Roosters v Wests Tigers
Sydney Football Stadium
Most would not have expected both of these teams to enter this contest with winning form but it is indeed how this match shapes up – and consequently we can expect a rip-roaring, ‘old school’ Sunday afternoon bell-ringer.
The Roosters drove up the F3 last weekend and took care of the Knights to give themselves a real chance of offloading the wooden spoon. They are acutely aware it will take at least another victory to maybe do so and with matches against top-eight sides Manly, the Bulldogs, Melbourne and North Queensland to come, this shapes as their best opportunity.
The stakes are much higher for the Wests Tigers who stretched their winning run to four games by disposing of the Sea Eagles last Monday night.
The joint-venture unit has pushed up into ninth place on the NRL ladder, just a win behind the eighth-placed Knights, but they must keep winning to have a hope of pushing up and into the finals zone.
Quite simply, with matches against the Roosters here and then the Sharks, the Tigers have to be eyeing off six in a row, something they’ll need to do to be a finals factor.
They then finish with matches against the Eels, Titans and Bulldogs.
It is possible they could make the semis with three wins from the last five, probable they’d make it with four of five, and almost certain with five from five.
It’s no shock to learn coach Tim Sheens has kept the same 17-man squad who beat the Sea Eagles, adding just Dean Collis as an 18th man.
For the Roosters, coach Brad Fittler has pulled a selection shock by naming Anthony Minichiello at five-eighth after he missed last week’s match through injury.
Ben Jones has been pushed to the bench to make way for Minichiello to play in a position he has not yet seen at the elite level.
Watch out Roosters: The attacking tag team of Benji Marshall and Robbie Farah is back in full swing and they might just go on a ‘mini’ rampage… pun intended. With Anthony Minichiello set to be defending in the front line you can bet Farah and Marshall will look to go straight at the former Golden Boot winner.
Marshall has a whopping 19 line-break assists this season, Farah has 15 and when it comes to try assists they are both also right up amongst the best. Marshall has 19 for the year, Farah 17.
But these two aren’t the only weapons in the Tigers’ arsenal… winger Taniela Tuiaki has been the winger of the season by far with his constant busts and tries. He is now averaging 129 metres a match, has 17 tries in 19 games and 21 line breaks to go with 102 tackle breaks.
Watch out Wests Tigers: Big Willie Mason was back to his running best against the Knights last weekend and just might be enjoying his football again. Mason is still a big kid at heart and is by nature a ‘button pusher’, or someone who likes to do things because they annoy others.
Consequently he’d love nothing more than to ruin the Wests Tigers’ momentum towards the finals with a big performance. Mason ran for 136 metres last week and scored a try, which was a boost to his averages. He now is making 96 metres a game but has the ability to push it into triple figures with another big performance.
Watch the big man closely… if he gets involved heavily early you can tell he is primed for a big one. If he stays out of the way, it won’t be his night.
Where it will be won: Tries from kicks. These two sides have massive reliance on, and an inability to stop, tries from kicks which makes this the crucial aspect of this game.
It is likely to be a bit of a shoot-out, assuming the Roosters can stay focussed in defence, and as such the boot will come into play often.
The Wests Tigers have scored 17 tries from kicks this year, which is second in the NRL, and while the Roosters have just 12 it is still a move they look to often. They should look harder than usual this week as the Wests Tigers have conceded 17 tries to the boot, which makes them fourth worst in the NRL. But they can also expect to be bombarded considering the 22 tries they have leaked to kicks makes them the worst in the league.
When a kick goes up or through the line both teams need to put more effort into getting back and helping out instead of expecting miracles from team-mates isolated at the back.
The History: Played 14; Roosters 8, Wests Tigers 6. The Wests Tigers punished the Roosters at this venue earlier this season to the tune of 40-24, their biggest ever win over the tri-colours. But the past eight games are split four apiece. There have been six games between the two sides played at the SFS, with the Roosters winning four and the Tigers two.
Conclusion: The run of four wins should be extended to five for the Wests Tigers, given the importance of this game. There are plenty of holes in the Roosters’ defence to exploit and with so much to play for there are simply no excuses.
But the past three seasons have thrown up some awful late-season games by the joint venture, particularly in games they should have won, so don’t get over-confident in their ability to get the job done. Tip them by all means… but sweat on it like the rest of us!
Match officials: Referees – Gavin Badger & Tony De Las Heras; Sideline Officials – Russell Turner & Mohamad Fajajo; Video Ref – Phil Cooley.
Televised: Fox Sports – Live 2pm.
Ah it’s simple, put Gareth straight on Big Willie show him what real football is about. Quick Play the balls unlike Manly who somehow got to lay on the tackled player much longer than us, this will tire out the big roosters pack. Benji not to do short kicking!!! Leave it to farah and Moltzen. Finally target MINI!!! the guys a fricken fullback playing 6. Get Ellis, Galea and big Keith to run it straight at him. Show him what he is in for playing no.6
Preview: Roosters v Wests Tigers
Scott Brooks, Sportal
VENUE & TIME: Sydney Football Stadium, Sunday August 9, 2.00pm (AEST).
COVERAGE: Fox Sports 2
LAST TIME: Tigers 40 - Roosters 24 at SFS, Round 3, 2009
WALKING WOUNDED: Departing Roosters coach Brad Fittler has almost eclipsed his Braith Anasta selection clanger from earlier in the year by whacking Anthony Minichiello in the No. 6 jersey for this clash. ‘Mini’ has spent a career doing his best not to pass the ball, but that will obviously have to change on Sunday as he slips into a playmaking role. Roosters unavailable for this clash include Mark O’Meley (knee -season), Braith Anasta (ankle - season), James Aubusson (knee - season), Anthony Cherrington ( knee - season) and Nate Myles (suspension).
Tigers forwards Chris Heighington and Keith Galloway made successful returns from injury last Monday night and both will be used again from the interchange bench on Sunday. Utility Dean Halatau (knee) is due back in Round 24.
FORM: Many passionate Roosters fans were left in a bemused state following their club’s convincing 30-18 upset win over the Knights in Newcastle last Saturday night. The Chooks have been awful for much of the season yet on Saturday night, with their coach-in-waiting (Brian Smith) casting an eye over proceedings, the wooden spoon favourites all of a sudden resembled a top-four side. Peculiar to say the least.
The Tigers are now sitting just two-points out of the top-eight following their nail-biting 19-18 defeat over reigning premier Manly at the SFS on Monday night. It was all systems go for the Tigers in the first half as they raced to an 18-0 lead before a 62nd minute Robbie Farah field goal proved the difference in a second 40 minutes completely dominated by the Sea Eagles. They are on a four-game winning streak and counting with a couple of easier games on the horizon in the next few weeks.
WHO’S HOT: It’s a damn shame the NRL salary cap does not include adequate concessions for stalwart players at clubs. England-bound Roosters skipper Craig Fitzgibbon proved against Newcastle he still possesses the goods to be dishing it out in the NRL for at least another season yet. He topped the tackle count for his side against the Knights and made the most metres of any Roosters forward. Oh yeah…he set the tone of the match by scoring the opening try as well.
WE THINK: The Tigers play the bottom two sides over the next fortnight before finishing the premiership rounds with three tough clashes against in-form Eels, Titans and Bulldogs. With that in mind, they should be primed for a huge performance, especially with many of their previously injured stars now back on deck. The Roosters’ performance last week was nothing more than a flash in the pan from a bunch of players keen to impress their incoming coach. Tigers by 18.
From the SMH:
Sydney Roosters v Wests Tigers
Greg Prichard | August 7, 2009
Sunday, SFS, 2pm
Referees: Gavin Badger, Tony De Las Heras
Head to head: Roosters 8, Tigers 6
Last clash: Tigers 40-24 at SFS (Rd 3, 2009)
TAB Sportsbet: Roosters $2.90, Tigers $1.40
FootyTAB: Roosters +7.5 points
Late-season revelations the Tigers continue their bid for a place in the finals. They have won four in a row to move to ninth place, just two points outside the top eight, and will finish the round in the eight if they win and the Eels beat the Knights. Hell, they could finish it in seventh place if they win and the Knights and Sea Eagles both lose, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
The Tigers will certainly be trying hard not to look ahead, or they will get distracted from the only job that really matters to them this weekend - winning this game.
The Tigers have beaten the Rabbitohs, Cowboys, Raiders and Sea Eagles during their surge. They began very well against the Sea Eagles on Monday night, building an 18-0 lead during the first half. The Sea Eagles finished the better, but Tigers hooker Robbie Farah’s second-half field goal proved decisive in the 19-18 win. It looks easier against the Roosters on paper, but the Roosters found some late-season motivation themselves last weekend, when they upset the Knights in Newcastle.
The Roosters are still missing several big-name players because of injury and suspension, but second-rower Willie Mason has bounced back to form and they get Anthony Minichiello back this week after he missed the Knights game injured. Roosters coach Brad Fittler has named Minichiello in the unfamiliar position of five-eighth. It remains to be seen how much of the game he plays there.
The Tigers ran away from the Roosters late in the game when they met in round three. It was 40-24 to the Tigers then. The Tigers, who got forwards Keith Galloway and Chris Heighington back from injury against the Roosters and are really only missing Dene Halatau from their first-choice team now, are warm favourites.
Roosters v Wests Tigers
Sydney Football Stadium
The Wests Tigers have scored 17 tries from kicks this year, which is second in the NRL
Can that be right? I thought we almost never scored off kicks (unless they are adding in ones like Marshall’s try from Lyon’s kick on Monday night)…
I think we are not big on scoring from bombs, we don’t do it often but we have used the kick behind the line alot because teams try to rush our outsides to cut off our attack.
If I had to guess our percentage convertig attacking kicks would be pretty high because we are not a side like the Roosters and Broncos (with Israel) who just seem to have kick to tall winger as their only option on the last
gee, I really hope that wests-tigers play consistent good footy.
build pressure, no dumb penalties on the 4th or 5th tackle.
do not push the pass when its not on.
its not going to be an easy game by any means.
if each player does their job well, wests-tigers should come away with the two points.