LOTE TUQIRI PRAISES RIGHT SIDE DEFENCE
By Wayne Cousins
10/09/2011 3:11:25 PM
Wests Tigers left winger Lote Tuqiri has praised the team’s right side defence following a gutsy performance in the 21-12 win over St George Illawarra Dragons in the opening qualifying final at ANZ Stadium last night.
Tuqiri said the right edge defence of centre Blake Ayshford and winger Beau Ryan did a commendable job in shutting down the lethal left edge attack of the Dragons.
“I’ve got to commend our right side. They got tested out left, right and centre in defence,’’ Tuqiri said.
“They certainly worked hard and they shut Matt Cooper down. He starts a lot of their stuff and we even went that way in our attack. We scored all of our points down that side.
“I’ve got to pat them on the back because they were unbelievable.”
Tuqiri said he was proud of the way his team-mates stuck with the Dragons in the second half after an ordinary first half that saw St George-Illawarra lead 12-6 at the break.
“We just stuck in, we stuck in. We had done the hard work,’’ Tuqiri said.
“We have done that all year, certainly the last 8 weeks. We have to claw teams back and we believe in what we are doing and what has got us out trouble.
“We back ourselves and that’s been the mainstay of what we’ve done. It is a real good team vibe at the moment. It is good to be apart of.
“Everyone in this team is putting in. It was a great team effort. It was a great win.”
Tuqiri said the team enjoyed being overlooked by tipsters ahead of the match.
“It was really good for us this week that no one gave us a chance,’’ he said.
“The bookies didn’t gave us a chance and that probably worked in our favour.
“We knew we could beat those blokes because we had the runs on the board in having eight wins behind us.”