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Willow's match report and player review

Posted: Sun 22 Aug, 2010 7:02 pm
by willow
Round 24 of the Telstra NRL premiership saw the Wests Tigers travel to Parramatta Stadium for their second battle of the west in the space of 2 weeks as they faced a desperate Eels side who faced the prospect of win, or miss the finals for 2010. It was this time last year when the Eels put a big dent in the Tigers charge towards the finals as they played out one of the most entertaining games of the season as Benji Marshall and Jarryd Hayne both turned in blinders, it was also a match where the Tigers lost blockbusting winger Taniela Tuiaki to a season ending injury. To this date Tuiaki still has not returned to the field as his 2010 season has been written off.

The Tigers entered this match with a couple of injury concerns. Fullback Wade McKinnon was once again ruled out with last week’s hero Mitch Brown starting at fullback again while Bryce Gibbs was ruled out with a knee injury. The Tigers welcomed back prop Keith Galloway in Gibbs absence while John Skandalis was again named on the bench.

1st half:

The Eels kicked off and the Tigers got away to a steady start. It was the Tigers who had the first chance to score in the 3rd minute on the back of a nice grubber kick from Lui. Ellis pounced on the ball but was ruled to be offside, letting the Eels off the hook. The Eels then put some pressure on the Tigers in the 4th minute however the Tigers defence held solid and they came away off their own line. The Eels then broke the Tigers up the middle of the ruck in the 5th minute but the Tigers scrambled well to shut the play down and Lote Tuqiri did well to defuse the kick on the last tackle.

The Tigers had their second try disallowed in the 8th minute as Robbie Farah was ruled to have no downward pressure when regathering a grubber kick from Marshall behind the Eels posts. The Tigers then had two try scoring opportunities in the 15th minute and bombed both chances, the first through Beau Ryan after the Eels were caught short out wide, Ryan came back in-field to get caught, and then the ball was put through the hands to Chris Lawrence who had Tuqiri unmarked on the opposite side of the field only to throw and ordinary pass behind him and over the sideline. Lawrence made amends in the 19th minute though as the Eels were again caught short and Lawrence streaked off downfield before offloading to Tuqiri who drew the defence and passed back to Lawrence for him bring the ball around close to the posts. Marshall converted to give the Tigers a 6-0 lead.

The Tigers extended their lead in the 30th minute through Beau Ryan after the Tigers caught the Eels short out wide with some nice passing from Marshall close to the line. Marshall’s sideline conversion was wide. The Eels gave the Tigers another chance in the 35th minute on the back of another mistake but for the second time Chris Lawrence threw a shocking pass to Tuqiri which travelled forward over the sideline. The Eels then counter-attacked and were awarded a penalty inside the Tigers half close to halftime. They finally opened their scoring account with a try to Inu after Joel Reddy held off Chris Lawrence and Rob Lui failed to commit himself to Reddy, Tuqiri rushed in leaving Inu an open path to the corner. Luke Burt converted from the sideline to bridge the gap to 10-6 at halftime.

2nd half:

The Tigers got away to a good start as they charged down the Eels kick and they were able to enjoy their first set inside the Eels half. The Eels defence held, but not before being forced into a line drop out after a nice grubber kick from Lui sat up. Again the Eels defence held firm and Krisnan Inu did well to defuse a well placed cross field kick from Benji Marshall. Robbie Farah was the next Tiger to come up with a well weighted kick as he forced Jarryd Hayne to play at the ball and force it dead in the 44th minute. From the line drop out the Tigers finally cracked the Eels again out wide through Beau Ryan as the Eels rushed up to cut off the Tigers play, but played at the ball and Mitch Brown regathered to offload to Ryan who put the ball down in the corner to score. Marshall shanked the sideline conversion to give the Tigers a 14-6 lead.

The Eels were given a soft penalty in the 49th minute as Payten was ruled to have hit Horo high. It was a soft penalty looking at the replay. The Tigers defence was solid and the Eels came up with a mistake letting the Tigers off the hook. The Eels started to throw the ball around a lot more though, testing the Tigers defence which still held solid. The Eels forced a line drop out of their own in the 52nd minute. The crowd was now starting to get behind the Eels but again the Tigers held solid, but were forced into a second consecutive line drop out as Tuqiri scrambled well to hold off Inu. Justin Poore got across the Tigers line but was held up by some desperate defence and then Rob Lui came up with a great tackle on Moi Moi as he charged at the line.

Benji Marshall came up with his only real blemish for the day in the 56th minute as he drifted across field inside the Tigers half. The Eels had rushed up giving the Tigers an overlap but Marshall’s pass found the sideline instead of Ayshford or Ryan who were unmarked. The Tigers defence was again tested and Lote Tuqiri again came up with an important play in the 57th minute as the Eels had an overlap, but Tuqiri did well to knock the pass down from Reddy. The Tigers defence at this stage was simply superb and Robbie Farah managed to intercept a pass on the Tigers line. The penalty count was really starting to add up against the Tigers as the Eels were given a penalty in the 59th minute but failed to find touch. Beau Ryan lost the ball moments later for the Tigers inviting the Eels into another attacking raid, it was short lived though as the Eels coughed up the ball.

After absorbing a mountain of pressure from the Eels, the Tigers extended their lead in the 61st minute as Andrew Fifita ran a good line from 10 out to carry Nathan Hindmarsh across the tryline. Marshall converted to give the Tigers a 20-6 lead with 17 minutes remaining. Benji Marshall then came up with another good kick trapping Hayne in-goal in the 64th minute. The Eels went for a short line drop out but the Tigers managed to come up with the ball. The Eels defence held as Liam Fulton was caught with the ball on the last tackle and the the Tigers gave away a penalty immediately after. They were then given a piggyback penalty as Andrew Fifita was ruled to not clear the play the ball, again, it looked to be a harsh penalty as the channel 9 commentary also noted. Beau Ryan unfortunately came up with a knock on during the Eels last tackle play. Andrew Fifita then flattened Justin Poore a couple of tackle later but it was to no avail as the Eels scored through backrower Horo as the Tigers opened up in the middle if the field. Burt converted to bridge as the gap to 20-12 with 11 minutes remaining.

The Eels really started to surge in the final 10 minutes and they were helped through yet another penalty as Lote Tuqiri was ruled to take out Inu as he put in a grubber kick. The Eels crossed again in the 72nd minute as Mateo split the Tigers up the middle and offloaded to Mitchell to score next to the posts. Rob Lui tried to hold him up and drive him over the deadball line but he had too much momentum. Burt converted to now put the Eels right back in it at 20-18 with 8 minutes to play. The Eels again surged downfield as the Tigers defence was tiring badly and they were given anther set of 6 in the 73rd minute as again Lote Tuqiri was again forced to come in and knock a pass to ground. The Eels knocked on moments later through Hayne though.

The Tigers then forced a mistake of their own as Marshall put up a good bomb in the 75th minute as Inu fumbled it in a mix-up with Hayne. The Eels came up with a desperate intercept through Horo but he was hit high by Lui and the Eels were given a penalty. The Eels then spread the ball wide on the last tackle and raced down the sideline before kicking in-field, Todd Payten did incredibly well to scramble well and knock the ball dead as Tahu screamed through. The Eels were then given another penalty as Mateo was ruled to have the ball stripped in a 3 man tackle. Luke Burt stepped up to take a simple shot from 23 metres out and almost in front but somehow missed. The Tigers put in one last drop out from their 20 metre line and Eels went through the hands one more time as the siren sounded. Jarryd Hayne broke the Tigers out wide before offloading to Tahu as the Tigers frantically scrambled to cut him off, just as they did, Tahu put in a grubber kick as 4 or 5 Tigers players chased desperately. In the end it was Mitch Brown who grounded the ball in-goal as Eels players blew up claiming Tahu was taken out. That was the end of it though as the Tigers held on to record a very important and impressive win to put them into second position on the competition ladder.

Onto the players (stats to be updated):

1. Mitch Brown – Solid game from Brown, he was safe at the back all day and kept his cool in the second half when the Eels applied the blowtorch. Didn’t make too many inroads in attack as the Eels held a pretty good chase all arvo, but Brown was safe in a match where he needed to be, and it was fitting the grounded the ball safely in the in-goal on fulltime to defuse the Eels attacking raid. 112 metres in attack, 1 try assist, 1 linebreak assist. 7.5/10.

2. Lote Tuqiri – Good game from Tuqiri today, defusing several kicks and making a couple of crucial defensive plays in the second half. Should have scored 2 tries if it were not for Lawrence throwing two of the worst passes he has thrown this season. 97 metres in attack, 1 try assist, 6 tackles, 2 missed tackles, 2 errors. 7.5/10.

3. Blake Ayshford – Outplayed Tahu today and made good metres all afternoon, for a guy with such a thin build he really is hard to bring down. Defensively he was also solid. 156 metres in attack, 4 tackle breaks, 19 tackles, 2 missed tackle, 1 error. 8/10.

4. Chris Lawrence – Not his best game today, scored a good try but bombed two tires for Tuqiri with passes over the sideline that would normally hit his outside man on the chest with. Also fell off Reddy in the Eels first try, but should have been better supported by Lui in that effort. Had a couple of big run ins with Moi Moi in the second half and came off second best in one of the hits, but Moi Moi has flattened many a player in his time. 62 metres in attack, 1 try, 1 linebreak, 11 tackles, 2 missed tackles. 5/10.

5. Beau Ryan – Pretty good game from Ryan today with a couple of errors dulling his performance. He was effective out of dummyhalf and bagged a double and could have scored a hattrick if he backed himself and had an extra yard of pace. 115 metres in attack, 2 tries, 7 tackle breaks, 1 linebreak, 2 errors. 7/10.

6. Benji Marshall – Played a very controlled game today for his standards, generally kicked well in general play and his only blemish was throwing one pass over the sideline, had it found Ayshford or Ryan the Tigers would have gone streaking downfield. Didn’t really take the line on in attack either, I had a feeling he would have today and was a bit surprised he didn’t run the ball more. Defensively he had a tough time marking up on Mateo. 53 metres in attack, kicked for 304 metres, 3 tackle breaks, 1 offload, 10 tackles, 5 missed tackles. 7/10.

7. Rob Lui – Pretty good game from Lui aside from the Inu try where he got caught in no mans land and didn’t help Lawrence when he tried to tackle Reddy. Came up with some good tackles on Moi Moi and Horo in the second half and his passing game was crisp. Forced a couple of line drop outs with some nice grubber kicks too. 44 metres in attack, kicked for 54 metres, 1 linebreak assist, 1 offload, 18 tackles, 3 missed tackles. 7/10.

8. Todd Payten – Good game from Todd today, particularly in defence as he came up with some great tackles and a great try saver in batting the ball dead as Tahu raced through on one occasion. 65 metres in attack, 28 tackles, 4 missed tackle. 8/10.

9. Robbie Farah – MOM on channel 9 and hard to argue with. His kicking game was excellent and he was tireless in defence and sharp in attack. 63 metres in attack, kicked for 265 metres, 2 try assists, 1 linebreak assist, 2 offloads, 35 tackles, 5 missed tackles, 2 errors. 8.5/10.

10. Keith Galloway – Strong game from Galloway today as he gave the Tigers good go forward all afternoon with some strong running. Defended well also. 129 metres in attack, 23 tackles, 2 missed tackles. 8/10.

11. Liam Fulton – Busy game as usual and looked to be struggling with a leg injury at times but played the game out. Topped the tackle count for the Tigers. 86 metres in attack, 1 offload, 40 tackles. 7.5/10.

12. Gareth Ellis – Not as prominent as last week in attack but defensively he was good. Along with Heighno he was a rock in the Tigers forward pack today. 79 metres in attack, 33 tackles, 6 missed tackles, 1 error. 7.5/10.

13. Chris Heighington – Strong game from Heighno once again and he was very busy in attack and defence. 107 metres in attack, 6 tackle breaks, 23 tackles, 3 missed tackles. 7.5/10.

14. Andrew Fifita – Again provided impact off the bench and scored another try, making it 3 in two weeks which is a rarity for a front rower. 84 metres in attack, 1 try, 1 linebreak, 3 tackle breaks, 19 tackles, 2 missed tackles. 7.5/10.

15. Geoff Daniela – No gametime today for the poor fella.

16. Simon Dwyer – Didn’t notice him much out there today, not in attack anyway. Not sure if he picked up an injury or Sheens was just limiting his gametime in such an important game. 30 metres in attack, 11 tackles. 5/10.

18. John Skandalis – Didn’t get a lot of gametime either, but made the most of it, he did look busy while out there. 41 metres in attack, 9 tackles, 3 missed tackles. 5/10.

Overall team analysis:


It wasn’t at its best today, certainly not in terms of execution as the Tigers bombed 3 tries and were fairly well contained in general by the Eels defence. Ayshford looked the most likely of the Tigers backs today as he was a handful most imtes he ran the ball. Lawrence and Tuqiri were off, or rather Lawrence as he could have put Tuqiri in for 2 tries with better directed passes. Farah, Marshall and Lui also disapalyed good passing games while in the forwards, Galloway, Ellis and heighno were strong while Fifita offered good impact off the bench again.


For the most part it was pretty good. The Tigers scrambled particularly well although conceded a couple of late tries as the Eels enjoyed plenty of possession and caused the Tigers headaches, but the scramble defence was there and everyone put in for one another today. Apart from Lui not helping Lawrence deal with Reddy in the lead up to the Eels first try, I’d give the defence a thumbs up today.

Kicking game:

For the most part it was very good. Benji put a couple of kicks down Inu’s throat in the second half, but the Tigers forced a few line drop outs and the short kicking game from Farah, Marshall and Lui was spot on.

Overall team stats (To be updated and Eels in brackets):

Try assists: 4 (3)
Offloads: 5 (18)
Linebreaks: 3 (8)
Linebreak assists: 3 (4)
Tackles made: 287 (332)
1 on 1 tackles: 15 (20)
Missed tackles: 44 (30)
Tackle breaks: 34 (49)
Total metres made: 1333 (1463)
Possession: 54% (46%)
Completion rate: 28/34 = 82% (31/41 = 76%)
Errors: 9 (14)
Penalties conceded: 9 (3)

Confidence is a wonderful thing in Rugby League, and despite the Eels playing for their season in front of a sold out home ground, the Tigers also turned up to play and were very controlled in their approach for just about the entire match. The Eels looked the more dangerous side at times, particularly in the second half when they enjoyed plenty of field position late in the game, but to the Tigers credit their defence was very good and despite bombing 3 tries, they were ultimately too good for a desperate Eels outfit who had the chance to take the game to golden point but Luke Burt missed the simple penalty attempt.

There was no standout star for the Tigers today, the win was very much a team effort and everyone put their hand up which was good to see. There are still a few things for the Tigers to work on, but today’s win puts them into second position on the ladder and with their final game of the season at Leichhardt next Sunday against the Storm, they’ll be looking to secure a win in front of what should be a big home crowd.

Re: Willow's match report and player review

Posted: Sun 22 Aug, 2010 7:08 pm
by Sabre
good review once again

hard to know how to rate Lawrence performance made a few mistakes, but they mostly came from passes that he did very well to get them away at all + a try. But 2 balls over the sideline and some bad defesive reads could have been more costly.

Re: Willow's match report and player review

Posted: Sun 22 Aug, 2010 7:15 pm
by Staks
Todd Payten was one of our best I thought. Change his rating to a 8.5 or 9 and you got it spot on willow.

Re: Willow's match report and player review

Posted: Sun 22 Aug, 2010 7:15 pm
Thanks Willow.

Gee, you could pound the keyboard all night over what took place today. In the interests of time though:

Todd Payten - what an effort to save the game today! How easy would it have been for a tired prop not to make that last effort.
Wests Tigers forward pack - completely outplayed Parra's; having Gibbs in there today and it would have been embarressing.
Mitch Brown - cometh the hour, cometh the man! Two top games when we have been down on troops
Blake Ayshford - good game from Blake but will someone get a court order for him to pass the ball at least once in a game.
Robbie and Benji - earnt their pay cheques today. Robbie was MOM and Benji better than a 7/10.
Chris Lawrence - will have better days!

Although it was close in the end that surely would have been one of the greatest injustices had they not won that game.

Re: Willow's match report and player review

Posted: Sun 22 Aug, 2010 7:27 pm
by king sirro
I think your marks were good Willow but i do think you graded Ryan on stats rather than his actual game. 7.5 was a very high mark for him

Re: Willow's match report and player review

Posted: Sun 22 Aug, 2010 7:31 pm
by southerntiger
Galloway was all class today. Despite scoring a good try, young fifita has a long way to go before he is keith's class. Getting stopped too easily on normal hit ups for mine. Dwyer needs to play wider.

Re: Willow's match report and player review

Posted: Sun 22 Aug, 2010 7:34 pm
by Poppa
Good report again willow.Glad to see Robert Lui run and defend extra well today,his game is getting better at a time when its needed.I'd like to see Benji run more and try to bust the defensive line,along with Farah they would have the opposition on the backfoot more.Pleased with todays effort if only by 2.Maybe we will be in the GF ???.

:sign: :supporter:

Re: Willow's match report and player review

Posted: Sun 22 Aug, 2010 8:25 pm
by willow
king sirro wrote:I think your marks were good Willow but i do think you graded Ryan on stats rather than his actual game. 7.5 was a very high mark for him
Stats aside I honestly thought Ryan went well today mate.

Re: Willow's match report and player review

Posted: Sun 22 Aug, 2010 8:42 pm
by willow
Player and team stats updated.

Re: Willow's match report and player review

Posted: Sun 22 Aug, 2010 8:46 pm
by smeghead
For mine Ryan a 6.5 because he was one point off Ayshfords performance for mine.

Payten is there in defence when the chips are down every time.

Re: Willow's match report and player review

Posted: Sun 22 Aug, 2010 8:48 pm
by willow
smeghead wrote:For mine Ryan a 6.5 because he was one point off Ayshfords performance for mine.

Payten is there in defence when the chips are down every time.
Updated, dropped Ryan to a 7, upgraded Ayshford, Galloway and Payten to 8.

Re: Willow's match report and player review

Posted: Sun 22 Aug, 2010 8:51 pm
by Geo.
Cmon....Payten 8.5....

Great report as always mate.......sweet one to write I bet......

Re: Willow's match report and player review

Posted: Sun 22 Aug, 2010 8:53 pm
by willow
Geo. wrote:Cmon....Payten 8.5....

Great report as always mate.......sweet one to write I bet......
He was good mate, but I'll stick with the 8. if he made a few more metres then I'd have no trouble upgrading Toddy. And yes, today was a good day to type all this up. :D

Re: Willow's match report and player review

Posted: Sun 22 Aug, 2010 8:56 pm
by Peaches
A couple of things Willow:

* I thought Benji took on the line a couple of times which he hasn't really in the last couple of weeks. A running Benji is a Benji in form.
* Dwyer played low minutes cause the whole back-row played 80 I believe. When Dwyer come on, I'm sure Heighington packed in at prop.
* Ayshford made great meters all day. Not really an opportunity to score or offload from but good meters.

Re: Willow's match report and player review

Posted: Sun 22 Aug, 2010 9:04 pm
by hybrid_tiger
Heighington came off, didn't play the full 80. Had a 10 minute break I believe.

Re: Willow's match report and player review

Posted: Sun 22 Aug, 2010 9:10 pm
by Peaches
hybrid_tiger wrote:Heighington came off, didn't play the full 80. Had a 10 minute break I believe.
I missed that. I was wondering why he had a low tackle count (17) if he played 80 minutes.

Re: Willow's match report and player review

Posted: Sun 22 Aug, 2010 9:41 pm
by southerntiger
I thought Ryan was the weakest in our backline. Lawry made a few mistakes but looked dangerous. I am happy to forgive him those two poor passes.

Re: Willow's match report and player review

Posted: Sun 22 Aug, 2010 9:54 pm
by G. Strombolli
Two things.

I'm convinced Payten is one of the most important players in the team. If he's fit, we're in with a chance.

Secondly, Ayshford gets his arm free every time he's tackled. I'm with Pymble Pete, what's it going to take to get him to pass?

And thanks for the report, Willow.