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Post by willow » Sun 29 Aug, 2010 5:45 pm

WESTS TIGERS BEAT STORM 26-14 IN NRL
By Wayne Cousins
29/08/2010 3:45:08 PM

Wests Tigers moved into outright second position on the Telstra Premiership ladder with a 26-14 victory over Melbourne Storm at Leichhardt Oval today.

In front of a sell out crowd of 20, 168, Wests Tigers were forced to work hard before securing the two points that ensures them a home final.
The only bad news for the Wests Tigers was the broken jaw injury to centre Chris Lawrence in the fourth minute. Wests Tigers five-eighth Benji Marshall had a superb game.

The Storm opened the scoring in the 7th minute when a drop ball by Marshall saw the visitors toe the ball through. It was then regathered before the ball was spread left through several hands before winger Justin O’Neill dived over for a 4-0 lead.

Hooker Cameron Smith failed to convert the try from out wide.
Marshall then got the Wests Tigers faithful on their feet when he produced some sheer individual brilliance to set up and score a fine try in the corner.

From a standing start, Marshall stepped inside prop Brett White to find open space. He then produced an inside pass to replacement centre Mitch Brown who offloaded a pass to half-back Robert Lui who sent the final pass for Marshall to score in the corner in the 13th minute.

Marshall failed to convert his own try from the sideline for a 4-4 scoreline.
Andrew Fifita crashes over from close range off a Robbie Farrah pass in the 21st minute. Marshall makes no mistake with the conversion from close range as the Tigers lead the Storm by six points.

Referee Gavin Badger penalised Wests Tigers for a deliberate forward pass from centre Mitch Brown to winger Lote Tuqiri after a towering bomb by Marshall was allowed to bounce by full-back Billy Slater.

In the ensuring set of six, the Storm threw the ball right to leave Tuqiri stranded for Willie Isa to dive over in the corner in the 31st minute. Smith failed to convert for a 10-8 scoreline.

The referees then missed a deliberate shepherd when winger Beau Ryan was blocked from tackling Dane Nielsen in goal in the 39th minute. Fortunately for the Wests Tigers, a drop ball by Ryan Hoffman let them off the hook, much to the relief of the Wests Tigers players and supporters.

2nd Half

Wests Tigers jumped to a 14-8 lead when a Ryan grubber kick 10 metres out saw Marshall pounce on the ball to score his second try.
Marshall then converted his own try from the sideline to give Wests Tigers a 16-8 lead after 48 minutes.

The Storm got back to 16-12 when Hoffman dummied and show the ball before crashing over to score in the corner in the 58th minute. Smith converted the try from inside the sideline for a 16-14 scoreline after 59 minutes.

Video referee Phil Cooley was called upon in the 68th minute to rule whether hooker Robbie Farah had grounded the ball in diving over for a try next to the posts. It was ruled refs call with referee Alan Shortall ruling a try. It was a classic Farah special from dummy half to give Wests Tigers a 20-14 lead.

Marshall converted the try for a 22-14 lead after 69 minutes.
Wests Tigers secured victory in the 77th minute when a drop ball by Hoffman saw Farah pick it up to race downfield before linking up with Marshall who raced more than 30 metres to score in the corner for a 26-14 lead.

Marshall’s conversion attempt from the sideline was on target but fell short.


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Post by willow » Sun 29 Aug, 2010 5:46 pm

Marshall hat-trick sets Tigers sights on top two finish
August 29, 2010 - 4:21PM

A vintage display by Benji Marshall has inspired Wests Tigers to a 26-14 win over Melbourne at Leichhardt Oval today and moved them a step closer to securing a top two spot for the NRL finals.

The dynamic five-eighth scored a hat-trick in an important victory which means the Tigers need only beat Gold Coast next week or lose by a small margin to finish second and give themselves a chance of gaining a week's break in the playoffs.

Marshall wound the clock back to 2005 when he started and finished a mesmerising try in the 13th minute to level the scores.

The Tigers ace sliced through the Melbourne defence 40 metres out from his own line and dashed down-field before producing one of his trademark flick passes for Mitch Brown.

The replacement centre then found halfback Robert Lui who popped a ball over the top for Marshall to touch down in the left-hand corner and salute the delirious Leichhardt crowd of 20,168.

Marshall showed nice touch to score his second in the 47th minute off a Beau Ryan kick, before completing his treble with a runaway effort at the death.

However the win was heavily soured for the Tigers, with star centre Chris Lawrence's season seemingly over after he was taken from the field after just four minutes with a broken jaw.

The injury came after a high shot from Jeff Lima, the Storm prop not put on report for the incident.

Prop John Skandalis was also taken off at the start of the second 40 minutes with a hip injury and didn't return, while fullback Wade McKinnon appeared to re-strain his troubled hamstring in the closing stages.

The home side always looked on top but Melbourne were never out of the contest and when second rower Ryan Hoffman crashed over in the 58th minute the Tigers' lead was cut to 16-14.

Skipper Robbie Farah and 21-year-old game-breaker Andrew Fifita scored crucial tries from short range while the Storm opened the scoring in the seventh minute when rookie winger Justin O'Neill scored his ninth try in eight first grade games.

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Post by willow » Sun 29 Aug, 2010 5:48 pm

Marshall guides Tigers through Storm
Updated August 29, 2010 15:51:00



Led by crafty playmaker Benji Marshall, Wests Tigers locked up a home final in front of a rabid Leichhardt Oval crowd by beating Melbourne 26-14 on Sunday afternoon.

The Tigers' top four spot was still mathematically in doubt thanks to an inferior points differential to the Panthers and Warriors, but the win pushed them out of reach to 34 points, two behind the Dragons.

Marshall was at his absolute best with the ball in his hands in perfect footy conditions in Sydney, showing off his arsenal of slick passing and fine footwork to score a hat-trick and put his mark on one more.

He set the aggressive tone from the opening exchanges, kicking on the fourth tackle on a couple of occasions and forcing Melbourne to begin its own attack deep inside its own territory.

Despite the Storm's season being over since April they played gallantly, pushing the Tigers at every juncture until skipper Robbie Farah sealed the win with 10 minutes to go.

Before that, a Ryan Hoffman try had brought the visitors to within two points, but Tim Sheens' men showed their strength under pressure and continued to make the most of their attacking opportunities.

Farah had the home crowd on its feet when he jumped on a loose ball with a head of steam before handing it off for Marshall to score his third in the left corner to ice the game.

But the Storm did not make it easy for the speedy pivot even with the game wrapped up, with early try-scorer Justin O'Neill stepping on the gas to force Marshall to sprint all the way to the chalk.

It was a fairytale result for Tigers stalwart Chris Heighington in his 150th appearance for the club since his first grade debut against the Dragons in 2003.

The second rower turned in a solid performance with 23 tackles and 114 metres gained, offering ample defensive assistance to Todd Payten (30 tackles) and Farah (27).

But while the Tigers are assured of having a home crowd cheering them on in the first week of the finals, they may miss the services of Chris Lawrence (jaw), John Skandalis (hip) and Wade McKinnon (hamstring).

On the other side of the ledger, the Storm lost Cooper Cronk with 20 minutes to go in the game with a suspected injury to his eye after being caught in a high tackle by Marshall.

The two sides went try-for-try early on in the piece after O'Neill bustled over for the visitors' first after seven minutes.

Marshall bagged his first with a neat touch-down in the corner courtesy of Robert Lui and then Andrew Fifita barrelled over to put the hosts up halfway through the opening stanza.

The Storm had the last laugh of the first half when some brilliant Billy Slater ball movement saw William Isa wide open in the corner for another four-pointer.

But Marshall's second and third tries, the former cleaning up a Beau Ryan grubber on the right-hand side, followed by Farah's effort from dummy-half 20 minutes later, were enough to neutralise Hoffman's four-pointer and secure the Tigers their sixth win from the last seven starts at Leichhardt.

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Post by willow » Sun 29 Aug, 2010 6:49 pm

Marshall helps Tigers defeat Storm 26-14
August 29, 2010 - 6:24PM

AAP

Benji Marshall was at his dazzling best in Wests Tigers' 26-14 NRL win over Melbourne on Sunday but a mini-injury crisis added a sour note to the festivities at a sold-out Leichhardt Oval.

Marshall produced one of his trademark flick passes on the way to a hat-trick which has put the Tigers in the box seat for a top-two finals finish, but there were mixed feelings afterwards with coach Tim Sheens assembling an alarming casualty ward leading into the playoffs.

The worst of the wounded is star centre Chris Lawrence, who left the field with a broken jaw after just four minutes of play.

Sheens said Lawrence already had a slightly weakened jaw from a previous injury, which might explain why the damage was so severe from what appeared to be an innocuous hit from Jeff Lima, who wasn't even put on report.

"They're operating on him tonight (Sunday) at six o'clock and if we're still there in a month he'll be back," Sheens said.

"I'd like to hope the boys play well enough to give him another opportunity.

"In the meantime guys like Geoff Daniela and (Mitch) Brown and company (could get an opportunity)."

Evergreen prop John Skandalis suffered a nasty buttocks injury which forced him off and will miss a couple of weeks at best.

Fullback Wade McKinnon aggravated his ongoing hamstring problem and will at least miss this Friday's clash with Gold Coast.

Front rower Bryce Gibbs has a knee injury and second rower Liam Fulton a calf problem, which could keep them out again this week, while Gareth Ellis has a nasty cork.

"Luckily it's not the first semi," Sheens said.

"But look, we've been a strong club this year, we've made the semis at Wests and with Balmain in the (NSW Cup) and I think we're one game off in the 20's.

"So there'll be players there that'll step up and be very keen to get an opportunity to play next week, let alone the opportunity to maybe play in a semi-final."

Sheens gave his players a spray at halftime, as inconsistent football saw them cling to a 10-8 lead at the break.

A sold-out Leichhardt crowd of 20,168 went wild in the 13th minute when Marshall wound the clock back to 2005 and started and finished one of the tries of the season.

Marshall slid through the defensive line, set off 40 metres downfield before flicking inside for Mitch Brown, with the ball finally ended up with Marshall again to cross down in the corner.

The Storm were brave and the Tigers were guilty of dropping off in intensity at various stages.

A soft Ryan Hoffman try got Melbourne back in the contest at 16-14, before Tigers skipper Robbie Farah burrowed over in the 68th minute and Marshall completed his treble with a runaway effort at the death.

Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy was pleased with his team's effort and the Storm now have their minds set on a big farewell in front of their home fans next week.

"We had the gastric (bug) go through our place during the week and Adam Blair, I don't think he trained, Dane Nielsen missed a fair bit and Greg (Inglis) didn't end up playing today he was that crook .. so it wasn't an ideal week," said Bellamy.

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Post by willow » Mon 30 Aug, 2010 7:13 am

A hat-trick with old tricks
Glenn Jackson
August 30, 2010

IT COULD have been Benji Marshall's best dummy so far. Just days ago he told the world, or at least the Australian eastern seaboard, that he was shelving the fancy stuff for the good of the team.

It was a threat that lasted exactly 13 minutes as the Wests Tigers star led his team to a 26-14 win over Melbourne Storm yesterday at Leichhardt Oval.

''I don't plan it,'' Marshall said. ''I don't plan to play like that. I think you just get captured in the whole Leichhardt scene, the crowd.

''I didn't really think about it. I'm just lucky it came off. The boys are just used to it, because I do it at training, and the coach just emphasises that you can do stuff during games if you do it at training. I think the boys are slowly getting used to it. I tried to put it away. I really tried.'' Most fell for the dummy. Marshall had said he would be producing a more conservative style of football leading into, and during, the finals, and then in the first half yesterday, egged on by 20,168 people, he dummied, darted then sent an audacious flick pass to Mitch Brown. The replacement centre fed Lui who then sent Marshall over in the corner.

''What's going on?'' Marshall said as he shook his head and recalled the play afterwards.

It was a question coach Tim Sheens also found difficult to answer.

''It's that fine line all the time. I've been trying for eight years to change it, and I haven't been able to,'' Sheen said. ''We are who we are and we are where we are because we do play a bit of football. There's risk-taking, but to be quite honest you never achieve anything unless you take a risk.''

There's no doubt about that. By full-time, Marshall's old habits had netted him a hat-trick.

Storm centre Greg Inglis missed the match due to gastro, while forward Adam Blair and winger Dane Nielsen had also been struck down during the week. Five-eighth Brett Finch missed the match with a hand injury.

'They're hard to defend against,'' Storm coach Craig Bellamy said.

''If you switch off for a minute they'll hurt you. Some of their defence was pretty impressive too. They were up in our face for a lot of the game. That frustrated our young blokes especially. It was quite confronting at times for them.''


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Post by willow » Mon 30 Aug, 2010 7:14 am

Diehards show Leichhardt's tops as a finals venue
Richard Hinds
August 30, 2010

The NRL rations ''special occasion'' games at some suburban venues and the SCG, believing you can have too much of a good thing. But when the Leichhardt Oval crowd's mood reached fever pitch as Robbie Farah burst clear and set up Benji Marshall's game-clinching third try, a far worse problem came to mind. Not having enough of a good thing.

Yesterday it was hard to imagine what could be better than trampling on one of the picnic rugs placed optimistically on the packed grass mound in the afternoon sunshine and watching the Wests Tigers, as coach Tim Sheens put it, ''play a bit of football'' against Melbourne Storm. Watching a semi-final at the same venue, perhaps?

The Tigers yesterday earned that honour with a rollicking victory over an admittedly weakened Storm - but, most likely, won't play a semi at their old ground. Instead, given economics usually trump atmospherics, they will be enticed to the cookie-cutter Sydney Football Stadium where more people will create far less noise.

All the more reason, then, to savour yesterday's Leichhardt game which was, for hard-core fan and day-tripping interloper, an experience itself. A day in a sporting time capsule where the members of Balmain's 1969 premiership team paraded on the ground before the game might have wandered over to the seats where their girlfriends used to sit and found the original chewing game stuck beneath.

Beers in cans, not plastic cups. Wooden benches upon which a big man can plant both buttocks. The familiar stench of fried fat from the hamburger van. A manual scoreboard that constantly displays a piece of information underestimated by its electronic usurper - the score. And that most precious of NRL commodities, the sold-out sign above the gates as 20,168 fans squeezed in. Julia Gillard does not see so much orange in the bathroom mirror.

The only hint yesterday that Leichhardt Oval's inhabitants had softened was a banner verbosely proclaiming: ''Benji Our Savvy-our.'' Otherwise, as the crowd heaved and cursed and chanted throughout an entertaining game, the anthropologists would have identified multiple examples of that strangely endearing species - the genuine league diehard.

This provided no consolation for the referees who, after failing to penalise a shepherd by the Storm, found the Leichhardt crowd's thirst for justice can make Thailand's hanging judges seem like bleeding heart liberals. Likewise Storm captain Cameron Smith who, as he lined up two conversion attempts from near the sidelines, says he was only spared the full brunt of his tormenters' tirades because the screams became white noise.

For the most part, this was a good-natured occasion where the crowd was spoiled by the Tigers' adventurous play and showed their appreciation with rapturous cheers. Any throats not cleared by the booing of the Storm's early try were opened when Marshall replied with a circus act - a 35-metre dash, flick to Mitch Brown, alley-oop from Robert Lui back to Marshall who scored in the corner. It was not merely a startling try, but a supreme example of the brilliant five-eighth's incredible lateral movement. Rugby league measures achievement by metres gained. But it is the ground Marshall covers as he slides sideways across the park like a heavily caffeinated eel that sets him apart and, yesterday, somehow found him on the end of a move he started.

If Marshall is the Tigers' musician, Farah is their brutally efficient tradesman. The Storm had prepared during the week for the hooker's assault from dummy half. But when it happened they could still not stop Farah ramming his granite head over the line.

When Farah smacked Billy Slater to the ground in the second half and the brilliant Storm fullback struggled to find his feet, someone yelled: ''Give him 50 grand and he'll get up.'' Of course, Marshall, Lote Tuqiri et al are hardly playing for the love of the jersey alone. But, when they are on song, the Tigers look like they love playing their expansive game.

Just a little too much to spare Sheens the odd grey hair. But if the coach berated his team's profligacy at half-time yesterday, he encouraged their adventure. ''We are where we are because we play a bit of football,'' said Sheens. ''At the end of the day, you don't get anywhere if you don't take a risk.''

The question remains whether the Tigers play ''finals football''. Young halfback Lui, for one, has a touch of magic but also a hint of fragility. Having spent the afternoon chasing Marshall and friends, Smith still picked relatively dour St George Illawarra to win the premiership.

The finals will be the Wests Tigers' judge. You can only hope that roaring, rollicking Leichhardt will be one of the courtrooms.

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Post by cunno » Mon 30 Aug, 2010 8:18 am

A supporter behind me called out to Cam Smith that he would pay him to miss the conversion of a storm try (we were sitting close to where the conversion was being taken) Smith missed and everyone looked at the supporter who yelled out 'the cheques in the mail'....

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Post by Suzie-Q » Mon 30 Aug, 2010 7:29 pm

cunno wrote:A supporter behind me called out to Cam Smith that he would pay him to miss the conversion of a storm try (we were sitting close to where the conversion was being taken) Smith missed and everyone looked at the supporter who yelled out 'the cheques in the mail'....
Were you sitting on the hill side? That sounds like the work of Simon the Tiger to me! :lol: Had me in stitches all day - pink is only 2 washes away from purple! hahahaha

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