Tigers hot, win 6 on trot
Wests Tigers 25 def Penrith Panthers 24
A controversial win today for the runaway Wests Tigers sends the 2005 NRL Premiers into 3rd spot on the NRL 2007 Points Table.
The Tigers started flat today at CUA stadium, but they warmed to the challenge as the hapless Panthers weren’t able to take advantage of the periods where they dominated. The Tigers were down 6-0 early, but it easily could have been 12-0 in their favour had some simple opportunities been taken.
The Tigers recovered and scored nice tries through Liam Fulton and Daniel Fitzhenry. The latter Fitzhenry try an absolute scortcher of a try, with the classy outside back beating 4 defenders and putting a massive step on Penrith fullback Rhys Wesser to speed around the fullback and score under the posts.
This try lifted the confidence of the Wests Tigers, and they led 25-12 with under 20 minutes to go. With the game seemingly over, the Panthers staged one of their big late combacks and go to within a point – with the controversy errupting after the Panthers declined to take a shot at goal after a late try. With the scores, 25-22 – the Panthers smartly declined the conversion shot (as the rules state it’s not mandatory) so they could quickly get back to receive a kickoff and score again. However rookie referee Jarred Maxwell incorrectly forced the Panthers to take the shot at goal and the wasted seconds ultimately ended the game for the mountain men.
The Wests Tigers have been unstoppable in the past 6 weeks and the Benji injury hasn’t hurt them at all, with the classy Liam Fulton slotting into the side and proving a match winner with 3 tries now in the past few weeks. The Tigers are lavishing in the skills and raw power of youngster Chris Lawrence and kiwi Taniela Tuiaki. The giant Tuiaki continues revelation for the Tigers, the big unit is a scary sight when he runs at the line, regularly requiring 3 opposition defenders to stop him. All this is capped off with sublime game plans from the exerienced Tim Sheens, not only do Sheens and Simmons have the blueprints – but their troops are one of the best at following instructions to the letter.
Penrith continue to lick their wounds and fans wonder what the future holds. Talk of the talented Peter Wallace heading to the Brisbane Broncos and the possibility of snaring Brent Tate continues to abound on club forums and gossip corners. New coach Matt Elliott needs to bring harmony some how and quickly, as things get worse – the public will cry out for a scape goat and this usually the coach. Elliott must be extremely frustrated with the fact that not only are Penrith troubled, but his old troops in Canberra find themselves well entrenched in the top 8 after a solid win this weekend.
Angry Penrith fans flooded 2GB and other talk back radio stations tonight, airing their frustrations to Andrew Moore, Steve Roach and Darryl Brohman on the Continuous Call team. Many of the calls related to Penrith CUA Stadium ground announcer Steve McCrae – who is under fire for critising his own team for poor performance.
Broncos belt Knights
Brisbane Broncos 71 def Newcastle Knights 6
A dynamic Broncos side today finally clicked into gear at the expense of a wounded, sick and sorry Newcastle Knights outfit. The reigning premiers, Brisbane scored 12 tries in a romp that lasted until the final minutes of the match.
Brisbane’s previous biggest NRL wins were 58-4 over North Queensland and 60-6 over North Sydney, both in 1998.
Newcastle were forced to make numerous changes to accommodate the savage losses of Origin stars Kurt Gidley (shoulder), skipper Danny Buderus (foot) and forward Steve Simpson (calf) who were all late withdrawals.
Brisbane led 25-6 at half-time. Centre Justin Hodges, winger Brent Tate and forward Tonie Carroll each scored a double in Brad Thorn’s 200th first grade game. Hunt was named man of the match.
Knight’s halfback Jarrod Mullen, whose passing game was impressive, scored the visitors only try in the 33rd minute beating Hunt and Hodges with a neat sidestep.
The win lifted Brisbane off the bottom of the NRL after the Roosters scored an upset win over the Sharks. The latest halfback experiment with Michael Ennis seemed to work well. I am sure Wayne Bennett was much more upbeat at the press conference, and maybe Brian Smith should have asked Wayne to answer his questions at the after match chat – as it seems to have worked well for old timer Bennett after last weeks arrogant showing.
Unrelated: DOTA, WoW