What a difference a win makes! To break a 5 game losing streak with a 30-0 shutout speaks volumes for the character of the Wests Tigers – and likewise the predicament of the injury-hit Penrith Panthers. In any case, the Tigers get the chance to build upon the win with a visit to Parramatta Stadium in another western shoot-out on Sunday arvo.
Plenty of Wests Tigers were in action last weekend, so maintaining the momentum of the Penrith win should not be too much of a problem. Blair put in an improved performance in the trans-Tasman Test. Ayshford rediscovered some form for BRET with a dominant display (and scored a try), while the City representatives were all very impressive. Farah and Woods were standouts and will certainly gave Sticky plenty to the think about over the coming weeks. Woods has been one of our best all season and is now a genuine bolter for the sky-Blues. If Farah can repeat his City performance over the next couple of weeks he should beat The Grub and old-man Buderus for the NSW #9.
The Eels are rooted to the bottom of the ladder with one win so far – an upset win over Manly in Round 5. They’ve since followed that up with an 8-point and 6-point loss over the last two games. Sandow is under immense pressure and dealing with a shoulder injury, so every Tiger forward should be seeking him out in the defensive line to keep him on the back foot. The other danger will come from Hayne. Limiting his opportunities in our 20m zone will be vital. That means not gifting them too many piggy-back penalties. The Tigers conceded only two penalties against the Panthers. If they can keep that number about the same they’ll be in good shape.
I’m looking forward to big performances from former Eels Humble and Reddy. Humble is looking more settled at halfback with each game. I’m also glad to see Bell retained at lock and big Cashmere on the bench, giving the Tigers a good balance and size in the forwards. On paper, the Tigers should have far too much class for the Eels and a comfortable victory should be on the cards. We beat them twice in 2010 and split the honours in 2011. The Tigers are ready to roar again and start their charge up the ladder. Should be a beauty!
FTS: Lawrence broke his try-scoring duck in 2012 for City last weekend and I’m backing him to open the scoring on Sunday.
Margin: In 3 of the last 4 wins over the Eels the Tigers have kicked a field goal, so I’m punting on an odd-numbered margin. Wests Tigers by 13.
BWTF Players of the Week:
Players who collected the most votes in each category for Round 7 were:
Best Back/Utility: Marshall (42% of votes) [12/28]
Best Forward: Woods (61% of votes) [19/31]
Links for the Round 8 polls will be posted on Facebook at 6pm after the delayed Channel 9 coverage.
It feels like forever since I have sat down to write about Dream Team, and even longer since the last round! Despite only being a week and a half, I am excited to have that impending lockout deadline upon me again. So let’s have a look at the big issues this week in the world of Dream Team.
Before I get into the crux of my discussion for Round 8, I just thought I wanted to make you all aware of the fact that partial lockout begins Wednesday. Partial lockout means that Storm, Warriors, Dragons and Roosters players have to be locked into your team tomorrow for their points to be counted towards your Starting 17. That also includes ensuring that if you wish for your Captain to be from one of those teams, that you nominate them prior to the partial lockout.
Anyway, let’s get cracking on the pressing issue this week. I thought it would be wise to talk about potential trading strategies over the next six or seven weeks, centred around Head to Head competition, as I am sure you are all after the glory of winning a BWTF conference!
There are four bye rounds in Head to Head competition. Round 11, 14, 17 and 18. While byes don’t count towards H2H, they do count towards overall, so keep it in mind if that’s a pressing goal for you. But let’s have a look at what this means for your team.
The simple fact to look at is that it means that out of the next eleven weeks of competition, you only have seven head to heads. This can present you with a great opportunity to save on trades should injury occur. Just say you have a player that gets injured Round 10, and is out for seven weeks. That player only misses (at most) four games. That long term injury suddenly doesn’t look so bad.
Four weeks off does not sound like much until you realise that you could potentially save eight trades by factoring in bye rounds when making your decisions which is just brilliant given the injury rate so far this year.
What I suggest you do now is evaluate where each of your player’s teams are having their byes before making trade decisions, whether it be performance or injury based. There are a few team bye calculators around – see if you can get your hands on one. It may just make your trade decision that much easier.
Only a few injuries from Round 7 and the representative weekend.
Kevin Kingston (Panthers) – 6 Weeks
Terry Campese (Raiders) – Season.
The BWTF Admins are still undefeated after four rounds of Head to Head competition. Let’s hope someone steps up to the plate this week! Last rounds winners were:
Barnes: Raptor, Sportsmad, Metallitgger, TooMuchWeight, Howling T’Wolves, 89 Heroes, Fighting Mongooses, Tiger Terror
Summons: Yo Mamas, OneEyedTigers, Tiger Terror, Sladie’s Tigers, ktsraptors, Crank’s Charge, Cobydog, Go Wests.
Best of luck for this weekend everyone. Until next week!
I hope we all had a good Easter Long Weekend. Despite being a normal break in rounds, this week seems to have snuck up on me rather quickly and surprise surprise, Friday is here! So without further delay, here is your weekly dose of The Starting 17!
So here we are, another Friday, another round. The weeks sure are flying by, and before you know it, State of Origin will be upon us. Another year, another intense few weeks of hoping that NSW can finish QLD’s reign.
I am sure most of you all know just how much of an impact State of Origin can have on a player as far as Dream Team is concerned. It’s an intense time of year when most people try and scrape together enough players to have a full starting 17 (if you’re lucky).
I’m giving you all the heads up now – this is not the first ‘Scrum’ that will feature discussion on State of Origin. Instead of starting to talk about who to trade and keep, I thought I would address an issue that seems to be coming up in Dream Team circles – who will play for NSW? Especially – who plays in their halves?
Rather than go into speculation and my thoughts on who would make good halves (because I can guarantee my thoughts are different to Sticky’s) I just thought I would come to the crux of the issue.
Every week the media’s perspective on an ideal halves combo seems to change. With incumbents Soward and Pearce having ‘reasonable’ starts to the season, one or both of these positions may well be up for grabs. Possible replacements include Carney, Maloney, Campese, Mullen, Wallace… it’s nothing short of a joke from my perspective.
All of the aforementioned halves have a chance at making a solid impression over the next few weeks. If you currently have any of these players, or are thinking about trading one of them in my message for you is this: don’t let possible State Of Origin representation scare you. We’re still some time away, and a lot can change in a month of Rugby League. If worst comes to worst, you can always trade them closer to the time if you really have to.
Before I finish up, I can’t miss a chance to stir the pot and so I think I should name my preferred halves based on current form. Carney and Wallace.
Yet again, more injuries to take note of in Round 7:
R Asotasi (Rabbits) – Season.
R Maitua (Eels) – 2 or 3 Weeks.
F-P Wrecking Ball Nuuausala (Roosters) – 4 to 6 Weeks.
N Gardner (Sharks) – Season, basically.
C Townsend (Sharks) – 4 Weeks.
M Groat (Tigers) – 1 Week.
Cov (Tigers) – 4 to 6 Weeks.
Congraluations go to Go Wests , Ebbwvale Tigers , Campbelltown Tigers and Crank’s Charge who all got their first wins of the season! Winners from R6 are as follows:
Barnes: TooMuchWeight, Metallitgger, Laroche Lions, raptor, Howling T’Wolves, Tims Terrorises, Campbelltown Tiger, Ebbwvale Tigers
Summons: Yo Mamas, BucketsOfBlood, OneEyedTigers, Tiger Terror, Sladie’s Tigers, Woot Woot the 2nds, Crank’s Charge, Go Wests
That’s all for this week. Until next time!
It’s little consolation after five losses, but the Tigers would have beaten most teams last week. The Broncos were just too good. Despite a couple more injuries, the addition of Cashmere and Moors to the bench and shifting of Bell to lock has given the Tigers a fresh and sizeable look. If they can repeat their effort from last week, and Penrith produce a similar display to what they did against Manly, we’ll be celebrating our long overdue second win of the season on Sunday afternoon.
Eight weeks ago I was convinced the Wests Tigers had the squad and experience to lead from the front and shoot for the minor premiership. For a number of reasons (most of which I cannot fathom) that has not been the case. The Storm and Broncos lead the way and are showing beyond doubt they’re a class above the rest of the field, while the Tigers are still stumbling to make it out of the starting gates. With only a quarter of the season gone, all is not lost. The inconsistency of most of the remaining teams will result in a traffic jam around the middle of the table come Round 26 and I still have confidence that Wests will string together a winning streak here and there to qualify for the 8. The games between now and our bye week, including must-wins against fellow cellar-dwellers the Eels and Titans, will go a long way to determining how far we go.
With Jennings ruled out, the main threats from Penrith will come from Coote along the ground and Walsh via the air. Moltzen will be in for a very busy afternoon under the high ball. It’s Penrith go-to play in the attacking zone on the 5th but I think Walsh will be targeting Moltz wherever they are on the field.
Wests have won the past three against Penrith, while Penrith have lost their last two games in a row and past five games at their home ground. Both teams will be desparate for a win, but surely for the sanity of us fans and given the Panther’s injuries, this is our turn!
FTS: A Benji Marshall cut-out pass to Lote Tuqiri for the first try of the game.
Margin: This is the week the real Wests Tigers stand-up and restart their season with a vital win. Us by 14.
BWTF Players of the Week:
Players who collected the most votes in each category for Round 6 were:
Best Back/Utility: Marshall (36% of votes) [7/19]
Best Forward: Fulton (36% of votes) [7/19]
Links for the Round 7 polls will be posted on Facebook at 6pm after the delayed Channel 9 coverage.
Tin Man Timmy: Twelve Tigers repelled wave after wave of Brisbane attack on Friday night. Twelve Tigers like Aaron Woods, Matt Bell and Keith Galloway held on until the very last tackle, until Tin Man Tim Moltzen undid all the hard work, set it alight and pissed on the ashes. I was a huge Moltzen fan back in the day, but he’s proven himself to be one of the worst fullbacks in the NRL. Just sign a contract, honour it, and leave us alone.
Same same, but different: If it’s not missed tackles and penalties letting the Tigers down then it’s bouncing bombs and unforced errors. The Tigers dominated the penalty count and tackled their guts out against the Broncos before committing a string of schoolboy errors on the way to another loss. They say the means justifies the end, and the end has become an all-to-familiar result in season 2012. The Tigers have slumped to a 1-5 record and the statistics speak for themselves.
Tale of the tape: According to NRL Stats, the Tigers rank 16th – that’s dead last if you’re keeping count – in possession, tackle breaks, line breaks and run metres. It doesn’t get much better with completions (15th), offloads (14th), missed tackles (second most) and errors (sixth most) also major concerns. The Tigers look lost in attack – they scored 10 points in garbage time against the Broncos – and still have huge issues in defence. So how did we get to this point?
Size and strength: Tim Sheens is a man of great contrast. At the end of 2011 the Wests Tigers released props Bryce Gibbs and Andrew Fifita, with Teflon Tim saying the club needed more size to compete with the likes of Melbourne, Manly and New Zealand. Fast forward to the opening rounds of 2012, and Teflon is the only coach in the NRL who regularly names a back on the bench. Way to put even more pressure on a struggling forward pack.
Kick in the guts: You’ve also got to question the Tigers kicking game, or lack thereof. Teflon Tim has been coaching this lot for the best part of 10 years and their kicking game remains absolutely diabolical. The Tigers are permanently on the back foot and struggle for field position because of poor kicks and brain-dead last tackle options. A half decent kicking game will go a long way towards addressing the Tigers lack of possession, line breaks and run metres.
While I’m at it: The Tigers HAVE to win on Sunday. The Panthers don’t need a W as badly as the Tigers. For that reason alone, I think Wests will get the win. I’m just going to close my eyes every time Luke Walsh puts a bomb in the air. After all, it’s what Tin Man Timmy would want…