Round 7: Tigers vs Broncos

Howdy folks, it’s Flannofan here, One Eyed has taken respite to N.Z for Easter in an attempt to find more Marshalls and sign them to life time contracts. Much to Tiger Brads distress it gives me a chance to step up into first grade blogging and belt out some quality type.

Let’s get into it!

Preview:

Let’s face it, I hate the Broncos with my entire being and I would rather see their club house burn to the ground than watch Broncos V anybody else but the Tigers. Yes this is a critical match for us, sure we could use the 2 points (more on that later) but being Brisbane based fans I am sure we all have plenty riding on the game, money, pride, the rest of the year to insult no matter what happens. It’s on.

The Broncos have been strong for the first few weeks of the year, their young players are coming on well, and of course Lockyer, Parker and Thaiday have had plenty of influence. There is alot to be said about a club who only knows success and the team this year looks set to right the wrongs of a disappointing campaign in 2010.

We all know the Tigers have been decimated by injury the past few weeks, and last week we learnt that our 3rd tier side still gives us something to cheer about, but cannot ensure the landlord another hole in the wall won’t occur. Thankfully to all those that have their bond resting on a decent performance, this week Fulton, Woods should get a start and the man with the massive palms Fifita will start – it is coming up to Palm Sunday after all! Beau is back, he can do great things when he is on his game, let’s hope he is, and Heighington dodged a suspension to take the field. So no excuses due to a weakened side this week, as the 1 to 17 are shaping up with what we started with in 2010.

The big match ups are of course Marshall and Lockyer, 2 of the greats of the game and just watching these 2 work their teams forward will be a delight, Lockyer, I believe is still the more intelligent player of the 2 and comes up with the correct play more often. This gamw will provide a litmus test of Benji’s maturity as a player in forming the right decision for each set.

Out wide Hodges (the most over-rated centre in the game next to Idris) comes up against Ashford. Simply Ashford should have Hodges measure as long as he doesn’t read the Courier Mail and subscribe to the hype. Ashford has the defensive skill and the strength to shut down Hodges, and quietly he should keep in his mind a good game on Friday could see him into City V Country.

Farrah will be keen to back up after his performance last week, it is fair to say Robbie has been a little disappointing so far this year and certainly not putting his best foot forward for an Origin jersey. Our beloved Captain showed some spark last week, and mid week interviews showed he is keen to wear the sky blue again. Robbie knows Ricky Stuart will be watching and he is behind on points as we come to the back end of the bout with Ennis.

It’s disappointing we miss out on a Broncos V Tigers this year, but I will be giving it my best lung full as I camp with Bronco tools out past the Glasshouse Mountains. Feel free to join me when you see the game playing in the back of my combi!

OK about now One Eyed attempts to forecast a score for all the desperate punters out there…..

Fortune Teller:

Look its going to be close, the Broncos aren’t the type of side to get beaten by 13+ too often. I would take Tigers 1 – 12 as my heart bet, my wallet says have a crack on betting a 40/20 will be kicked. The weather is good in Sydney and Farrah, Marshall, Lockyer are know for their skill in the kicking department.

Fantasy Bites:

Howling T’Wolves are up the top of the table and that is disgraceful, his side only contains 5 players of any quality with nothing on the bench, go Tits Magee. Mini Tigers Vs Mongrel Magpies will have plenty interested, Julian has traveled strongly through the early part of the season with the Mini Tigers and the Mongrel Magpies with a record of 2-1 have a chance to take down a current comp leader and with for and against leap frog them. One-Eyed Tigers Vs No Chance is certainly the Sunday afternoon game.

<^Flannofan on behalf on One-Eyed Tiger^>

wests tigers game preview
FlannoFan

Weekends out West: Changes

First half: A key part of coaching is putting your players in the best possible position to succeed. Tim Sheens didn’t do that on Friday night and the Tigers performed accordingly. Wade McKinnon was ruled out with a hamstring injury and Sheens’ answer was to move a halfback to fullback, bring a rookie off the bench to start at halfback and play two undersized utilities off the bench. The Tigers were terrific for 10 minutes and shit for 70.
 
Second half: The Tigers got some good news this week with injured centre Chris Lawrence stepping out to lead a coaching clinic. The 22-year-old is recovering well from a hip injury and is expected to return to action in July. Put simply, this kid is all class. He’s a leader on and off the field, he’s marketable and unlike so many others in the NRL, he has a clean record. The Tigers would be crazy not to work with Lawrence and one day make him the leader of the club.
 
Golden point: Andrew Fifita continues to be a shining light in a season dominated by injuries to a host of forwards. Todd Payten and Alan Schirnack joined the casualty ward this week, clearing the way for Fifita to start at prop alongside the returning Keith Galloway. Fifita has a brilliant fend, but he has to work on running straight when the Tigers bring the ball back from their own line. This is one emerging talent I’d hate to lose in favour of signing Adam Blair.
 
Numbers game: 829. The number of ‘last chances’ for Sydney Rooster Todd Carney, give or take…
 
Shout out: “Twenty minutes of perfect footy, a 6-1 penalty count and then we go backwards from there. We didn’t look like scoring another point after that” – Coach Tim Sheens on the Tigers Round 5 loss to the Titans.
 
<^TigerBrad^>

Weekends out West: Seek And Destroy

First half: Dwyer the destroyer played the best game of his young career with 161m, 34 tackles, three line breaks, two tries and an offload against a highly-fancied Bunnies backrow. The performance coincided with the return of international Gareth Ellis and another no nonsense game from Chris Heighington. With Liam Fulton expected to return from injury in coming weeks, the Tigers are quietly building one of the best backrow rotations in the game.
 
Second half: Injuries to Lote Tuqiri and Chris Lawrence have forced Matt Utai and Blake Ayshford to step up their games on the opposite side of the field. The Odd Couple – I think that’s a fair call – have risen to the challenge with a mix of confidence, aggression, power and speed. Utai’s effort in forcing Souths winger Fetuli Talanoa into an error off a booming Benji Marshall kick was a game changer, and both outside men ran for more than 100m against the Rabbits.
 
Golden point: The Odd Couple have also lifted their defence and they seem to have a solid understanding of their respective strengths and weaknesses. They combined to keep Greg Inglis to a season-low 45m on Friday night and defused bombs and cross-field kicks with ease. The more these guys play together the better they look. Lote and Lawrence get the headlines, but the Odd Couple could prove to be just as valuable as the season progresses.
 
Numbers game: $1.8 million over five years. That’s how much the Titans have reportedly committed to Bulldogs centre Jamal Idris. Overpaid, overrated and overweight.
 
Shout out: “Our negotiations are ongoing. We’ve got 24 hours to a game, [so] I’m not going to be speculating about where I’m going or what’s happening. There’s been too much of a circus about those sorts of things this week, so I’m not going to get into that. I’m not drawing that sort of publicity – don’t want to either” – Coach Tim Sheens on his contract negotiations with the club.
 
<^TigerBrad^>

Round 6: Titans vs Tigers

Preview:

 
The Wests Tigers go in search of their first away win of the season when they clash with the Titans on the Gold Coast this Friday. Coming off a fantastic win, the Tigers will be brimming with confidence. They defended like champions, keeping the Bunnies scoreless for 75 minutes.The Titans on the other hand were quite poor against the Cows in Round 5, conceding 22 points in the first half and taking almost an hour to score their first try. They now find themselves anchored to the bottom of the premiership ladder with only one win from five (and how lucky was their win against Canberra?).

We’ve had mixed news on the injury front. It was a great boost to have Ellis back in the team last week, but the Injury Gods struck again during the match with Galloway going down with a groin injury at halftime and Daniela sustaining a torn pec with only a few minutes left on the clock. On the positive side, Beau Ryan returns this week and both KG and Fulton are due back for the Broncos game in Round 7.

How good has Matt Utai been so far this year? He’s playing with bucketloads of commitment and passion. Every touch of the ball is quality and his kick chase effort in the lead-up to Brown’s try last week was superb. And while doling out the man-love, I have to mention Jacob Miller. He’s looked very impressive in the very short time he’s had in first grade. This kid has superstar written all over him – with a great combination of fearlessness and natural talent. I hope he keeps getting a run while Lui is out.

The Titans will be without Laffranchi and Campbell this week, but get Bird back from suspension and will have Harrison back if he passes a fitness test for his hamstring. There are some rumours floating around about Bailey’s fitness, but we’ll find out more about that on Friday. The Titans will obviously be up for this game as they find themselves in a must-win situation to keep in touch with the Top 8. Former team-mates Prince and Marshall always lift when they face-off, so we’re in for a beauty. The Tigers will need to restrict the Titan’s second-phase play and keep the pressure on Prince’s kicking game. With the ball, the Tigers will need to reproduce the intensity and effort from last week, ensuring they convert their opportunities early in the match to keep the Goldy crowd quiet.

This is the only game that the Tigers will play in South-East Queensland during the regular season this year, so if you haven’t already, grab a ticket and travel down to the game (QR travel is free for ticketholders, by the way). A group of us from BWTF will be in the Away Supporters Bay, drinking over-priced mid-strength beer and yelling our lungs out to help make the southern stand sound like Leichhardt! Should be fun! Cmon Tigers!!! 

Fortune Teller:

FTS: I liked the way Marshall and Dwyer linked up for a couple of tries last week. This week I think Ellis will get in on the action, so I’m backing him to score the first try.
Margin: Wests Tigers by 7
Score: 25-18 

Fantasy Bites:

TigerBrad’s Howling T’Wolves proved too strong for the One-Eyed Tigers and took the top-score honours in Round 5 with an impressive 714. Gus’ Frothing Donkeys also had a big win, breaking into the Top 8 with a score of 688.

When setting your line-ups for Round 6, take note of the injuries and suspension at Newcastle, as well as the return of Sam Williams as Canberra halfback.

In the Printing Well Cup this week, Lisa’s No Chance (2nd) vs TigerBrad’s Howling T’Wolves (4th) looks to be the game of the round. The Frothing Donkeys will challenge the table-topping 89Heros, while Tiny Tigers and 1 FISH do battle for their first win.

 
<^One-Eyed Tiger^>

Weekends out West: Hey Big Spender

First half: Andrew Fifita’s manager will be jumping for joy with news the Tigers have offered Melbourne Storm prop Adam Blair a $1.5 million contract over three years. Fifita is off contract at the end of this season and while he’s undoubtedly raw, he has incredible potential. His asking price will now be at an all-time high as the Tigers pull out all the stops to make Blair one of the highest paid forwards in the game. The New Zealand rep would be a solid signing for a club that lacks a genuine forward leader, but the rumoured asking price brings back memories of the Ryan O’Hara experiment of 2006. Singing Blair simply cannot cost the club Fifita or fellow young gun Aaron Woods.
 
Second half: NRL Stats shows Blair is being outperformed by the above-mentioned forwards in almost every category. The Storm prop is playing 66 minutes a game for 43 hit ups, 281m and 85 tackles. Compare that to Fifita, who is playing 40 minutes a game for 39 hit ups, 354m and 96 tackles. Woods is playing just 29 minutes a game, but is still good for 38 hit ups, 286m and 76 tackles. Look at those three stat lines and efficiency rates and tell me Blair should earn more than the other two players COMBINED. Blair is also being outperformed by Tim Mannah, Sam Kasiano, Martin Kennedy, Dan Hunt and Russell Packer. I’m certain none of those blokes are on $500,000 a year.
 
Golden point: Tim Sheens kept rookie halfback Jacob Miller on the bench for 60 minutes against a heavyweight Roosters team that couldn’t land a knockout blow on a groggy Wests Tigers outfit. The Tigers trailed 12-0 after a gutsy first half display and narrowed the lead to six when Aaron Woods crashed over minutes after the break. It was the perfect opportunity to inject a lively youngster with plenty to prove against his former club, but Sheens refused to budge. The Tigers played most of the game with Benji Marshall moving between halfback and five-eighth while an Australian Schoolboy warmed the bench. All this came days after Sheens said Miller was ready for first grade.
 
Numbers game: The Tigers had 42 tackles in the Roosters 20m zone during Sunday’s second half and still only managed to trouble the scorers with one try.
 
Shout out: “He has invested a lot of himself in this team, and I think he would like to continue with the players here” – Tigers CEO Stephen Humphreys on finalising a new two-year deal with Coach Sheens.
 
<^TigerBrad^>

Round 5: Tigers vs Rabbitohs

Preview:

The Wests Tigers return to the SFS for the second week in a row, on this occasion as the ‘home’ team (if that matters) to tackle Souths in the Heritage Round. The under-strengthed Tigers were far from disgraced in last week’s loss to the Chooks, but clearly lacked some rhythm in attack. The short turnaround to this Friday’s game will not do us any favours, but at least we didn’t pick up any more injuries (touch wood)!

Sheens has named last week’s run-on side for this clash (again, not sure if that matters), with Moltzen at halfback and Miller warming the bench. Gibbs was fair in his first game back from an extended lay-off and will be better for the run. Unfortunately, Ellis is at least another week or two away from returning.

Despite fading again in the second half last week, Souths will be reasonably confident heading into this game. They’ve got their season back on track with two straight wins and Inglis, their ‘signing of the season’ [sic], is beginning to earn his weekly pay. They are also likely to welcome back big Sam Burgess this week. The Rabbits had a typical hot-and-cold game against Manly, racing away to a big lead then conceding three tries in the final 10 minutes. At the moment, they have the league’s worst defensive record, conceding an average of 29 points per game. Strangely, they also have the league’s best attacking record averaging 28 points per game.

The Bunnies got the chocolates against us in both games of 2010. Improving on the one try we scored last week is a given, but as always it will be down to our defense to win this game, especially keeping their forwards such as Taylor and Burgess contained. These teams are quite evenly matched on paper so I’m expecting a close affair. If the Tigers limit the penalties and Marshall brings his best kicking boots, we should be singing our victory song at the end of the night.  You can do it, Tigers!

Fortune Teller:

FTS: I’m going with Benji Marshall. He was a bit flat last week and will be keen to lead by example and get the Tigers off to a flying start.
Margin: Wests Tigers 1-12
Score: 26-20, give or take.

Fantasy Bites:

The first head-to-head clash in the BWTF Printing Well Cup is done and dusted. 89Heros leads the way in the league with an impressive 725 points, thanks to an envious roster including Corey Parker, Cameron Smith and Jamie Soward. There were two games decided by as little as one and two points only, with Tony’s Horsehead Bookends squeezing past bucketsofblood and Julian’s mini tigers breaking FlannoFan’s heart. Tony was lucky that a glitch of some sort, which wiped out his bench and left him with only 13 scoring players, didn’t cost him the game.

Watch out TigerBrad, the One-Eyed Tigers have your Howling T’Wolves in our sights, and we’re in a steamrolling kinda mood. Fill them baths with ice, your boys will need a long soak after this one.

<^One-Eyed Tiger^>