When you start the year as the premiership favourites, living up to those expectations throughout the regular season can be rather daunting, and for the Wests Tigers, that is the case – as a humiliating loss to the Roosters, has their finals hopes dangling by the smallest of threads.
For the Roosters, knowing that the finals were out of reach, they used the occasion of Anthony Minichello’s 250th NRL game, as the impetus for their solid showing the entire game.
With the game meaning so much to Minichello, he was itching to get over the try-line in his milestone game, and he did just that – after scoring off a Mitchell Pearce assist.
“I love him (Pearce); champion guy and he let me have a try in a special game,” Minichiello said.
“During the game I was like `get me over, I need a try’ and it finally came. I just had to catch and put it down.”
The game was special for another reason also, as it was Braith Anasta’s final game as a Rooster at home – resulting in the veteran spending 40 minutes shaking the hands of fans, in what was an emotional moment for him.
“It was pretty emotional seeing some of the messages, not every day you walk into the sheds and see almost 1000 messages just for you,” he said.
“It’s something to cherish and keep for future to look back on.
“It’s pretty special to play 250 for a sole club. I’ve been here since 16 – half my life.”
There was one standout who many thought would not have such a solid impact, with Daniel Tupou starring, scoring three tries.
Roosters coach Brian Smith had praise for both Tupou, as well as centre Tautau Moga.
“He’s played all his footy this year at Newtown. I think he scored 20 tries this year at the Jets,” said Smith, who also saved praise for brilliant young centre Tautau Moga.
“He’s got big things in front of him. He’s never really applied himself as a younger player. He’s only just worked out that he’s bloody good at it.”
With the Tigers needing other results to go their way, they will have to beat a resurgent Storm side – but Tigers coach Tim Sheens knows that his side has to improve dramatically, if they are to beat the Storm.
“Obviously there’s still another game to play, but right at the moment we are no chance of beating Melbourne unless we are 300 per cent better,” Sheens said.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do this week.”
To rub salt into the wound, star half Benji Marshall was put on report for a hit on Roosters prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, but the Rooster international came out in defence of his country companion.
“It hit me in the chest and slid up. It wasn’t bad at all. I didn’t think much of it,” Waerea-Hargreaves said.