I still have faith that the Wests Tigers can regroup and become a premiership force. In 2013, that is. Based on last Sunday’s flogging it’s pretty clear that 2012 is all but done.
To dish up that mistake-ridden performance with the season on the line was unacceptable. Even if the Tigers do vastly improve and overcome a possibly understrength Storm team on Saturday, I don’t believe it will amount to much. The damage has already been done. Firstly, I don’t believe that other results will be kind enough to us to qualify. But even if the Broncos and/or Raiders choke, our team doesn’t have what it takes to advance deep into September. We’ll be cannon fodder, pure and simple. Why? Because the Wests Tigers can’t string together consecutive high quality performances against quality teams. The Tigers played strongly in a loss to the Cowboys despite a massive injury toll in Round 20, then got handed their behinds by Souths the following week. After giving their all and losing an unlucky game to the Dogs in Round 23, the Roosters completely embarassed us last week. That inconsistency over the past five weeks simply means that successful finals footy is well beyond this mob at the moment.
Benji Marshall said after the game on Sunday that the must-win pressure got the better of the team and that is what contributed to the woeful errors. I scratch my head at that comment. This is not a team of first and second year rookies. This is a team containing grand final winning players. This is a team where the core of the players were involved in the past two consecutive finals campaigns. This is a team with six international representatives on the field, plus a handful of City-Country representatives. This is a team with the Australian coach at the helm. Putting in a competitive performance in a must-win game should be second nature. But for whatever reason, in 2012, it’s not.
There have been some positives that Wests will take into 2013. Woods has developed into one of the best four props in the comp and is destined for Origin and Australian jerseys in the near future. Sironen and Koroibete have made the impressive step-up from NYC and will hopefully replicate Woods’ growth next year. Ryan and Fulton provided great value in terms of versitality and were consistently among our best on field throughout the year. Between them they covered every position on the field except half back and prop. And next year Anasta and Pettyborne (and possibly even Thompson) will find their way into our top 17.
I really hope Ellis gets a fitting farewell from Leichhardt. His influence during the 2010 and 2011 seasons was massive. Unfortunately he spent most of this year in the recovery ward, but he’s been a fan and player favourite throughout his time at our club. We’ll miss ya, Ramjet. I hope you go out with a win. Whether or not that results in a finals berth is up to Brisbane and Canberra – but right now I find it hard to care either way.
Despite the underwhelming on-field results, it’s been another fun year for BWTF. On behalf of the four admins I just wanted to thank everyone for their contributions and support throughout 2012.
BWTF Players of the Week:
Players who collected the most votes in each category for Round 25 were:
Best Back/Utility: Marshall
Best Forward: Heighington
Here’s an update of the BWTF player polls so far:
Ryan (8.5 awards)
Marshall (6.5 awards)
Lawrence (3 awards)
Utai (2 awards)
Humble (1 award)
Koroibete (1 award)
Moltzen (1 award)
Woods (9 awards)
Farah (5 awards)
Fulton (2 awards)
Iosefa (2 awards)
Heighington (2 awards)
Ellis (1 award)
Blair (1 award)
Galloway (1 award)
Links for the Round 26 polls will be posted on Facebook after full-time.