2013 – Round 7 – Tigers vs Broncos


wests tigers game previewThe Broncos are shooting for three straight wins, while we battle to avoid four straight defeats. Bad luck and a constant stream of injuries are making for a frustrating season so far. We almost did everything we needed to do to beat the Dragons a fortnight ago. Butchering two certain tries and squandering possession while on the attack on two other occasions, only to lose to a Jamie Soward field goal, is still taking some getting over.

Is Mick Potter making our guys run under ladders and smash mirrors at training? I really can’t fathom our injury toll otherwise. We are now on to our fourth set of halves and it’s only our seventh game.

Against Melbourne and St George our attack looked most effective when focused around the ruck with short passes. And that’s our best chance again tonight. Our outside backs though hold the key to keeping us in the game. Brisbane have pace to burn throughout their backline if given space, so good line speed and committed one-on-one defence from Lawrence and Ayshford in particular is needed.

I’m hopeful that the Wests Tigers can surprise the Broncos tonight. Maybe J-Ho’s time bomb hamstring will once again explode. Maybe Sam Thugiday will get sent off for a high tackle. Maybe Scott Turnstyle Prince will miss every tackle he attempts.  However it happens, our backs are against the wall and we need to find a way to stop the slide. Let the fightback begin!



Starting 17 – Test Dream Team

uncategorizedSpewing about the week off from regular DreamTeam? Well fear not,  Test DreamTeam is here to keep your little DT heart happy. Test DreamTeam follows the same format as any of the one off/shorter form DreamTeam Competitions. If you’ve never played in it, the major differences between Regular DT and the Test format (we will call it Short Form) is that the Short Form features just Seven players to Regular DT’s 17. In addition, your Captain scores Triple points, and Vice Captain scores Double Points.

Short Form is an all or nothing kind of game. No points for second place. So what does this mean when selecting your team? For me, it means that an all or nothing approach is best suited. It’s hard to go past Captain Smith, but realistically, where your VC goes is probably the most crucial decision that you will make. So instead of looking at individual players and trying to pick your team for you, I thought I might give some advice regarding what you should look for when picking your Vice Captain.

The Scrum

HOK: Not much you can say here except for the fact that both Isaac Luke and Cam Smith make good Captain choices, so it’s unlikely you will choose not to Captain them. Having said that, a great VC if you’re  looking for a Point of Difference Captain somewhere else in your team.

FRF: The Front Row offers some great options for Vice Captains in Short Form. In last year’s Test Match, Paul Gallen was the second highest scorer DT wise, a mere 6 points off Cam Smith. With JWH on fire at club level, and Aussie Tamou desperate to prove that he still has it, an FRF could be a wise VC choice.

2RF: Where to start. Both teams have a host of talent across both their 2RF and benches, and it makes picking a 2RF even more challenging than it may otherwise be. Last year’s Test Match didn’t see a particular player stand out as far as points scored goes, but in form players such as Watmough, Bird, the ever dangerous Alex Glenn or even the work horse Paul Gallen may make a solid VC choice.

HLF: Half options are limited in comparison to other spots for obvious reasons. It’s hard to go past Jonathon Thurston as your Half Choice, however just like Shaun Johnson, he has the ability to pull out a  60 odd on a big game, or a measly 30-odd on a quiet game. VC if you feel like your chosen half is in for a good night with plenty of kick metres.

CTR: Such depth and talent available in the Centres for both teams. It’s hard to go past Greg Inglis or SKD in the halves – both players have proven that they can put solid scores on so far this year. You want your CTR to be making good metres and plenty of tackle busts if you want to VC your Centre.

WFB: This is the position that I personally think makes a great VC choice for a bit of a point of difference. With players like Slater, Morris, Hoffman and Nightingale  to choose from, we can expect to see some fireworks here. Think Nightingale is in for a double? Why not chuck the VC on him? I will say though, last year’s Test Match didn’t produce anything terribly special as far as WFB’s and DT scores. The highest scorer here was Nightingale with 35pts. So beware.

That’s it for this week folks. Go hard!


2013 – Round 6 – Tigers vs Dragons


wests tigers game previewLike most fans, I was impressed with the effort and intensity of the Wests Tigers for the majority of the match last week. First half stats of 16/18 (89%) completion rate, 7 missed tackles and 3 errors were great improvements on previous weeks. Second half penalties and errors cost us the game in the end, but I believe we would have beaten most other teams that night. To be a genuine finals contender, the challenge for our team, especially our forwards, will be backing up and replicating that first half effort for the full 80 – week-in, week-out. Starting with today’s massive Heritage Round clash against the Dragons.

Injuries and suspension have forced a couple of key changes. Potter’s biggest decision, the selection of Sironen to replace Marshall, was telling in a number of ways. Firstly, it shows Potter is clearly happy with the team structure at the moment – especially with Anasta being the preferred first receiver – so he’s opted for minimal changes (unlike the musical chairs that would have occurred if Moltzen was moved into the halves). Braith’s involvement, kicking game and defence was much improved in the #7 last week. Curtis’ selection also speaks volumes for how hard he has worked to recover from his shoulder injury, with only three stints in U20s enough to impress the coaches and confirm he’s fully fit and ready for a return to the top grade. It’s also fairly obvious where this leaves Miller in the halves pecking order for the immediate future.

The Dragons have scored consecutive wins over the Sharks and Knights in the past two weeks following a 0-3 start. Both teams will be desperate to get to 3-3 and remain in touch with the top 8 before the rep season begins. Even without Thompson and, more than likely Fulton, I rate our forward pack to dominate today. Buchanan will be fired up for a big performance against his former club and another strong showing by Woods will make it difficult for Kangaroo selectors to overlook him when they announce the Test team later this evening.

St George-Illawarra have conceded the most metres per game in the league so far, and with our size on the edge of the ruck we should have the necessary strike power to win. The Dragons are the team we always love to beat, and on the occasion of the 50 year anniversary of the famous Wests v Saints 1963 Grand Final at the SCG, victory will be extra sweet. On account of the bookies over-estimating the impact that Benji’s absence will have, it’s a great chance for responsible punters to earn a bit of extra spending money as well.

Fortune Teller

FTS: Lawrence
LTS: Tedesco
HT/FT: Tigers/Tigers
Margin: Tigers 1-12


2013 – Round 5 – Storm vs Tigers


wests tigers game previewOn face value, the form of both teams indicates a fairly one sided affair. Playing Melbourne in Melbourne is never easy, and last week emphasised we have a fair way to go to compete with Top 8 sides. As frustrating as the dud ref calls were, it feels like the Wests Tigers are still in pre-season mode. Potter’s experiment with Masada was a disaster, and seeing Fults in the centres and Rowdy and Aysh playing on the same side of ruck looked disorganised.

I’m a fan of Miller but I agree with Potter’s choice to replace him for tonight’s game. As Foxsport’s Warren Smith pointed out, when Wests had five consecutive sets of six against Manly, Miller only managed three touches. Even accounting for the slippery conditions, that’s not enough involvement from a halfback in the attacking zone. Anasta has been a passenger in the second row to date, so moving him closer to the action – especially with his kicking game – is a positive move against Melbourne. I’m also keen to see Bodene Thompson get a run. I thought he did well for us in the trials.

The Storm managed to find an extra gear last Friday, and with the help of a bit of cheating from one scrum, managed to outlast a fast finishing Brisbane. Cheating to win at all costs is in the Melbourne DNA. They bend the rules on and off the field. Nonetheless, they are the benchmark team at the moment and – respect them or loathe them – are shooting for a club record 13 straight wins.

Insofar as they have a weakest link in their game, their right side defence is our best option to target. They’ve conceded the majority of their tries down that corridor. Even without Koroibete, our left side attack of Lawrence and Tedesco is our strongest flank and a good matchup against Chambers and Duffie. Look for Benji to drift across that side of the field often, with the option of cut-out pass or stabbing kick behind the line to create scoring opportunities.

Fortune Teller

FTS: Slater
LTS: Tedesco
Margin: I’m predicting a close game with a 1-6 margin. Head says Storm, heart says Tigers. The closer it gets to kickoff the more confident I become in our chances. I hope our boys are feeling the same.