The NZ Warriors were flamboyant and precise today; as they disposed of the Wests Tigers on their own turf. A comprehensive display from the Kiwi side, winning 28 points to 16 and virtually sewing the game up before half time.
Plenty of possession in the first half was just the tonic the NZ Warriors needed to keep their impressive form run going – a momentum roll that became way too big for the Wests Tigers to control.
65% possession at one stage had the Warriors lining up to get involved, with George Gatis the instigator from dummy half – running for plenty of metres and positioning the big forwards Steve Price and Ruben Wiki beautifully – for them to plow over the advantage line on every play.
The Tigers obviously had a plan to stick to Wade McKinnon like glue, which they did – however the man power that McKinnon was sucking in – left plenty of gaps for Grent Rovelli and Michael Witt to press through and position their support play to perfection.
It was quality football from the NZ Warriors and an enjoyable style to watch when compared with last nights games of much lower standard. The away win for the Warriors proves their ready for NRL Top 8 Finals football in 2007 and won’t be just making up the numbers. Their injury list isn’t hurting them and they have hit form at the opportune time.
The Wests Tigers were their own enemy in some parts of the game today, minor mistakes compounding the Warriors juggernaut. Failing to find the dirt quickly near the in-goal resulting in costly drop-outs, pushed passes and dropped ball kept the possession pressure against the Campbelltown side all day.
The Tigers refused to take the Warriors on mid field and who could blame them, the Warriors were hitting with maximum impact – even winger Manu Vatuvei had Tigers running for cover as he steamed ahead. As the Tigers tried to go round the Warriors the mistakes came; the Kiwi side jamming in nicely to snuff out most raids.
Robbie Farrah at half back continues to leave such a vacant hole at hooker for the Tigers; the man tipped to oust Danny Buderus at NSW Origin level for the hooking role is wasted away from his natural spot. Don’t get me wrong, he is a ball player and has the instincts of a half back – but this guy is a possible Australian hooker one day! Use him in his god given role!
The only negative for the Warriors today was pivot Michael Witt breaking his conversion record, reaching 28 successive goals – dating back to 2005 the classy pivot had not missed a kick. His 3rd kick today was from the sideline and he managed to nail it and keep the record in tact, only missing out – as he sprayed his next easier conversion to left hand side.
The NZ Warriors are now 4 wins from 9 games in Australia this 2007 NRL season, a much better record than in previous years. They take on strugglers Newcastle in Auckland next week and on current form – they will not only get the win, but improve their points difference out of sight.
For the Wests Tigers who are already on 20 points, while the loss is not ideal – it’s certainly not the end of the world. Sheens will need to get some structure and confidence back into his side – most importantly prop up their struggling forward pack as the Tigers face the force of the North Queensland Cowboys. Its another home game for the Tigers, but one they must win against a top 4 side to give themselves a chance of finishing higher in the NRL top 8.