Four Pointer: Wests Tigers 16 Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 22
It was an up and down match from both sides, with both the Tigers and the Sharks unable to play consistently for the entire eighty-minutes. The Sharks continue to be undefeated away from home this season, due to the Tigers being down on troops, losing both Woods and Tedesco during the match.
Sharks’ Discipline is a Problem
Despite the ugly win and the celebrations that followed, Shane Flanagan and his side have a lot to work on, given the completion rate post-match, which ended up being 61% as opposed to the Tigers’ 76%. They made a total of 14 errors throughout the match, and it was their lowest completion rate so far this season, completing 20/33 sets. As a result of this, the Sharks now have both the worst completion rate and have given away the most penalties of any other side in the competition. The 7-2 penalty count and the fact that James Maloney has now given away 19 penalties this season is an area that must be addressed and improved on if their endeavours for back-to-back premierships are to be realised.
Both Sides Inconsistent
Neither the Tigers nor the Sharks could piece together an entire eighty minute performance, making it an up and down match in every aspect. The Sharks came out with intensity, leading ten points to two within fifteen minutes. This had slowly dissipated as the Tigers kicked into gear and gained momentum from the 25th minute, being the only ones to score until the 54th minute. At this point it was the Tigers who were in front 16-10 with just under 30 minutes left to play. Soon the Sharks began to play tough again, with fullback Valentine Holmes crossing the line in the 57th minute. Shortly after it was Chad Townsend who won the match for his side, creating his own opportunity to chip and chase and score with only twelve minutes remaining in the match. It was the Sharks’ job to avoid giving any opportunities away for their opposition to bounce back, and they did just that – with the help of the poor effort from the Tigers. Neither side was fantastic, and both coaches need to address the issue surrounding their team’s inability to consistently play an entire match.
Tedesco and Woods are Big Losses
Both fullback James Tedesco and prop Aaron Woods were lost in the first half due to injury and HIA. Aaron Woods had hamstring concerns while Tedesco failed his HIA test, ruling the pair out for the remainder of the contest, leaving the Tigers in despair. Following their departures from the field, their side was left with only fifteen men, which proved to be a struggle for them as they trudged through the remainder of the match. Ivan Cleary’s Tigers struggled without both Tedesco and Woods in both their defence and attack, more so in attack, which is what let them down in the end, losing by only six points. Though despite losing these two, Mitchell Moses and Luke Brooks stepped up into their roles and played well throughout the match, displaying a gutsy effort in their attempt to make a comeback, however it just wasn’t enough.
Wade Graham Steps Up (Again)
Once again Wade Graham was instrumental to the Sharks’ win, providing two try and line break assists, and had an 84% tackle success rate. He has been improving each week, and is an incredible asset to the side. After being overlooked for Australian selection, he is playing to be selected for Laurie Daley’s NSW Blues side for the Origin series coming up at the end of next month. He made thirteen runs, and 115 running metres throughout the match. The twenty-six year old has been brilliant for the club, communicating on the field and assisting the spine in both attack and defence during each match. He put on a great performance against Cleary’s Tigers, and assisted the team in their defeat, to keep their away-win run going.
Tries: Kevin Naiqama, Moses Suli
Goals: Mitchell Moses 4
Tries: Tony Williams, Sosaia Feki, Valentine Holmes, Chad Townsend
Goals: James Maloney 3