The Titans finals aspirations have been crushed with a 26-4 loss to the Tigers, at home on Sunday evening. The result puts the Titans beyond doubt of making the eight, and in what has been an underwhelming season overall, it seems to be the right scenario. The Tigers’ win puts them four points ahead of the Knights to avoid the wooden spoon, and injects some confidence and promise moving forward for the young side.
Tedesco fuels Tigers’ mauling
Regardless of his imminent departure, James Tedesco was the man responsible for a strong performance from the Tigers. Wests attacking numbers in the first half were impressive compared to the Titans, with two line breaks to the Titans zero and completing 54 percent of their sets to the Titans 46 percent, and Tedesco was in the thick of it. His ball running around the ruck as well as joining the backline on multiple attacking chances gave the Tigers a lot of options. His speed and brilliant footwork set up what looked to be a try at one point in the first half, but was later denied by an obstruction ruling.
The second half saw Tedesco score one of his more bizarre tries in a Tiger jersey, looking to have knocked the ball on only to kick it forward and pounce on the ball in goal. He continued to torment the Titans with his running game, and hovered around the ruck with a lot of energy to unload. It will be a harsh reality for Wests fans to see him leave, but good form can only rub off positively on the rest of the team.
Titans fall by their own hand
If anyone uses the excuse ‘Well we were without Konrad Hurrell’ then they truly are a sore loser, because the Titans simply did not turn up for one of their most important games of the season.
Whenever the Titans had the ball, they never ran with conviction through their forwards or showed any sort of class through the backline. With some good attacking play strong together, the Titans’ only try in the 52nd minute gave the team some hope. Hayne’s big body allowed him to take on multiple defenders and forced his way over. From there a great chip kick from Ash Taylor was recovered by Anthony Don, but nothing came of it as the Tigers slowly regained control of the game.
From there the Tigers continued to pound on the points, and their defence got worse by the minute, highlighted by the Tigers’ final try where the Gold Coast defence was absolutely terrible. Ultimately the decided their fate for 2017 and it is discouraging to say the east compared to 2016.
Half-time reshuffle hurts Titans more so
The Titans were certainly on the back foot in the first half, and with no Konrad Hurrell and Hayne having to cover, the team did not have the same go forward as they normally did. It makes sense though, Hayne played well during the Origin period in that role and Tyrone Roberts was pleasing at fullback numerous times this season.
However Neil henry thought it would be a good decision to switch the two men, with Hayne playing fullback and the undersized Roberts playing in the centres. The plan backfired, as the Titans were exposed in many ways. Their right edge defensively was weak, with the Tigers’ third and fourth tries scored on that side. No Jarryd Hayne meant that their ability to run at the line n attack diminished, and Roberts’ smaller frame meant his impact on the defensive line was underwhelming. Henry’s decision made the situation far worse for his team, a situation that did not warrant a questionable rotation.
Tiger halves looking promising
The halves for the Tigers have been messed around with this year, with Mitchell Moses leaving and Tui Lolohea arriving from New Zealand, but what Lolohea and Brooks produced can do nothing but please fans. It was not a mesmerising performance; however it was pleasing considering the season it has been for the Tigers and the turmoil that their players and staff have gone through.
Both men showed great ball running; with a Luke Brooks burst setting up the teams’ third try, as well as Lolohea continuously pounding the line. Lolohea also acted as a facilitator for his teammates, hovering around the backline and passing the ball out wide looking for chances, particularly early in the game. A brilliant cut out ball looked to have given the Tigers’ another try within the last 10 mins, but the Lolohea pass was called forward. However it did not take away from what was an impressive ball out wide, highlighting a pleasing night for the young Kiwi.
Tries: Marsters (3m), Tedesco (44m), Watene-Zelezniak (46m), Lawrence (64m), Woods (77m)
Goals: Lolohea 3/5
Tries: Hayne (52m)
Goals: Taylor 0/1