Willow's match report and player review

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Willow's match report and player review

Post by willow » Mon 15 Mar, 2010 10:35 pm

Round 1 of the the NRL saw the Wests Tigers take on the Manly Sea Eagles at the SFS on a Monday night. There was plenty of buildup for the Tigers in the lead up to this week’s match, with dual international Lote Tuqiri named to play for the Tigers after arriving back in Australia mid-week after playing Rugby in the UK for the past few months and creating plenty of headlines in the meantime. Manly were not helped with the loss of David “Wolfman” Williams as he dislocated his shoulder at training on gameday. So just how would the Tigers stack up against competition heavyweights Manly?

1st half:
The Tigers received the ball from the kickoff and were rewarded with an early penalty to help get them out of their dangerzone. A well placed kick from Rob Lui was regathered by Manly, however the Tigers did well to force the Eagles in their in-goal. A loose Tigers offload on the next set was knocked on by Manly close to their line giving the Tigers great field position 10 metres out. The Tigers scored from the scrum through new recruit Lote Tuqiri. It came off a well worked Tigers short side play as a nice cutout pass from Farah found Chris Lawrence who hit the ball at pace and went close to scoring however he was able to offload to Tuqir who crossed in the corner to the rapture of the crowd. Marshall’s sideline conversion attempt hooked to the left of the posts to give the Tigers a 4-0 lead.

Again from the re-start the Tigers were gifted a penalty which was promptly taken by Marshall who scooted off downfield. Moments later Keith Galloway flattened Jason King in a great run and the Tigers scored on the next play through Beau Ryan after some good leadup work by Rob Lui and Blake Ayshford. The pass however was ruled forward. There didn’t look to be much in it though. Tuqiri got in on the action shortly after with a good shot on Manly giant Williams.

Some good hits by Manly in defence were costin them though, as they continued to give the Tigers penalties allowing them out of the dangerzone. The up-tempo game being played by the Tigers was working well, forcing Manly to work out of their own dangerzone regularly, however after 11 minutes the Tigers finally gave away their first penalty. Manly put together a good attacking set on the Tigers line however the Tigers scrambled well and defused the cross field kick at the end of the set.

Again the Tiges gave away a penalty allowing Manly out of their own end. The Tigers numbered up well in defence though and another cross field kick was defused easily by Tuqiri. After 16 minutes Junior Moors replaced Gibbs and Galloway by Cayless. A good tackle by Heighington saw Glenn Stewart turn over possession to the Tigers in decent field position. The Tigers were able to force their second line dropout for the night. A clever show and go from Marshall saw him have the ball stripped by Williams in a good play. This play didn’t come back to bite the Tigers though as their defence held solid.
The Tigers defence finally cracked in the 24th minute as Manly finally found their range with a cross-field kick which was taken well by Robertson. Lyon’s conversion was successful and Manly now led 6-4 after 26 minutes.

The Tigers had a close call from the next set as Tim Moltzen spilt a bomb which was cleaned up by Tuqiri, however Juniors Moors knocked the ball on moments later, giving Manly great field position. The Tigers couldn’t hold as Glenn Stewart scored a simple try on the Tigers left edge defence. Lyon’s conversion was successful and Manly now led 12-4 after 30 minutes. Possession had now swung Manly’s way dramatically as Galloway and Gibbs were thrown back into the fray. A well taken bomb by Tuqiri was undone by Chris Heighington being penalised for running into Lyon. George Rose extended Manly’s lead after destroying the Tigers up the middle, beating Heighington and Galloway and scoring under the posts. Lyon made no mistake with the conversion and the score had now blown out to 18-4.

Thins didn’t get any better for the Tigers as Manly got away with another strip, this time on Tuqiri. The Tigers defence thankfully held this time. A nice run from Marshall saw the Tigers finally get back into Manly’s half and a nice kick from Farah saw the ball spilt by Beau Ryan who would have done well to score just before halftime. Right on cue the Tigers gave away another penalty giving Manly an easy shot at goal which they didn’t miss to give them a comfortable 20-4 lead.

Watching the teams go to the sheds, one thing was apparent, Manly’s extra size in the middle of the field was now proving damaging to the Tiges, particularly George Rose who simply rolled forward at will with 97 metres in attack from 9 hitups. It was the same old story for the Tigers with the team struggling to shut down Manly’s second phase play and some poor goal line defence.

2nd half:
The Tigers kicked off and struggled to contain Manly from the opening set as they continued to surge forward. A wide play by the Tigers saw Tuqiri in open space before he kicked ahead for Marshall. Manly came up with the ball however and went back on the attack. The Tigers survived though but were forced to work their way out of their dangerzone and looked disorganised. A nice break by the Tigers through Tim Moltzen and Blake Ayshford saw the Tigers wrapped up with the ball deep in Manly’s half. A big hit on Gareth Ellis from Tony Williams saw Robbie Farah milk a much needed penalty as Williams failed to clear the play the ball. Liam Fulton copped a high knock from the next set which saw the Tigers receive another penalty.

Fulton was replaced by Mark Flanagan who was making his FG debut for the Tigers. This time Whatmough gave away a penalty late in the penalty count as their defence was holding the Tigers firmly. The Tigers failed to capitalise as the Tigers made a mistake in offloading the ball through Ellis. The Tigers didn’t help their cause when Tim Moltzen lost the ball with the Tigers working the ball out of their own half. Bryce Gibbs gave away his first penalty for the season and then backed it up with a second for backchatting the ref. Luckily Manly dropped the ball on the Tigers line. Mark Flanagan’s first touch was one to forget as he dropped the ball cold, giving Manly great field position once again. Fortunately for the Tigers Manly knocked on in trying to regather a kick.
Chris Heighington who was having a mixed night was floored from a hit to the head which split his nose. Kite was placed on report and the Tigers received a much needed penalty. Robbie Farah turned in one of the worst kicks of his career as a cross field kick intended for Tuqiri sailed over the sideline was and was caught by someone in the crowd. Bryce Gibbs was the next Tigers to cop a high shot, again giving the Tigers a much needed penalty as they desperately tried to hang on. A nice short side play by Lawrence, Farah and Tuqiri saw the Tigers go close to scoring. They finally crossed the line moments later through Blake Ayshford. Liam Fulton was wiped out by Tony Williams leading up to the try. Ayshford’s try was the result of a good break made by Tim Moltzen out wide who found Ayshford on the inside in support. Marshall’s kick was successful to bring the score back to 20-10 with 20 minutes remaining.

The Tigers went back to back as only they can from the next set as a slow play the ball from Cayless saw Farah scoot out of dummyhalf finding Marshall who popped a nice inside ball to Moltzen who went straight through before drawing and passing to Liam Fulton who raced 30 metres to score. Marshall’s kick missed to leave the Tigers trailing 20-14 with 18 minutes remaining. Suddenly the Tigers lifted in defence, picking up their line speed to contain Manly. Unfortunately Beau Ryan gave away a penalty in the 65th minute allowing Manly to deep on the attack in the Tigers half. The Tigers came up with a desperate save as Manly looked set to score in the corner from a grubber kick. Chris Heighington’s disgraceful discipline gave away his third or fourth penalty of the night, resulting in Manly taking a shot for goal which Lyon converted to take the score out to 22-14 with 11 minutes remaining.

Manly went very close to scoring on the next set as the Tigers copped a horrible bounce from the kick. The Tigers had some luck of their own as Manly knocked on from a Tigers last play. The Tigers then came closer to Manly through Chris Lawrence as Benji Marshall held up a superb pass for Liam Fulton who found open space before drawing and offloading to Lawrence who was too strong for Robertson on the line. Benji finally landed a conversion to leave the Tigers trailing 22-20 with 7 minutes to go.

From the re-start the Tigers broke away down the sideline through Lote Tuqiri. Tuqiri did well to stay in play before the Tigers spread the ball to the right before Robbie Farah was jammed and put in a grubber kick which was brilliantly regather by Gareth Ellis who scored his first try in the NRL. It was an awesome piece of play leading up to the try. Brett Stewart was carried from the field as Marshall lined up the conversion which was successful to give the Tigers a 26-22 lead with 4 minutes remaining. Daniel Fitzhenry came on with 4 to go.

With 3 minutes remaining Manly were gifted a penalty with Junior Moors caught lying in the play the ball. Manly went on the attack however the Tigers defence was desperate as they held Manly out. Manly tried yet another strip however they knocked on in the process giving the Tigers a scrum feed 10 out from their own line. Daniel Fitzyhenry copped a heavy knock from George Rose which saw several Tigers rush in looking for blood. The replay showed Rose’s forearm cleaning up Fitzy’s head. Rose was given 10 in the bin and placed on report as the Tigers held on for a remarkable come-from-behind win in a highly entertaining match to end round 1.

Onto the players:

1. Moltzen – I thought his first half was crap. No real involvement in attack with a tendency to just looking to offload it rather than hit the line at speed and try and work an angle, a dropped bomb also had me shaking my head. To his credit though, Moltzen came alive in the second half, even if he did spill his second bomb for the night. He was instrumental in setting up Ayshford to get the Tigers back into it and then did well to back up Farah and Marshall to put Fulton away on the next set to really give the Tigers some momentum. I'm not entirely sold on him at fullback with some of his play but he did have a good second half. 89 metres in attack, 2 errors, 2 linebreaks, 2 linebreak assists.

2. Tuqiri – Couldn't ask for much more in his first game back in 7 years. Scored the Tigers opening try, ran hrd all night, was safe under the high ball and proved very solid in his first game in Tigers colours. His only real blemish came from losing the ball in a one-on-one strip, but a couple of other Tigers also suffered the same fate tonight. He was buggered at the end of the game, but got through fine. Good to see him in full flight down the sideline in the second half too. Would have been many a Tigers fan cheering him on I'm sure. 151 metres in attack, 1 error, 1 try, 2 linebreaks, 6 tackle breaks.

3. Ayshford – Good game from Blake I thought. Didn't get a lot of ball in the first half but he runs hard and has good natural strength, he takes some putting down. Scored a nice try in the second half and saw some more open space as the Tigers capitalised on possession. 115 metres in attack, 1 linebreak, 1 try and 14 tackles.

4. Lawrence – Good to see Lawrence get across the tryline to start the season. Had a good battle with big Tony Williams. Defended well and ran the ball hard despite seeing very little open space. 84 metres in attack, 1 try, 1 linebreak and 14 tackles.

5. Ryan – Quiet game tonight with not a lot of ball making it's way to him. Had one chance to cross the tryline at the end of the first half but the bounce didn't favor him. Otherwise Beau was safe, coming up with a couple of good kick fields and safe in defence. I'd like to see Pritchard get a go still. 51 metres in attack.

6. Marshall – Up there with Farah tonight as the pick of the Tigers IMO. Didn't overplay his hand in attack, his passing game was excellent and apart from one bad mis-read in defence in the first half, he defended soundly. General kicking wasn't bad but not great and goalkicking can and must improve. Solid start to the season for Benji IMO. 74 metres in attack, 2 linebreak assists.

7. Lui – I thought he started off quite solidly. His passing was good, although a couple went high at Marshall's head. His defence was pretty good and his kicking game was fine. Didn't take the line on like he did against the Sharks as he let Farah and Marshall dominate proceedings and I hope he gradually learns to stamp his own authority on the game as he does offer a lot in attack when he takes the line on. 15 tackles in an ok game. Room for improvement as we know, and he'll have to given the way Lazarus has started the season.

8. Gibbs – Solid game from Gibbs IMO and he didn't give away his first penalty until the second half, and followed it up wth a second for giving the ref a mouthful. Otherwise I thought he defended well and hit the line hard against the big Manly pack. Solid start to the season. 101 metres in attack, 22 tackles.

9. Farah – Very good game from Robbie as he directed the side well out of dummyhalf. threw some nice passes to help set up Tuqiri's try, Moltzen's break in the second half and a lovely grubber for Ellis to score. Busy in defence as usual. One poor kick over the sideline was the only real fault I could find, oh he gave away one penalty too. 54 metres in attack, 35 tackles, 1 error, 1 try assist.

10. Galloway – Pretty solid but room for improvement. Started off well including an excellent hit in attack which flattened Jason King. Was caught flat a couple of times which stopped him in his tracks and really looked much more imposing when hitting the line at speed where he was able to bend the line. Couldn't stop George Rose close to the Tigers line in the first half. 93 metres in attack, 18 tackles.

11. Fulton – Not a bad game at all. He'll be sore tomorrow for sure though. Got smashed a few times in attack, including one hit which saw Tony Williams placed on report for cleaning him up off the ball. Defended well and came up with some good tackles of his own and scored a fine try after Farah/Benji/Moltzen split Manly up the middle. Just needs to watch himself against the bigger packs but he'll go well in an open, fast game. 94 metres in attack, 1 try and 44 tackles to top the tackle count.

12. Ellis – Very solid game from Ellis and it was brilliant to see him score his first try in the NRL which also happened to be the winning try for the Tigers. Hit hard in defence and ran hard in attack, leading by example as usual. 91 metres in attack, 23 tackles, 1 try, 1 error in a strong game to start his second season in the NRL.

13. Heighington – Mixed game. First the bad...Discipline was atrocious, worst I've seen from Heighno and he cost the team 4 points through penalty goals as he gave away 3 penalties by my count. Otherwise I thought he was pretty good. Had a bad mis-read on the Rose try but ran hard all night and didn't get buckled like last year and got through plenty of work in defence. I'd say he'll be filthy on himself for giving away such silly penalties and his nose will be sore as Kite lined him up. 128 metres in attack and 35 tackles.

14. Cayless – Lacked impact and needs more gametime. Still half a yard too slow IMO as he adjust to the NRL again. With the Tigers being light on for props I don't see much option other than to persist him for now as I think he'll slowly come good as the season goes. Only 42 metres in attack and 9 tackles. The Tigers go-forward was definitely impacted when Cayless and Moors were on the field.

15. Moors – Same as Cayless, lacked impact, coughed up the ball in the first half and gave away a penalty in the second half. Needs to work harder out in the middle and has the makings for a decent player but he was down on where he'd like to be I'm sure. 51 metres in attack, 1 error and 8 tackles.

16. Flanagan – Will be lucky to hold his spot next week IMO. Terrible drop ball to start his first NRL game and got belted when he ran the ball. Didn't stay out there long in the end as he got rattled while making a tackle. Probably best off with BRET at this stage and getting used to the game out here. Like Fulton, he looks a bit small to make it in the backrow at the moment.

17. Fitzhenry - Got 5 minutes at the end of the game and he copped a cheap shot from George (I work at McDonalds as a customer) Rose. Will he be there next week? Sheens can improve his bench selections based on tonight.


Overall Analysis:

Attack:

The Tigers started off smartly, playing with plenty of energy and speed. They were rewarded early with a try to Tuqiri and continued to control the game for the first 15 minutes. As soon as Galloway and Gibbs were replaced, the Tigers go forward suffered noticeably though, as Cayless and Moors struggled to get over the advantage line. It was also at this time the Tigers started giving away penalties, allowing Manly back into the game.

The attack in the second half was good though, as the Tigers turned possession into points. No other team in the competition can score back-to-back tries like the Tigers can. They really can hurt a side in a short space of time and the did this tonight twice against Manly, with tries to Ayshford and Fulton, and then Lawrence and Ellis.

The Tigers also played more direct in the second half, the forwards went forward and Farah, Marshall and Moltzen all started to show what they can do with the ball. Tuqiri was given good ball on a couple of occasions and I can't wait to see Tuiaki back in the side. What a sight the Tigers will be then.

Only early days, but the Tigers attack looked decent when they had the ball.


Defence:

It left a lot to be desired in the first half when they gave away penalties and had to defend their own line. Manly's first try came from a cross field kick, but the next two tries were soft as the Tigers came up with bad mis-reads while on their own line. Moors and Marshall were poor in the Stewart try and Heighington and Galloway were poor in the Rose try.

To the Tigers credit though, they held Manly out in the second half and despite having majority possession, they scrambled well when Manly did have their chances. The goal line defence must improve if the Tigers are going to be a force this year though.


Kicking game:

It started off well with Lui, Farah and Marshall all chiming in. The Tigers forced two line drop outs in the first half and I didn't think it was a bad ploy when they kicked dead later in the half allowing their defensive line to set. There were also some ineffective kicks though on a couple of occasions when Manly was dominating field position. The kicking game improved in the second half as the Tigers were more effective at forcing Manly to play out of their own end.


Overall Stats (Manly in brackets)

Total tackles: 268 (272)
All run metres: 1279 (1065)
Penalties: 9 (9)
Errors: 8 (6)
Offloads: 7 (11)
Linebreaks: 6 (2)
Completions: 31 (31)
Possession: 53% (47%).

To conclude, it was a great come-from-behind win to the Tigers. They really looked down and out at halftime as Manly were in complete control and rolling forward easily. To their credit though, the Tigers cut out the poor discipline and held the ball while Manly started to fall away with cheap shots giving the Tigers good field position. The Tigers were always going to be the more dangerous side in attack if they had more ball and this proved to be the case as Farah, Marshall and Moltzen all stepped up in the second half to lead the Tigers to a great first up win over Manly.

Next Sunday sees the Tigers at the SFS again where they take on big winners the Roosters, who also gave the Tigersa touch up in the Foundation Cup. The Tigers will know what they need to do to beat the Roosters but this should be a cracker of a game as the Roosters have taken their good trial form into the season as they look to rebuild. Sheens will no doubt be telling the Tigers to work on their discipline and defence this week.

Hope you all found the report informative. Comments welcome as always. :sign:
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Peaches
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Post by Peaches » Mon 15 Mar, 2010 11:23 pm

Good report Willow.

Manly played much better when Galloway and Gibbs were subbed off and Rose came on. I think we were one big man short on the bench. The role of Flanagn and Fitzhenry should have been played by one player with and extra prop there. Schirnack or Fifita are the likely options. Cayless looked a bit slow while Moors tried a little too hard. Options are thin in that area with Payten out so they need to presist with them. Heighington was all over the place. Worked hard but dumb on occassions. Moltzen struggelled under the high ball. Need to defend stronger on the goal-line.

Benji ball-played vert well and Moltzen did great chiming in the attack in the 2nd half. Fulton and Ellis were strong while Farah controlled the tempo. Tuqiri was great though I think he could of backed himself to run it. He put a kick through for himself which he should have held. Ryan performed well and was unlucky not to score. Lui was unassuming and any win with a rookie halfback is a good win. His very strong for his size.

Overall a great comeback and good to get the 2 points. Attitude is good and skill is there. The Roosters will ask different questions though.

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Post by Suzie-Q » Tue 16 Mar, 2010 12:20 am

I thought Ryan was a bit more involved than your report. he took quite a few bombs in the first half, and almost scored twice.

Other than that - what a game, eh!

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Post by Vicious » Tue 16 Mar, 2010 12:22 am

Suzie-Q wrote:I thought Ryan was a bit more involved than your report. he took quite a few bombs in the first half, and almost scored twice.

Other than that - what a game, eh!
I agree Suzie. Personally I think a lot of people under rate what a good player he is. He may lose his starting spot when Taniela comes back, but I bet Sheens doesn`t leave him out of the 17.

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Post by Geo. » Tue 16 Mar, 2010 12:40 am

Suzie-Q wrote:I thought Ryan was a bit more involved than your report. he took quite a few bombs in the first half, and almost scored twice.

Other than that - what a game, eh!
What a game is right...Up there with te best club wins of All time...IMO.....

Willow great work again mate...Lawrence was better than solid I thought......

Robbie took some wrong options at times...Every one stepped up it was a great win.... :sign:
Wayne Train 2019..


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Post by Paris Cobbs » Tue 16 Mar, 2010 4:46 am

Thank you Willow, sounds like a great win to the Tigers. Bring on the Roosters, they don't scare me at all.
Cheering for the mighty Wests Tigers, all the way from France.

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Post by willow » Tue 16 Mar, 2010 7:26 am

Geo. wrote:
Suzie-Q wrote:I thought Ryan was a bit more involved than your report. he took quite a few bombs in the first half, and almost scored twice.

Other than that - what a game, eh!
What a game is right...Up there with te best club wins of All time...IMO.....

Willow great work again mate...Lawrence was better than solid I thought......

Robbie took some wrong options at times...Every one stepped up it was a great win.... :sign:
Well Lawrence and Farah did make Phil Rothfield's team of the week...

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Post by Suzie-Q » Tue 16 Mar, 2010 7:34 am

I love lawrence in defence now - he made some BIG tackles last night.

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Post by BRET » Tue 16 Mar, 2010 9:02 am

Suzie-Q wrote:I love lawrence in defence now - he made some BIG tackles last night.
Didn't he ever! Chris was fantastic!
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Post by Spartan117 » Tue 16 Mar, 2010 9:04 am

Didnt get to watch the game as I was out with relo's from OS.

How did Rob Lui go ???

No Basher comments please, Objective comments only - Remember he has just turned 20 and this is FG game #5
UTT - Up The Tigers

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Post by southerntiger » Tue 16 Mar, 2010 9:08 am

There is a thread on this. But in my view Lui played a very solid game and showed enough to suggest he will cause teams a few problems this year. He is bloody strong.

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Post by G. Strombolli » Tue 16 Mar, 2010 9:39 am

Thanks for the report, Willow. The level of detail is great and you call it how you saw it. I skim the reports in the paper but I actually read yours. Nice work.

Like others, I worry about our defence. The way we played in the Foundation Cup indicated that not much had changed - we were visibly lacking in size too - and by all reports it sounds like there are still issues there.

I also worry about Robert Lui. While nothing bad has been said about his game last night, nothing really positive has been said either. I hope that he's just a slow starter. However, though the footy season is long, we need to get things working early - I don't want to see us 'experimenting' in 8 weeks time.

The Roosters game will be a tough one.

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Post by southerntiger » Tue 16 Mar, 2010 9:51 am

A lot of positive things have been said about Lui in the thread "luis looks lost out there".

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Post by The Phantom » Tue 16 Mar, 2010 4:01 pm

Once again Willow, thanks for your much anticipated report :)

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Post by alien » Thu 18 Mar, 2010 6:32 pm

Spartan117 wrote:Didnt get to watch the game as I was out with relo's from OS.

How did Rob Lui go ???

No Basher comments please, Objective comments only - Remember he has just turned 20 and this is FG game #5
I thought Lui went well. He was throwing some long passes and it hit them right on the chest. When we were attacking the Manly line a few of the Manly players, Watmough for one, was a mile offside but Lui was smart enough to stand deeper and we scored. Some of his kicks were pretty good too. He is strong for his age and he can break a tackle forsure. He isn't afraid to run at the line. I would keep Lui at halfback for now. If Moltzen can improve his kick returns and defence against kicks, especially under the high ball, then he will become a very good fullback.

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