Dealing with the added expectation of being a premiership favourites is never easy, and for the Wests Tigers, they have found that out the hard way – with the club falling to their 5th straight defeat, in a 18-16 loss to the Brisbane Broncos, at Allianz Stadium.
From the outset, it was easy to see that it was not going to be the Tigers night, with fullback Tim Moltzen having a shocker at the back – errors that led to Broncos tries, and could have led to more, had the Broncos not butchered some golden opportunities.
It was the clinical play from the Broncos when it mattered that saw them get the win, with the young Corey Norman filling the shoes of Lockyer well, with a solid performance.
Despite the Broncos win however, second-rower Ben Te’o may find himself in some strife, after he was put on report for a shoulder charge that made contact with the head of Tigers prop Matt Groat – a tackle eerily similar to that of Frank Pritchard’s, that saw him suspended for 2 weeks.
Despite the narrow victory, Broncos coach Anthony Griffin was never confident about the final result, until the full-time siren sounded.
“You’re never comfortable against the Tigers no matter what the score,” Griffin said.
“They’ve got so much strike there, they chance their arm from anywhere.
“I just had that feeling when we dropped those two balls … instead of going to 16 or 20-0 we were 10-4 so we had to start again in the second half.”
For the Tigers, being down to 15 men for 60 minutes is never easy, but coach Tim Sheens said his side fought valiantly.
“There’s no doubt it was an effort, 15 men for 60 minutes was a fantastic effort for the guys,” Sheens said.
“You’ve got to win a game, then win another game. The comp showed last year you put together a win, you put together two and things become achievable again for us.”
Unfortunately, to make matters worst for the Tigers, lock Chris Heighington will undergo scans tomorrow, on a suspected broken hand.