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Post by willow » Sat 05 May, 2012 10:20 pm

Robbie Farah inspires Wests Tigers victory of Titans

Steve Ricketts
May 05, 2012 6:30PM

IT was a golden statement from Wests Tigers skipper Robbie Farah that he could be the game-breaker NSW need in this year's State of Origin.

While there have been question marks over his defence, there can be no doubt that he has the knack for coming up with the big play.

The skipper rescued the Tigers at the end of regulation time against the Gold Coast last night and then kicked the field goal in extra time to score an improbable victory.

It was hardly a convincing effort, but it was their third victory in a row. Still there is still much work to be done before they prove they are a genuine finals contender.

Benji Marshall is still down on confidence and struggled to put his imprint on the game with any consistency.

The Tigers are gradually fighting their way back into finals contention, even if their wins haven't been overly impressive.

The experiment of playing Chris Lawrence at five-eighth and Marshall at half-back worked reasonably well, yet their partnership is clearly a work in progress.

Of more pressing concern is the return of forwards Gareth Ellis and Chris Heighington. Their grunt work is missing around the usual flash of Marshall and Farah.

"I haven't even been thinking too much about Origin," Farah said.

"I've been more worried about us winning a few games at the Tigers. We've got blokes to come back from injury and we're hanging in there."

After a poor start the Tigers played better in the second half, with centre Blake Ayshford getting his team back within striking distance when beat Jamal Idris to score.

With a minute to play Farah charged down a kick and looked certain to score but was tackled without the ball by Titans fullback Phil Graham.

Marshall kicked the penalty to force golden point and Graham was sin-binned.

The Titans played expansive football at every opportunity in the first half. However, their first try came from a bomb, with winger Kevin Gordon leaping over his opposite Beau Ryan to score in the 13th minute.

Sezer converted from the sideline for a 6-0 lead.

Sezer then added a penalty goal in the 23rd minute after Tigers forward, Ray Cashmere fielded a rebound when he was off-side.

Tigers winger Lote Tuqiri had a forgettable first half, one mistake costing a try.

The dual international lost the ball returning a kick from inside his own 20m and the resultant pressure saw David Mead cross in the right corner after great lead-up work by Mark Minichiello and Dominique Peyroux.

The home team bombed a try in the 31st minute after centre Jamal Idris put Minichiello into the clear and Jordan Rankin kicked when a pass was the best option.

The Tigers enjoyed all the possession in the latter stages of the half and they converted that into six points with a try from dummy-half by Farah and a sideline conversion by Marshall.

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Post by willow » Sat 05 May, 2012 10:24 pm

By Wayne Cousins
5/05/2012 10:13:53 PM

A field goal to hooker Robbie Farah in golden point saw Wests Tigers record a 15-14 victory over the Gold Coast Titans at Skilled Park tonight in round 9 of the Telstra Premiership.

The game was sent into golden point extra time when half-back Benji Marshall kicked a penalty goal in the 79th minute to level the scores at 14-14 all after Wests Tigers trailed 14-6.

Farah then stepped up in the 82nd minute to kick a field goal from in front of the posts in their first set in extra time to snatch the two competition points from an understrengthed Titans side.

The win was the Wests Tigers' fourth this season and the third in a row heading into next week's bye.

It was also just the fourth win in 12 games for Wests Tigers since the introduction of golden point extra time. It was the Wests Tigers’ second golden point win this season.

Wests Tigers Head Coach Tim Sheens made a few positional changes prior to the game. Centre Chris Lawrence moved to five-eighth with Benji Marshall shifting to half-back to replace Tom Humble who went back to interchange bench.

Blake Ayshford came off interchange bench to start at centre.

The Titans opened the scoring in the 13th minute when winger Kevin Gordon outmuscled opposite Beau Ryan to defuse a bomb from half-back Aidan Sezer to score. Sezer converted the try for a 6-0 lead.

Sezer converted a penalty goal in the 23rd minute for an 8-0 lead after prop Ray Cashmere was penalised for offside after diving on a loose ball which bounced off a Wests Tigers team-mate from a kick by Sezer.

The Titans capitalised on their wealth of possession when winger David Mead dived over in the corner in the 26th minute. The home side capitalised on a mistake by winger Lote Tuqiri who dropped the ball from a returning kick.

Sezer converted the try for a 14-0 lead after 28 minutes.

Wests Tigers got on the board when captain and hooker Robbie Farah crossed from 10 metres out after showing a dummy before slicing through two defenders to score in the 35th minute. Marshall converted the try to leave Wests Tigers trailing 14-6.

The score remained that way until half-time.

2nd Half
Wests Tigers were denied a try to Tuqiri in the 50th minute after the video referee ruled he was in front of centre Joel Reddy when he kicked the ball through after it bounced off the knees of Titans full-back Phil Graham.

The visitors were not denied when Farah ran acrossfield to link up with Ayshford who raced 20 metres to score out wide in the 56th minute. Marshall converted the try to leave Wests Tigers trailing 14-12.

Wests Tigers second-rower Ben Murdoch-Masila almost pulled off a miracle try for his side after he linked up with Marshall in an 80 metre run only for his body to hit the sideline in-goal in trying to score in the 77th minute.

Two minutes later, Farah was tackled off the ball by Graham 10 metres out from the Gold Coast tryline. Graham was sent to the sin-bin for 10 metres.

Marshall converted the penalty goal to make it 14-14 all in the 79th minute to send the game into golden point extra time before Farah kicked the winning field goal three minutes later.

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Post by willow » Sun 06 May, 2012 8:04 am

Farah stars but stays silent on winning role
Steve Mascord
May 6, 2012

BESIEGED Wests Tigers captain Robbie Farah is so disillusioned at the debate over his State of Origin candidacy that he refused to talk after tendering one of the best individual performances of the season last night.

Labelled as unsuited to interstate football by club great Steve Roach and the centre of an ugly dispute between NSW coach Ricky Stuart and his Australia counterpart Tim Sheens, the Tigers hooker almost single-handedly lifted his team from 14-0 down to an overtime victory over Gold Coast at Skilled Park.

The 27-year-old not only kicked the winning field goal two minutes into golden point but scored his side's first try from nothing and charged down a kick which led to the match-tying penalty goal in the final minute of regulation time.

But Farah failed to front for the post-match media conference, where he was replaced by Benji Marshall. Asked outside the sheds by The Sun-Herald if he was commenting, Farah said: "Nah,mate."

"Too much has been said already and he wants to stay out of it," Sheens said. "He just wants to concentrate on his footy and leave everything else alone. He's had a tough week."

The fact that a star player has been goaded into silence is a compelling illustration of just how high emotions are running in the lead-up to the Blues' side being announced for Origin I on May 23. Sheens argued Farah should not have had to perform last night's near-miracle to get into the Blues' side while five-eighth Marshall was also a passionate advocate of his skipper.

"The only thing he could do was answer it on the field - tonight was his last chance," the coach said, "although I'd be disappointed if it had to be tonight to prove something. I think he's played pretty well all season and the City-Country a couple of weeks ago showed that. It's out of his hands now. If he gets his spot he gets it, if he doesn't, he doesn't. I think he's pretty much come to terms with that sort of thing over the years.

"Robbie plays 100 per cent every week. Obviously there's been a lot written this week. He wants to stay out of that, it's got nothing to do with him."

Marshall added: "If it's got anything to do with form or how someone's playing, he definitely put his hand up. He won that game for us tonight. [It was] off the back of everyone else's effort but when it comes down to it, he won that game. When the game's on the line, champions stand up and he definitely stood up tonight. He made plenty of tackles, took the ball up strong and to put that effort in at the end to make that charge-down and chase the ball down …

"He was on his hands and knees just before that. That's a sign of true character and as the captain I thought he led the way and gave us that penalty and then kicked the winning [field] goal."

Sheens and Marshall revealed they had practised the field goal, executed after an error from Titan Jordan Rankin, which won the game. "I didn't think it was going to work - but it did work," Marshall said.

It was a heart-breaking loss for the Titans who had secured one win in their previous 12 at home and fielded a makeshift halves combination of Aiden Sezer and Rankin. "It was cruel in the end," coach John Cartwright said. "With a minute to go, I thought we'd be sweet."

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