful to watch if you wanted entertainment but awful if you wanted a pleasing result at the end of it. In being unable to reach the finals since 2005, they have been rugby league’s beauty queen - great to look at but with little substance. No longer.
Sydney Roosters - Last year’s wooden spoon, combined with a litany of off-field problems, made them the ageing beauty queen - no longer great to look at and always seen with a stiff drink in hand. But with their stars giving up the grog, they were able to run amok in places other than the nearest nightclub. Anywhere is better than last, but sixth is a remarkable effort.
Why it could be a great year
Wests Tigers - They have not lost a finals match. Of course, they have played only four - the run that took them to the 2005 title - but it certainly proves that free-flowing, ad-lib football can be effective in games that are notoriously tight.
Sydney Roosters - If you need convincing how quickly fortunes can turn in this game, consider that last year’s premiers are the new wooden spooners. So why can’t the last-placed side of last year reverse that effort? Young and effervescent, but with some sages mixed in and Brian Smith as coach, they are capable.
Wests Tigers - A cold, miserable night in Newcastle turned the tide in favour of the Tigers. A week earlier, they were beaten 50-10 by South Sydney; the pressure was heaped on coach Tim Sheens and there were accusations of player disharmony. Their 23-6 win over the Knights in round 11 was followed by three more victories - and the Tigers got their groove back.
Sydney Roosters - Unleashed their true potential against Parramatta in round 21 with a performance as good as any this season - and arguably as good as any the Eels produced last year. They won 48-12.
In a nutshell
No longer is this as simple as east meets west. The redistribution of both clubs’ boundaries means the Roosters stretch well west of Bondi Junction and Wests now exist further east than Campbelltown. It’s the Sydney Roosters against the Wests/Inner West Tigers. These two teams - shock horror - now have a bit in common. Along with Canberra, they have provided the most entertainment of all clubs this season. What do you get when you put two such attractive young thangs together? Is Shiloh Jolie-Pitt ugly?