Tigers win ugly, maybe too ugly
The Tigers notched up an important victory in their quest to make the Top 8 but the match itself wasn’t one to remember. It was a mostly sloppy affair where penalties galore were blown as referee Henry Perenara went trigger happy with his whistle. The game finished with a 10-9 penalty count in favour of the Tigers. It was a situation the Tigers used to their advantage as they opted to take a penalty goal on 4 different occasions and converting 3 of them. While their tactics helped extend the scoreline they denied themselves an opportunity to really assert themselves in attack and probably scored less tries than they could have. The 2nd half saw only one try scored late in the 73rd minute as Sausaso Sue pounced on a Mitchell Moses grubber that went wayward in-goal. In the end the Tigers won’t care how they got the 2 points but they can’t expect to play like that against teams above them and expect to come away with a win.
Eels still putting in effort
With the calibre of talent the Eels are missing through one misfortune or another it wouldn’t be a surprise to see a team that had every reason to throw in the towel just give up. However to their credit, against the Tigers, they showed they aren’t going to end their season without giving it their all.
The Parramatta Eels are currently fielding a patchwork side of pretty much whoever still remains but each and every one of them showed that pride is enough motivation to continue playing out the season putting in effort. Clint Gutherson continued making the most out of his shift to the halves trying his best all-game to create opportunities while bench forward David Gower had a surprising stand-out game. Making a rare line break and running for 118 metres in his 42 minute stint on the field, he provided an example of a player whose team in dire straits but the effort and enthusiasm hasn’t waned. Their execution was severely lacking and they made a lot of simple errors to turn over possession but it’s a credit to coach Brad Arthur that he can motivate his men so well to continue to turn up and show their fans they’re not giving up.
Moses steps up
With his halves partner Luke Brooks ruled out of the game in the 2nd half it was up to Mitchell Moses to take charge of the game and he did so in resounding fashion. He was taking on the line frequently and he asserted himself well as the dominant and only playmaker, keeping the Tigers firmly in the lead. He set up 2 of his side’s 3 tries and slotted a late field goal to notch up one more point on his career tally in a performance that demonstrated the growth in his game since making his debut in 2014. He’ll have to continue on with his newfound level of leadership and authority on the field as Brooks has been ruled out for up to 5 weeks with a posterior cruciate ligament injury.
Brooks injury has opened the door for the return of Robbie Farah to first grade. Despite the good form Moses may be in, being relied upon as the sole playmaker against one of the premiership heavyweights in the Cowboys may prove to be too much to handle. While Chris Lawrence deputised admirably in the 5/8 role during the game against the Eels, surely even Jason Taylor would realize that there’s no room to be playing makeshift halves against a team like the Cowboys. Farah lacks experience playing in the halves as well but his kicking game and creativity with the ball would provide the Tigers with a bit more variety in attack in a game where they’ll need every point they can get. Whether Jason Taylor chooses to swallow his pride and put him back in the team remains to be seen but with a lack of experienced depth to call upon in the halves with Jack Littlejohn having only played 6 NRL games, he may just have no choice.
In The Sheds
Luke Brooks suffered a torn posterior cruciate ligament which will see him between 3 to 5 weeks of footy.
Wests Tigers– 23
Tries: David Nofoaluma (11m), James Tedesco (14m), Sauaso Sue (73m)
Goals: Mitchell Moses 5/7
Field Goal: Mitchell Moses
Parramatta Eels– 8
Tries: Vai Toutai (37m)
Goals: Michael Gordon 2/2