Snapping a six-game losing streak, the Wests Tigers deserve to celebrate their win but it has come at a cost, with the in-form James Tedesco – who has been a revelation in season 2016 – injuring his shoulder in the clash.
A catalyst for the Tigers in the first half, he left the field and did not return in the second. Scans await Tedesco and Tigers fans will be holding their breath that it is not serious.
The Tigers were dealt another blow right before kick-off, with Mitch Moses straining a quad in the warm-up, resulting in a re-shuffle.
The win is a welcome relief for the Tigers, who just five days ago were obliterated by a rampant Raiders side.
The pressure that built up on the club was something they handled and the efforts of the team drew praise from coach Jason Taylor.
“We brought all of the pressure on ourselves from a performance that was absolutely not good enough last week,” Tigers coach Jason Taylor said.
“We can take that pressure straight away with a win and that’s what we did. But it was in such a great fashion.
“I’m really excited about the way we won that game. It was a tough performance, we wanted to be tougher and that was a really strong win in the circumstances and there were plenty going against us.”
The South Sydney Rabbitohs, who are going through a similar down-patch, were their own worst enemies. Conceding 20 points in a 20 minute period in the first half, they were on the back foot from the get-go.
After 36 long minutes, Souths scored their opening try, to give them a fighting chance.
Whilst their second half produced more fluidity among the team, it was not enough in the end as the Tigers had pushed the lead out to an insurmountable deficit.
The pride of his team was the difference for Taylor.
You don’t get to this level if you’re not passionate about doing well and succeeding. You don’t become an NRL player if you haven’t got pride in your performance and a desire and a passion to win,” Taylor said.
“We didn’t have to work too hard this week to get that out of the guys. We just had to get them together and keep them positive which was great.”
The loss has Souths coach Michael Maguire questioning the attitude of his side and captain Greg Inglis admits that giving up that many points early is not good form.
“We shouldn’t have been in that situation in the first place,” Inglis said.
“Attitude is a big thing. We can’t be dipping the toe in and then try and play catch up footy.”
Playing only 63 minutes, Sam Burgess was back to his barnstorming best but he did leave the field injured and needs scans on an injured ankle.
“His ankle is quite stable from what the doctors have told me but we’ll have to have some scans and have a look and go through the process there,” Maguire said.
After the loss, Maguire was incensed with his side and their lack of attitude.
“We need to sort out the players’ attitudes very quickly. To have simple tries scored against us like that, I thought our defence was very ordinary,” Maguire said.
“Our players, and I don’t normally make comment about it, but we need to make sure we’re a lot better than that or we’re going to end up staying in exactly the same place as where we are right now.
“After 20 minutes, that’s not acceptable at this club. We need to make sure we’re accountable for what we put out there because it was garbage really.
“People didn’t want to put their bodies in front, plain and simple. We have a team there where they commit throughout the week but they have to commit through the 80 minutes too and they didn’t do that.”
Player of the Game:
3. Sam Burgess
2. Robbie Farah
1. David Nofoaluma
Wests Tigers 30 (Jordan Rankin 2, James Tedesco, Kevin Naiqama, Luke Brooks, David Nofoaluma tries; Jordan Rankin 2 goals) defeated South Sydney Rabbitohs 22 (Bryson Goodwin 2, Kirisome Auva’a, Dane Nielsen tries; Adam Reynolds 3 goals) at ANZ Stadium. Crowd: 11,229. Half-time: Wests Tigers 20-6. Injuries: James Tedesco (Wests Tigers) â€“ shoulder; Sam Burgess (Rabbitohs) â€“ ankle.