2012 – Round 26 – Tigers vs Storm

Preview:

wests tigers game previewI 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.

Final word:

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:

Best Backs
Ryan (8.5 awards)
Marshall (6.5 awards)
Lawrence (3 awards)
Utai (2 awards)
Humble (1 award)
Koroibete (1 award)
Moltzen (1 award)

Best Forwards
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.

<^OneEyedTiger^>

2012 – Round 25 – Roosters vs Tigers

Preview:

wests tigers game previewWe face the Roosters on Sunday for the second time this year without Robbie Farah. The circumstances this time around will mean the team’s preparation hasn’t been disrupted, but he’ll still be sorely missed around the ruck for the next two games (at least). Lawrence’s return will strengthen our backline and four forwards on the bench is always a welcome sight.

The Roosters pretty much have a full strength side now that Minichiello has miraculously been found innocent of jumping off the ground and slamming his elbow squarely into an oppenent’s head. Honestly, commonsense both on the field and in the judiciary has taken an unscheduled leave of absence. Sometimes I can barely recognise the sport I’ve watched since I was seven years old.

The Tigers were without a slice of luck last Friday. Despite the horrendous video referee stuff ups last week, we still had plenty of chances to win. Twice Koroibete had the line wide open in front of him but failed to captialise – the first due to a difficult pass from Moltzen and second due to a lucky ankle tap that threw him off balance. Then in extra time we had good field position at key moments but couldn’t seal the deal. Despite not getting the deserved win, Wests should be confident after out-playing the league leaders. We have two weeks left to secure out place in the finals – from there it’s anyone’s game. And given the referee’s form, really anything can happen.

Wests have only beaten Easts once in past six attempts. We’re playing for a place in the Top 8 and they are playing to avoid the woodenspoon. No excuses. Tonights games will partly determine our fate. A big win by the Dogs and Eagles could see the Tigers advance into seventh place with a one game buffer to the ninth place Raiders.  But the Tigers are treating these remaining games as part of the finals.  Each game is a must-win from now, and there are few things I like more than seeing the Mighty Tigers beat the Chooks.

Fortune-Teller:

FTS: Koroibete will score first try.
Margin: Well, I got the extra time prediction and final score correct last week – just got the wrong winner. This week we’ll get our revenge. Tigers by 8 (26-18).

BWTF Players of the Week:

Players who collected the most votes in each category for Round 24 were:

Best Back/Utility: Utai (71%) [12/17]
Best Forward: Woods (45%) [9/20]

Woods added another win to his tally with a strong performance and what should have been a match-winning try last week. He has an unassailable lead in the Best Forwards category. As does Beau Ryan in the Best Backs category.

Here’s an update of the BWTF player polls so far:

Best Backs
Ryan (8.5 awards)
Marshall (5.5 awards)
Lawrence (3 awards)
Utai (2 awards)
Humble (1 award)
Koroibete (1 award)
Moltzen (1 award)

Best Forwards
Woods (9 awards)
Farah (5 awards)
Fulton (2 awards)
Iosefa (2 awards)
Ellis (1 award)
Blair (1 award)
Galloway (1 award)
Heighington (1 award)

Links for the Round 25 polls will be posted on Facebook after full-time.

<^OneEyedTiger^>

2012 – Round 24 – Bulldogs vs Tigers

Preview:

wests tigers game previewTonight the Bulldogs are shooting for 12 straight victories as they charge toward tying up the minor premiership. The Tigers remain in the mix to finish somewhere in the Top 8 after a solid win last week and now sit equal on points with the Broncos.

Considering the Tiger’s traditonal style of attack, it’s interesting to note that two of our most impressive performances this year have been in the wet, against the Raiders in Canberra and last week against the Dragons. The wet and windy conditions forced the Tigers to play more direct and focus on kick-chase. Things they have not tended to do consistently throughout the year, but will be exactly what a successful finals campaign will require. If that’s what it takes for the Tigers to play smart footy, then from the comfort of Brisbane I sincerely hope that Sydney has a VERY wet September coming up.

The bottom half of the Top 8 is still pretty open. Two of the contenders for a place in the finals, Cronulla and Newcastle, have a tough run home with all three of their remaining opponents above them on the ladder. Like the Tigers, the Broncos face two Top 4 teams in their final three games, while the Raiders (just one win behind us) have the easiest run home of all with two winnable games against the lowly Roosters and Warriors. The difference between a home final and possibly missing out on the finals altogether could come down to a single win.

The Broncos got off to a flying start against the Dogs last week and made good ground up the middle of the field. Woods and Galloway will have a tougher time of that tonight as Canterbury welcome back two big forwards in Kasiano and Graham. I guess you could say after 11 wins that Canterbury are due for a loss. The Tigers certainly have more riding on this result that their opponents. We haven’t beaten the Dogs in the past three clashes, but I’m confident that will change tonight. I’m impressed with the form of Benji and Robbie over the last couple of games. If we can tighten up our defence, especially on our right edge, we’ll win. If it rains, we’re specials.

Fortune-Teller:

FTS: The Dogs have scored first in two-thirds of their games so far in 2012. Ben Barba has scored the try in half of those. Enough said.
Margin: I’ll boldly predict a golden-point victory to the Tigers. A second half surge will see Wests level the scores before full time, with Benji Marshall to kick to winning field goal in extra time (23-22).

BWTF Players of the Week:

Players who collected the most votes in each category for Round 23 were:

Best Back/Utility: Moltzen (79%) [15/19]
Best Forward: Farah (41%) [7/17]

Benji had another great game but was again outshone by a multi-try performance from a fellow back. Timmy Moltzen played his best game of the year and hopefully is a sign of things to come from him over the remainder of the season. Robbie Farah closed the gap on Woods for best overall forward.

Here’s an update of the BWTF player polls so far:

Best Backs
Ryan (8.5 awards)
Marshall (5.5 awards)
Lawrence (3 awards)
Humble (1 award)
Utai (1 award)
Koroibete (1 award)
Moltzen (1 award)

Best Forwards
Woods (8 awards)
Farah (5 awards)
Fulton (2 awards)
Iosefa (2 awards)
Ellis (1 award)
Blair (1 award)
Galloway (1 award)
Heighington (1 award)

Links for the Round 24 polls will be posted on Facebook on Saturday morning.

<^OneEyedTiger^>

The Starting 17 – One more for the road..

uncategorizedDream Team finals are finally (no  pun intended) upon us. With that, I would like to state that this is my last “Starting 17” for this year. It’s been a blast and I hope you have enjoyed my articles over the year. Don’t worry, you will see me back with a vengeance in 2013.

 

The Scrum

After coming up with the goods last week re Parker, I feel a weight of expectation on my shoulders. I saved you a trade then, so let’s look at the finals. All year I have talked about trades, leading up to this one point.

As far as Head to Head competition goes, this is the pinnacle. For some of you, it’s do or die this week if you failed to finish outside the top 4. So how should you spend your precious trades during the finals?

I know that some of you are super conservative. I’ll tell you right now, if you’re outside the Top 4 now is not the time to be conservative. If you have them, use two trades to put the best team that you possibly can put on the park.

Who should you look to pick up? I will suggest that I would consider avoiding players that have niggles, but other than that I’ll say this. Taking a gamble on a WFB could lead to your team getting a 100 if you pick the right player. Alternatively, picking up a strong 2RF will give you more certainty but less chance of a big score. Also something to consider – Gallen has not scored over 50 since Round 8. Hindmarsh has it all over him in recent times, and is almost guaranteed to have a big game in the last round of the season.

If you’re inside the Top 4, for me this is the week to perhaps play it safe. If you don’t get a win up you can always put in next week. But then again it all depends on just how many trades you have left.

The Bench

A few players picked up niggle injuries over the weekend, however they are all uncertain. Even Corey Parker is a chance of lining up this week. So the bench sits empty.

The Ladder

Well, with the regular season completed we have our Top 8’s. Congratulations to all that made it, and for those that didn’t remember that the minor premiership is still there to fight for!

Barnes Conference Top 8
1. Howling T’Wolves
2. raptor
3. Laroche Lions
4. Metallitgger
5. TooMuchWeight
6. fighting mongooses
7. Campbelltown Tiger
8. Sportsmad

Summons Top 8
1. OneEyedTigers
2. Tiger Terror
3. Sladie’s Tigers
4. Crank’s Charge
5. BucketsofBlood
6. Woot Woot the 2nd
7. Horsehead Bookends
8. Yo Mamas

I’d like to congratulate both of our Admins Brad and Steve for taking the top spots on their respective leagues. Steve has only dropped one game all year, amazingly. A few cellar dwellers are making a surge, so it should be a great finals campaign.

All the best for your finals campaign everyone.

Cheers

Sladie.