WESTS TIGERS BEAT SHARKS 56-10 IN NRL
By Wayne Cousins at Toyota Stadium
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Wests Tigers made it six consecutive wins with a thumping 56-10 victory over Cronulla Sharks at Toyota Park on Sunday, August 16, in round 23 of the Telstra Premiership.
The win moves Wests Tigers to 26 points and in fifth place, depending on the result of the Brisbane-Penrith match. A Penrith win will see Wests Tigers in sixth position.
Wests Tigers half-back Robert Lui had his parents, Wasse and Phillip, and grandmother Anima at the game after the club flew them down from Mt Isa and Townsville respectively to watch his NRL debut.
The Sharks dominated the opening five minutes through posession and attacked the Wests Tigers line on three separate occassions through consecutive penalties but the defence held firm.
Wests Tigers opened the scoring in the 10th minute when an inside ball by five-eighth Benji Marshall saw him link up with full-back Tim Moltzen who then drew in the full-back for Marshall to score under the posts in his 100th game for the club.
Marshall converted the try for a 6-0 lead.
The Sharks did not help their cause when they failed to find touch 10 metres out from the sideline from a penalty kick downfield.
Wests Tigers stretched their lead to 10-0 when a grubber kick by Lui was spilt by Sharks winger Misi Taulapapa for centre Blake Ayshford to score. Marshall failed to convert the try from the sideline to leave it at 10-0 after 18 minutes.
Some good lead up work by international second-rower Gareth Ellis and prop John Skandalis saw play taken to 10 metres short of the Sharks line.
On the next play and the last tackle, the ball was spread right with hooker and captain Robbie Farah delivering a long cut out pass for winger Beau Ryan to score.
Marshall converted the try for a 16-0 lead after 26 minutes.
The Sharks went close to scoring in the 28 minute when an inside pass from a crossfield kick saw Marshall take an intercept on his line. A few plays later, Wests Tigers dropped the ball to give the Sharks a scrum feed 25 metres out.
Video referee Phil Cooley was called on in the 31st minute to rule if Taulapapa scored in the corner after a short raid by second-rower Paul Gallen and full-back Nathan Stapleton. Replays showed Taulapapa had a foot on the line and had dropped the ball in diving over, so the try was not awarded.
A dummy half break by Farah five metres out from his own line saw him race to the 40 metre line before offloading an inside pass to powerful winger Taniela Tuiaki to race the length of the field to score behind the posts. Marshall converted the try for a 22-0 lead after 34 minutes.
Tuiaki grabbed his second try on the siren when he finished off a crossfield run from Ryan that saw Marshall throw a long cut out pass for the winger to score. It came after Ryan had received the ball from Ayshford.
Tuiaki’s second try now sees him equal Pat Richards’ record of most tries in a season of 20 set in 2005. Richards achieved his 20 tries in 28 games which included the finals. Tuiaki has achieved 20 tries in 21 games.
Marshall converted the try from the sideline to give Wests Tigers a 28-0 lead at half-time.
A loose pass from the Sharks saw prop Keith Galloway pick the ball up and pass it to Moltzen who stepped and weaved past a few defenders to race 85 metres to score under the posts for his second try. Marshall converted the try for a 34-0 lead after 44 minutes.
The video referee denied a try to Ryan in the 53rd minute after it was ruled the ball had touched Ryan and into Taulapapa for Ryan to catch and race away to score.
Two minutes later, the video referee was called on again to rule whether centre Mitch Brown had grounded the ball after he put a grubber kick through to score. The try was awarded for a 34-4 lead. Covell missed the conversion from the sideline.
Ironically, Brown scored against the team he will play for next season.
Ryan was not to be denied in the 58th minute when a Farah grubber kick on the run saw the ball bounce up over Taulapapa for Ryan to regather and score in the corner.
Marshall failed to convert the try for a 38-4 lead.
John Morris has taken to the field for the first time to replace Farah, who has been given a rest by coach Tim Sheens.
Marshall grabbed his second try when he easily stepped past full-back Nathan Stapleton to race 45 metres to score under the posts. The try started after Moltzen fielded a kick, passed to Tuiaki who passed it back to Moltzen before he offloaded to Marshall to run down the sideline before stepping Stapleton.
Marshall converted the try for a 44-4 lead.
Two minutes later, Ayshford grabbed his second try when he scored out wide after a long cut out pass by Moltzen. It came after an intial break by Marshall and support play by Moltzen and Lui.
Marshall converted the try to give Wests Tigers a 50-4 lead after 67 minutes.
The Sharks gave those supporters still at the ground a reason to cheer when five-eighth Matt Wright stepped past some tired defenders to score under the posts. Covell converted the try for a 50-10 scoreline after70 minutes.
Wests Tigers prop Todd Payten was placed on report after the try for a lifting tackle.
Sharks centre Ben Pomeroy made a break down the right flank only to send a poor pass to Covell into touch.
Tuiaki scored his third try when he finished off a backline play to score behind the posts to set a new record of most tries in a season with 21 tries in 21 games to break the record of Pat Richards.
Marshall converted the try for a 56-10 lead with a minute remaining.
The final minute saw Marshall attempt a 45 metre field goal but it went wide.