Five For Fighting: Round 3


@LaurenBerry01: I was so impressed by the game, especially our first 40-60 minutes. There was no hanging my head and no anger, I left the stadium proud of our effort and growth. Had this game been played in Round 8 or so the result would have been very different. Kev has the safest pair of hands under a high ball we’ve seen in a long time. I trust Teddy too of course, but he was targeted and shut down a lot so I know he has better in him. Marty played well but I agree with JT, he needs to mature into a player who can harness his aggression.

@OneEyedTiger_: We competed, and despite a terrible completion rate had every chance to steal a victory in the final 20. Why we didn’t target Walker in the second half is beyond me. Woods, Galloway and Marty have worked up a great combination – we made good yards when they were all on the park. But like last week we lacked the same impact at other times. Buck, Hala and Ava are solid workers, not impact players. I thought Lodge could be the guy to step up, but a training injury put pay to that. We are still missing one big-bopper. Sad to think that Simon Dwyer could be reaching his peak about now.

@NotTimSheens: Effort was great, execution was grose. JT is rebuilding structures on both sides of the ball and it was always going to be a process. We’re ahead of where I expected to be after Round 3 and the likes of Sue, Taupau and Big Kev killed it once again. Like @LaurenBerry01 alluded to, you could tell Inglis took this one personally – he wanted to show Tedesco who was boss and who was the best fullback in the NRL. It reminded me of Michael Jordan going at a young Kobe Bryant back in the day, with MJ taking his game up a level to put the young bloke in his place.

@BatPete: Our last tackle options were absolute garbage and have been all year. We are rolling down the field no matter which forwards are on, but doing nothing with the ball on the last tackle. I’d like to see more repeat sets and have Brooks looking up and kicking to his field. Moses really needs to shine against the Bulldogs to warrant his first grade jumper. It might actually do him well to drop him to NSW Cup so he can get a bit of confidence back and work from there. Lodge is the piece of the puzzle that is really missing from our forward pack. We definitely lose something when he’s not on our bench.

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Preview – Round 3 – Tigers at Rabbitohs


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The first half last week against the Dragons was all gravy. Racing to a 20-0 lead after 26 minutes, the scoreboard could have been anything come full time. James Tedesco had the Midis touch and the Campbelltown crowd were loving it.
wests tigers game previewWhen a third Pat Richards try went begging as Tim Simona’s pass sailed over the touch line, the intensity clearly dropped. What would follow for the remainder of the game was a somewhat flat attacking performance, but to their credit held the opposition to just a single try before half-time, and a duck-egg for the final 40.

So far we’ve had a really good second half in Round 1 and a really good first half in Round 2. We’ve got the wins, but the Titans and Dragons are not top tier opposition. Anything less than a solid 80 minute performance against Souths and we could be in for a towelling.

Know your enemy

Credit where due, Souths did really well last year in winning the title.
wests tigers game previewBut no team in the NRL era has ever gone back-to-back. And without Sam Burgess and Ben Te’o, that record didn’t look in danger at the beginning of the year. Not saying they wouldn’t be competitive, but I didn’t think they were any chance of back-to-back titles. Then they won the Auckland Nines, romped in the World Club Challenge, and started the 2015 season with two very impressive wins. Ok then, this team is clearly not done winning yet. And as last Sunday showed it’s going to take a complete performance to stop them.

When their big forwards get a roll on, Issac Luke will wreak havoc. Slowing down the play-the-ball will be essential. I expect JT to instruct our team to use the Roosters tactic of conceding penalties at the play-the-ball rather than allowing the opposition to gain momentum and score tries. Sutton played the full 80 minutes last week, but will miss the next month or so with a broken jaw.

The weakest link in the Rabbitohs line-up is easily Joel Reddy. Apart from scoring a good game-sealing try, the former Wests Tiger had a ‘mare – especially under the high ball. He’ll be an obvious target for Brooksy’s swirling bombs all afternoon.

Player spotlight

After sitting out last week due to a club-imposed suspension, this week’s spotlight is on our young reserve prop forward Matt Lodge.
wests tigers game previewHis powerful go-forward was missed last week when Woods, Galloway and Taupau were off the field. I really hope JT employs a different forward rotation strategy this week, but regardless every forward will need to bring their A-game on Sunday.

Lodge played 34 minutes in Round 1 but still managed to rack up 106 metres and 16 tackles. It was his leg drive and metres after contact that impressed me in the season opener. The Souths defense will be a different prospect today so I’m keen to see how he responds.

We ambushed the Rabbitohs almost 12 months ago when no-one gave us a chance. It was interesting to hear that Taylor hasn’t even looked at the tape of that game in preparation for this week. The 2015 Wests Tigers clearly want to do things differently to the past, but hopefully the end result this afternoon is identical.

Fortune Teller

Our FTS and At The Line bets cashed last week. Let’s go for more …
FTS: James Tedesco is the shortest price Wests Tigers player @ $15.00. Good value, that. And if you fancy an enemy scoring first, it’s hard to ignore Alex Johnston @ $7.50.
At The Line: The Wests Tigers have a +12.5 line @ $1.90. Take the points.
Best exotic: Wests Tigers first half total over 6.5 @ 2.10.

– OneEyedTiger

Five For Fighting: Round 2


We’re rolling the dice on something different for 2015 – a blog where BWTF types share their thoughts on the round that was. Here’s what our armchair experts thought of Monday night’s win over the Dragons.


@BatPete: I really believe we’ve begun the year doing the little things right. It’s an old saying that the little things win the games for you, but it is quite true. The reason I was so impressed with Sue wasn’t because he was the top tackler or even the top runner, it was how he did the little things. When he tackled, he wrapped up the ball, he turned the players onto their back and he generally slowed any roll on that they may have gotten. On a fanatical note, Teddy had a blinder, Lawrence was rock solid in defence, Siro showed why people had faith in him and Moses was garbage.

@NotTimSheens: Moses is just ticking along. Apart from two woeful fifth tackle options he’s not hurting the team. I’d rather let him defer and find his feet. If we were 0-2 I’d probably be ok with a change, maybe throw in Drinkwater, but at the moment he’s letting Brooks run the show. I’d much rather that than have Moses force his hand and overplay like our previous six did for so many years. Brooks is looking for Teddy in attack over Moses. Eventually teams will start to over commit to those two and Moses will have time and space to do his thing. I’m not worried.

@NotBenji6: We can all talk about #RunTMB, but the key to our success in the first two rounds has come from who you would call our ‘fringe’ players who are stepping up. Sironen, Sue, Lodge, Halatau, Big Kev and even Lovett in Round 1. Our success this year rides on these guys more than a lot of people realise, and so far they are delivering. Whether they will continue to in 10-12 rounds time will determine whether we’re in the hunt for finals footy or not. We will only be ‘surprise packets’ that people ignore for one or two more wins at most. The bar has been set, now the boys need to continue to deliver.

@OneEyedTiger_: JT made special mention in the presser that he didn’t want the second half tobe a scoring spree. He didn’t want us playing loose and getting carried away. He wanted a focus on defence and controlled play. Gotta admire that! While we didn’t play controlled footy, we did keep them to zero in the second half. Mind you, I think an under-15s could have kept them to zero. They were laughable with the ball. It was also great to see Siro realise his size and effectiveness as a ball-runner, as opposed to a ball-player.

@LaurenBerry01: I will be the one to say I loved the glimpses of old Lawrence. Without him Moses was pathetic in D! Lawrence carried him and still managed to make a few good runs. Not back yet and I don’t see him challenging Nofa when he is back, but it was still great to see him getting a game fully fit. Our second half, while average, showed a lot of promise. Like OneEyed said, there was a plan and we saw that as much as we wanted a blowout. We have never been an overly greedy team when it comes to for and against! And we wonder why we all have underlying heart conditions!

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Preview – Round 2 – Tigers vs Dragons

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It wasn’t clinical, but for Round 1 it doesn’t need to be. Banking the two points for the win is all that matters. But jeez wasn’t it exciting!
wests tigers game previewA last-second Patty Richards field goal was another gem for his highlight reel. And for the BWTF contingent who assembled from north and south for the game, it was an unforgettable day and night on the Gold Coast!

Simple mistimed passes and drop balls cost us a couple of certain tries. If we scored from those opportunities then we’d have romped it in. No doubt we’ll see improvement in those aspects this week.

Taylor said he would improve the defensive structure, and based on what we saw he seems to be delivering on that promise so far. Woodsy made mention after the game of how comfortable he felt defending under the new structure. The scrambling defence was also very impressive, especially that one-on-one game saver by Siro after the intercept. It was a fairly strong performance by most of our forwards. Woods was immense, dominating almost every attacking stat category, while Galloway, Siro, Taupau, Lodge and Santi all had solid impact at various stages throughout. He didn’t get much recognition, but the stats show Sue had a really good defensive game with 34 tackles, 0 misses and 0 errors.

Know your enemy

In our first home game of 2015, we come up against the Dragons. They were deadset ordinary in their first round loss to the Storm last Monday, looking clueless in attack for most of the contest.
wests tigers game previewMarshall and Widdop had poor combinations in the halves – it almost seemed like they hadn’t trained together. The Dragons only try come from a bizarre piece of Benji improv where he ran around the back of the ruck on the 5th tackle and placed a fortunate kick into the back corner of the in-goal.

Benji Marshall will again be the key to St George-Illawarra scoring points. He kinda has to be given the lack of proven game-breakers in their squad. Already having to adjust to life without Brett Morris, they now need to deal with the absence of injured Josh Dugan as well. Captain Ben Creagh has also been ruled out for at least a month.

While the home side is a firm favourite with the bookies, the Dragons have won three of the past four games against the Wests Tigers and are undefeated in their two appearances at Campbelltown.

Player spotlight

No surprises that this week’s spotlight will be on Chris Lawrence. He was a late withdrawal last Saturday night and Kyle Lovett had an absolute blinder in his debut game as Lawrence’s replacement.
wests tigers game previewSimona shifted to the left and was instrumental in two of the three tries we scored down that edge. Hopefully Taylor keeps Simona on that side and plays Chrissy on the right. But either way, he’ll have a lot to prove in this game – not only in terms of his fitness.

The key to victory will be improving our handling. If we hold the majority of possession I’m confident we’ll have enough points in us. The Dragons gave up easy yards around the ruck last week, so I can’t wait to see some of that slick interchange of passes between Farah, Brooks and Tedesco exploit that on Monday. If we can bully Marshall and Widdop when they have the ball, I think we match-up pretty well across the park.

Fortune Teller

FTS: We didn’t attack much down the right, but the Dragons left edge of Nielsen and Nabuli looks vulnerable. Take Naiqama @ $9.50 or Tedesco @ 11.00 for first try scorer.
At The Line: The line opened at Wests Tigers -2.0 @ $1.88. I took them at -4.0 @ 1.90 during the week, but it’s now out to -5.5. I’m favouring us to win by at least a converted try, so I still think that’s a good line for now.
Best exotic: Both teams kicked a 40/20 last week. You can get $4.25 for a 40/20 being kicked tonight. Take that.

– OneEyedTiger

Preview – Round 1 – Tigers at Titans

ROUND 1  wests tigers game preview  AT  wests tigers game preview


wests tigers game previewHere we go! The wait is finally over! Footy is back!

A string of disappointing finishes over the past three seasons will hopefully become distant memories as (another) “new era” of Wests Tigers begins – this time under a new GM, a new chairwoman leading a unified board, a new coach and new support staff.

Not that I’m counting any chickens. Two out of four wins in the Auckland 9s tournament and two out of two wins in trial games is a reasonable stat, but Jason Taylor hasn’t has had the luxury of working with the top squad for the full off-season, so we have to expect that to show over the first few rounds of the premiership.

But it’s hard not to be impressed with JT’s attitude and determination so far. He’s taken control and responsibility for team, putting in place new training regime, revamped injury prevention and recovery processes, new defensive structures and – as we have been informed – a recruitment strategy for 2016. The club actually looks like a professional outfit heading into 2015.

Know your enemy

wests tigers game previewEven before the recent cocaine chargers surfaced, the Titans weren’t favoured by many to be a serious challenger this year. Losing a handful of their best players for Round 1 has only hurt their chances that much more. Before the drug story broke, the Titans were slight 1.5 point favourites with the bookies. They are now 5-6 point underdogs and out to about $2.50 head-to-head.

Their biggest threat in the backline will probably come from William Zillman. He’s been named at fullback but will likely rotate with new centre Hoffman. Zillman is a skillful player and will need to be closely marked when the Titans have the ball. Upfront the Titans are looking a bit thin due to suspensions, but James is a quality player and together with Myles will play big minutes for the home team. If our forwards can shut those two down in particular we will dominate.

The Tigers have won the two of the past three games on the Coast. You’d have to like our chances of making that three from four come Saturday night.

Player spotlight

wests tigers game previewMy Round 1 player spotlight will be on Mitch Moses. He came into grade at fullback and filled in at both 5/8 and half throughout 2014. But now he’s the undisputed first choice 5/8, and despite his young age carries the weight of a lot of expectation on his shoulders.

He’ll be tested heavily in defence all game – as will Brooks. While their effectiveness in defence will be largely dependent on the help they get from their backrowers, in attack it’s all on them. In particular Moses who needs to get quality ball to our outside backs. This was a major failing last year and a source of constant frustration. A balanced attack on both sides of the ruck is not rocket-science. It’s up to Mitch to make that happen.

Fortune Teller

FTS: [us] Pat Richards @ $9.50; [them] Kevin Gordon @ $11.00.
At The Line: If you got in early with the Wests Tigers at any start you’d be laughing. Even giving up -5.5 @ $1.90 I still think we’re a safe bet.
Best exotic: Titans team total under 17.5 @ $1.99

– OneEyedTiger

BWTF 2015 Form Guide


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RACE 1 2015 TELSTRA NRL PREMIERSHIP Group 1                                                            24 games plus finals




Recent Form

(Last 6 Starts)

SportsBet Odds ‡


Top 4 Place

Top 8 Place



T. Robinson






J. Sutton

M. Maguire






F. Pritchard

D. Hassler






C. Parker

W. Bennett (n)






P. Wallace

I. Cleary






J. Thurston

P. Green






J. Lyon

G. Toovey






C. Smith

C. Bellamy






S. Mannering

M. Elliot






P. Gallen

S. Flanagan






K. Gidley

R. Stone (n)






R. Farah

J. Taylor (n)






T. Mannah

B. Arthur






B. Creagh

P. McGregor (n)






N. Myles

N. Henry (n)






J. Croker

R. Stuart






Trainer codes

Form codes

(a) – Apprentice (first year in NRL)

(*) – Grand Final winner

(P) – Preliminary Final loser (week 3)

(n) – New (first year at stable)

(+) – Grand Final runner up

(S) – Semi Final loser (week 2)

(X) – Disqualified

(Q) – Qualifying Final loser (week 1)


‡ Odds correct as of 3 January 2015




Expert Analysis

Last Year Result


wests tigers game preview

FEEL LIKE ROOSTER TONITE – Beaten favourite last year, but still respected by bookies and punters alike this time around. Was well paced in last year’s race, keeping in touch with the leaders down the back straight, then finding an inside running to take a narrow lead at the final turn, before being run down by the eventual winner on the home straight. Likely to follow similar tactics this race taking a forward position early and has the pedigree to remain a realistic threat for the win. Cannot ignore.



wests tigers game preview

RABBITING ON – Repaid loyal punters with a long-awaited and well-deserved break-through win last year, making every post a winner down the home straight. Despite that impressive form, a back-to-back win is unlikely this year. The hunger won’t be as strong and speed map indicates he could struggle to find a good position after the jump given his wide barrier draw. Still, he’s a strong horse and will comfortably beat more than half of the field, but punters should temper expectations. Possible Top 4, safely Top 8.



wests tigers game preview

BULLDOG NEW TRICKS – Surprised with a forward showing in last year’s race, either leading or running just off the leader for most of the distance. Looked vulnerable at the final turn but took advantage of tiring runners down the home straight to pinch second place. Looks to have improved his turn of speed for this trip and another strong finish in this feature race certainly won’t be a shock. Has two runner-up finishes in the past three races. Must respect chances.



wests tigers game preview

BUCKS ON BRONCO – Legendary trainer Bennett returns to the Brisbane-based stable, but this is not the same horse he worked with all those years ago. Have early markets over-valued this horse based on Bennett’s return? Form line from last 3 starts doesn’t justify a 4th-line favourite. Barrier draw is favourable (again!) so likely to be in the mix over the first half of this journey, but must question his finishing ability over the full distance. Top 8 chance.



wests tigers game preview

PANTHER PURRFECTION – The big improver in last year’s race and another strong showing is expected this time around. Was always in touch with the leading group last year and will be better for the run. Trained to the minute and looking like a genuine chance this year. Maps well from his drawn barrier and should have a good run home if he can stay out of trouble coming into the final turn. Odds are likely to shorten closer to jump, so take value while on offer. Winning chance.



wests tigers game preview

RIDE EM COWBOY – Ran disappointingly off the pace for most of last year’s race. Looked to be making a charge down the home straight before getting into an awkward position on the rail and getting boxed-in. Will need to rely on another strong finish this year as a wide barrier draw will prove tricky for this traditionally slow-starting colt. Jockey Thurston doesn’t have many more rides left, so will this be the year the planets align for this horse to break his maiden status? Has claims, with luck.



wests tigers game preview

SEE EAGLE EYE – Has been a consistently successful stayer for years, and defied his age in last year’s race to lead for most of the second half before getting run down in the home straight. However it’s much harder to trust him this time around. Doesn’t appear as powerful this prep and bookies are letting him drift on the tote. Has drawn an ok barrier and speed map shows he could settle just off the leaders, but will he have the legs to keep pace for the full distance? Top 8 at best.



wests tigers game preview

STORM WARNING – Age appears to be finally catching up with this horse. Ran strongly for most of the race last year, but didn’t make any impression down the home straight. Trainer Bellamy has made some gear changes for this race, but the bigger concern is jockey Smith who is battling with injury. Punters don’t appear to be interested in this horse despite the double-figure odds on offer. Run-on bias could help, but he’ll likely be fighting for minor placings at best. Better options exist.



wests tigers game preview

WOT ME WARRIOR BRO – Had every chance to squeeze into the Top 8 place last race but faded poorly down the home straight. Has drawn a favourable barrier for this race and again shapes as one of the better roughies. The key to the race will be on jockey Mannering’s ability to get a good position at the final turn: if he’s in touch with the leaders, he’ll be well in the mix; if he needs to make up too much ground, he’ll get left in the dust. Not without chances.



wests tigers game preview

SHARK ATTACK – This horse had an absolute shocker of a race last year. With trainer Flanagan suspended on doping charges, leaving the horse clearly underdone and jockey Gallen very much distracted. Scandal even followed off-the-track after the race with one of the horse’s connections involved in an unsavoury bathroom incident. Flanagan has returned for this prep and improvement is certain, but probably still over-valued in this class field. Improving, but Top 8 beyond him.



wests tigers game preview

KNIGHT TIME – After three trips the Bennett experiment failed to bear any fruit. And a 12th place in last year’s race is the equal worst finish over the past 6 starts (the last time the horse finished 12th was in Bennett’s first year with this horse). Responsibility for finding improvement now falls to trainer Stone. This horse maps well out of the gates for this race but unlikely to have the strength to be a contender down the home straight. Not this time.



wests tigers game preview

LIKE A TIGER – Got away to a promising start last year and looked good heading down the back straight. However jockey Farah drifted too wide and the young horse could not recover position. More tellingly, the horse again struggled badly with injury. Not happy with the horse’s prep, the owners parted company with trainer Potter. Under Taylor, this horse has loads of potential but we fear he could be too green to challenge for a minor place this time. Favourable draw will help chances. Probably short a run.



wests tigers game preview

EEL BE RIGHT – Improved from consecutive dead last finishes to a reasonable 10th last year. However the job will be tougher this time around with jockey Hayne parting company with the Sydney stable to head State-side and try his luck in the Kentucky Derby. The ride now falls to Mannah who has experience but, in fairness, probably not the skill of the former jockey. Will be interesting to see how the horse responds to the change. Difficult to map his pace in this one. Take guide from market.



wests tigers game preview

DRAGON’S FLARE – Took a forward position last year in the run up to the first turn before falling off the pace and settling behind mid-field for the remainder of the distance. This horse hasn’t finished in the placings for the past three starts and by the end of this race that record is likely to extend to a fourth year. Looks to have lost a fair amount of pace this prep and it’s difficult to see him threatening the leading runners at any stage during this race. Look elsewhere.



wests tigers game preview

TITANIC CLASH – Jumped well last year and stayed in contact with the leading group until the top of the back straight. The horse then ran out of puff and limped home in 14th place. Punters should expect a fairly similar pattern this year. The horse has a decent barrier draw and could well be on-pace for the first half of the journey if he can find a position, but will lack strength to go the full distance. Has also lost jockey Bird for this ride after owners removed him following an off-track drinking incident. Not keen.



wests tigers game preview

RAIDER OF THE TILL – Avoided last place in last year’s race due to the woeful performance of Shark Attack, but bookies have seen nothing this prep to expect much improvement, opening this horse at triple-figure odds. Barrier draw is ok but that’s probably the only positive when analysing his chances. Jockey Croker gets this ride after Campese was given the flick by owners. Trainer Stuart again will have his work cut out for him – and his poor racing record speaks for itself. Looks outclassed again.







First Four

(after 24 games)







Last Place


Best Value Bet


Win @ $10.00

Final Two

(after finals)





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