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Post by willow » Mon 21 Apr, 2014 7:37 pm

Wests Tigers edge Eels in Easter thriller

By Chris Kennedy, National Correspondent
6:15pm Mon 21st April, 2014

A Luke Brooks field goal and a booming Pat Richards penalty from halfway have helped Wests Tigers edge out Parramatta 21-18 in a thrilling end-to-end Easter Monday special, played in front of a record-breaking crowd of 50,668 at ANZ Stadium.

The Eels outscored the visitors four tries to three on the back of a healthy dose of Jarryd Hayne magic but Chris Sandow's one goal from four attempts and Richards' four from four, plus Brooks' field goal, proved the difference.

Two of the Tigers' tries were length-of-the-field efforts against the run of play, putting an exclamation mark on the nature of the game - one decided as much by crucial errors as attacking brilliance – with both sides producing plenty of each.

The crowd that filed in for the frenetic, occasionally scrappy but hugely entertaining Easter Monday clash was the biggest of the year so far, the most ever for an Eels game against Balmain or Wests Tigers, and the highest Eels regular season home crowd at ANZ Stadium. It was only slightly short of Parramatta's best ever regular season home crowd of 51,919 against St George at the SCG in 1964.

Parramatta started the stronger of the two sides, with Hayne registering a double within 23 minutes of the kick off.

The first followed some good lead up work from Sandow, who double-pumped close to the line to put his fullback into half a gap, from where Hayne surged through the line and used his considerable strength to shrug off several defenders and plant the ball inside the right hand corner post.

He scored his second on almost the same blade of grass 15 minutes later on the back of one of the Tigers' eight first half errors, this time going himself with a clean line break 20 out and streaking away to beat Tigers fullback Kurtis Rowe to the line.

However Sandow failed to convert both four-pointers, to help keep the Tigers within striking distance.

The Eels continued to play enterprising and attacking footy, with a number of risky offloads hitting their mark and a Sandow chip and chase almost reaping rewards.

However, they went to the break just two ahead when a dubious penalty against Hayne for not being square at marker when looking to pin the Tigers to their own goal line helped the away side march downfield.

From there Blake Austin – a late call up for Liam Fulton who pulled out with a shoulder complaint – got his side on the scoreboard just two minutes before half-time. A good angled run close to the line wrong footed Pauli Pauli and he squeezed past David Gower to score.

Shortly after the resumption a poor Hayne pass with the Eels on the attack was cleaned up by Brooks, who raced the length of the field to score and put his side in front for the first time.

The Eels reclaimed the lead shortly after through a brilliant Hayne chip to the right wing, where an even more brilliant mark from winger Ken Sio on the half volley allowed him to beat his man one-on-one to score.

Sandow, who produced a number of great long kicks while looking for 40/20s, finally found one around the three-quarter mark but undid his good work with a wayward intercept pass to Richards. The big Tigers winger raced the length to score and then converted his own try, further stretching his lead at the top of the season point-scorers list and putting his side up 18-14.

Parramatta try-scoring ace Semi Radradra then reclaimed the outright lead atop the NRL season tally with his 10th four-pointer of the season. A Hayne cut-out pass put Sio away down the right hand touch line and with the Tigers still back-pedalling, a quick shift to the left and a great pass from Joe Paulo helped put Radradra over unmarked.

Although he improved the position, Sandow produced his third missed conversion of the afternoon.

With the scores locked at 18-all in the dying minutes, Eels co-captain Tim Mannah dropped the ball cold coming out of his own end to put the visitors in field goal range and on the last play of the set Brooks produced an cool-headed strike to put his side up by one.

With Parramatta's attempted short kick off not travelling 10 metres, the Tigers opted to put the long boot of Richards to use and he drove a penalty kick from half way between the posts to round off a thrilling 21-18 win.

Wests Tigers 21 (Austin, Brooks, Richards tries; Richards 4 goals, Brooks field goal) defeated Parramatta 18 (Hayne 2, Sio, Radradra tries; Sandow goal) at ANZ Stadium. Crowd: 50,668.

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Post by willow » Mon 21 Apr, 2014 7:41 pm

Wests Tigers get 21-18 NRL win over Parramatta Eels in front of bumper Easter Monday crowd

Updated 1 hour 2 minutes ago

The reputation of Wests Tigers half-back Luke Brooks continued to soar after the 19-year-old inspired his side to a 21-18 win over Parramatta in a magnificent NRL encounter in front of more than 50,000 fans at Sydney's Olympic stadium.

Brooks kicked a field goal two minutes from full-time on Monday to give his side a one-point advantage before Pat Richards booted a huge penalty goal to seal the two points.

Both sides played their part in a topsy-turvy clash that ebbed one way then flowed the other as the Tigers made the Eels pay for a woeful day with the boot for Chris Sandow.

Sandow kicked one from four attempts including a miss from not far left of the posts after wing sensation Semi Radradra looked to have won the game with his 10th try of the season with four minutes remaining.

Mick Potter's side now moves to 5-2 for the season - the joint-venture's best start to a season - and they did so without injured skipper Robbie Farah and veteran Liam Fulton.

Two first-half tries to Jarryd Hayne gave the Eels an early lead, but Blake Austin's four-pointer under the posts, converted by Richards, closed the deficit to 8-6 at the break.

Hayne was superb in the opening stanza, but early in the second half his poor offload was scooped up by Brooks and the youngster raced 80 metres to score with Richards' conversion giving his side the lead.

Hayne atoned for his error in the 51st minute with a brilliant chip kick that landed into the grateful arms of Ken Sio who raced over the try-line.

A Sandow 40-20 gave the Eels perfect field position in front of the Tigers' posts, but the former South Sydney play-maker overplayed his hand in looking for Will Hopoate and Richards intercepted the loose pass and raced for a length-of-the-field try.

Parramatta refused to lie down and Hopoate looked to have scored after on-field officials ruled his effort was good only for it to be over-ruled by the video referees who deemed Brooks had been obstructed by prop David Gower.

They did get the green lights when Radradra maintained his record of scoring in every single game this year following a sweeping cross-field move.

But Sandow's kick then sailed wide and Brooks, who has already been tagged as a future representative half-back, booted his field goal two minutes from time.

As if to drive home the already significant gap between the opposing half-back's days, Sandow then failed to send his kick-off the requisite 10 metres and Richards comfortably converted the 50-metre penalty goal.

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Post by willow » Mon 21 Apr, 2014 9:02 pm

Potter salutes his Tiger cubs

Date - April 21, 2014 - 7:34PM
Ian McCullough

Wests Tigers coach Mick Potter says his young side's 21-18 win over Parramatta without inspirational skipper Robbie Farah on Monday was a huge step forward in their development.

A halfback masterclass from 19-year-old Luke Brooks, who kicked the go-ahead field goal three minutes from fulltime - having earlier scored a runaway try - was the difference between the sides in an enthralling encounter in front of a crowd of more than 50,00 at ANZ Stadium.

Both sides made their fair share of errors but in a topsy-turvy affair, it did little to detract from a thoroughly enjoyable game that was only sealed in the Tigers' favour with Pat Richards' booming penalty goal from halfway with under two minutes remaining.

However, it was Brooks who stole the show and Potter was delighted with how the youngster, already tipped as a future NSW Origin representative, coped with the occasion.

"I think he's still developing, but he kicked a match-winning field goal and his kicking got better once he got into a routine," Potter said.

"He takes it in his stride, if he was playing park footy he would be the same. It really doesn't faze him. He's good to coach and he's good to watch.

"Winning without Robbie, (James) Tedesco and Liam Fulton was above and beyond for these players.

"I think the confidence the young guys will get from this result is going to stand us in good stead for when things get tight and tough later in the season."

Stand-in Tigers captain Braith Anasta echoed Potter's sentiments about Brooks.

"He doesn't seem to be put under pressure too much and he handles every situation with ease," Anasta said.

"He stays really relaxed and I asked him leading up to the field goal if he wanted to take it and he said 'give it to me' and I teed him up.

"He put it over the middle like it was just routine.

"We've come a long way in 12 months. We didn't play our best but we won in adversity as they were all over us."

The vastly experienced Anasta said playing alongside Brooks and young guns like fullback Kurtis Rowe and winger David Nofoaluma had reinvigorated his career.

"It's been good for me, I am coming to the end and it has given me a new lease of life and motivates me every day looking at the young blokes and how good they are," he said.

Parramatta coach Brad Arthur said his side were let down by a lack of composure but refused to point the finger of blame at Chris Sandow, who missed three very kickable conversions.

"At times we were looking for a quick fix and a quick way of winning the game," said Arthur.

"We needed to be better to win the game. They scored two tries from our errors and we need to learn how to close the game out.

"It would have been nice to kick the goal, but we had enough opportunities to win the game."

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Post by willow » Mon 21 Apr, 2014 9:03 pm

Luke Brooks denies diving to win obstruction call in Wests Tigers' win over Parramatta

Date - April 21, 2014 - 7:48PM
Chris Barrett
Sports Writer

Wests Tigers' teenage hero Luke Brooks has shrugged off suggestions he took a dive in a crucial incident late in the Easter Monday thriller against Parramatta, with the obstruction issue again casting a shadow over the outcome to an NRL game.

On a day in which Benji Marshall’s impending return to rugby league was revealed, the next generation Wests Tigers general continued to show that the resurgent club has well and truly moved on from their their former playmaking master.

The burgeoning reputation of 19-year-old Brooks was only enhanced when he clinched victory over the Eels for Mick Potter’s side with a late field before a bumper crowd of 50,668 at ANZ Stadium. Fringe NSW wing candidate Pat Richards applied the finishing touches with a penalty goal from the halfway line as the seconds ticked down.

Parramatta were left to rue an opportunity blown. They gift-wrapped two runaway tries to the Tigers – scored by Brooks and Richards – and halfback Chris Sandow landed only one from four conversion attempts, missing a chance at 18-18 in the dying stages to edge the Eels back in front.

They were also left unhappy at controversially being denied in the 72nd minute when Will Hopoate crossed only for the video officials to disallow the try due to an obstruction. Brooks, again, was involved, knocked over by Eels forward David Gower in the lead-up. It was enough for on-field referee Matt Cecchin’s decision to be overturned by the men upstairs. Winger Semi Radradra scored his 10th try of the season soon after, but Parramatta coach Brad Arthur was not impressed.

‘‘I don’t know what an obstruction is any more and I just think as coaches we’ll start to encourage our players to take a dive. Dave Gower clearly got back on [Brooks’] inside shoulder. That’s the rule. He went through the line sideways,’’ Arthur said.

Eels captain Jarryd Hayne had put his side ahead with a first-half double and after a weekend marred by obstruction calls was also perplexed. ‘‘I think the players, the fans and the coaches just want consistency,’’ Hayne said. ‘‘Every week it seems like it’s changing. As soon as it gets to be a media storm they get a bit of fear behind them, the video refs. It’s pretty clear that Gowie didn’t take him out. I think for us if that’s going to be the rules then stay with it. Don’t come back next week ... media storm, they start getting scared again. If that’s the way it is, then keep it. It’s disappointing.’’

Brooks denied any suggestion he had dived. ‘‘I don’t think so,’’ Brooks said. ‘‘He ran into me. I couldn’t do anything else.’’

The episode did not deserve to take the gloss off his fine showing at the death, stepping up to pot a match-winning one-pointer in only his eighth NRL match to give the Tigers five wins from seven matches. Brooks said he was calm as the field goal attempt approached, two minutes from full-time. ‘‘We’ve done that at training, practised it, so I didn’t feel too much pressure,’’ he said.

Potter was impressed with the desperation of his team in the absence of captain Robbie Farah, and said Brooks was not fazed by the big crowd. ‘‘I think he takes it in his stride. If he was playing park footy he’d do the same thing as if it was in front of 50,000,’’ the coach said. ‘‘I don’t think it fazes him, he’s just so casual. He’s good to coach and he’s good to watch.’’

The Tigers’ stand-in captain Braith Anasta added of his halves partner: ‘‘He’s very composed no matter what the situation,’’ Anasta said. ‘‘I said to him before that last play when he got the field goal, ‘Do you want to take it?’ And he goes ‘Yeah give it to me’. He just put it straight over the middle. It was just like it was routine.’’

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