Round 10 marked an incredibly frustrating loss, that left most of us either incredibly angry or incredibly bitter. For most of us, the wounds of 2013 and 2014 are all too recent to forget when performances like that occur and suddenly we find ourselves wondering if anything has really changed. While we could sit here and tear the game to shreds and open the wounds it is important to review the game and see what really happened.
What We Liked
Early on in the year the Tigers were finding ways to win games despite less than spectacular games from Brooks and Moses. Being so young and inexperienced they are easy targets for blame and while Moses did miss a disappointing 9 tackles, their kicking game has improved substantially. Brooks had 361 kick metres, and Moses 222. That’s an improvement of 52m from Moses, and 175m from Brooks off Round 9.
In addition Moses had some runs that I thought were some of his best attacking phases all year. If Moses can take upon himself to run the ball a little more, I think our attack will benefit greatly from it.
I can’t finish this section without mentioning Tedesco. Man is that kid something special. This isn’t exactly news to us die hards, but his stats were impressive. 146 run metres (second only behind Woodsy), 1 Try Assist and 6 Tackle breaks. I can’t get enough of the kid and in my honest opinion, losing him to Origin would’ve dealt the Tigers a bigger blow than the absence of Robbie Farah in his current form.
What we didn’t like
There’s so many things we could look at here in terms of blame. While he did do a fair bit of tackling, Nofo was truly under-done and it showed in the first half. As the game went on he did improve, but his defensive lapse cost us the first try and made some errors at crucial times. However, he’s not the biggest factor in the loss for me.
Simply put, we lost the game in the forwards. I tweeted after the game on Sunday Night the Run Metres of all forwards, and was honestly disgusted to see that Woods was the only forward to crack over 90 metres. Siro was our second best starting forward with 67 metres but that’s pitiful. This for me is the difference between this game and the first 5 games of the season. Our forwards were standing up and laying down a platform. These players will need to find form and fast if our team is any chance of being anywhere near the Top 8 come Round 26.
The Glimmer of Hope
Most of us have our heads down at the moment after the string of losses but it’s not all bad news, fans. Six of our next seven games are at home and our opponents include a heavily depleted Cowboys, Reynolds and Inglis-less Rabbitohs, Titans, Panthers and Eels with our toughest game being R15 against the Eagles.
Let’s hope our boys can get some wins together and build some momentum.
Thoughts from the Bench
TravelPig – There are glimmers of hope but unless they all shine at once we cannot be a star. Inconsistency and getting it right on the day is what matters. I am not a fan of warming up on the ground, I believe it removes some of the intensity a team can bring when they run down the tunnel and hear the crowd for the first time at the game. But we have fewer injuries so JT knows best. Lack of concentration also looks like lack of desperation. I am not sure which but each week Tigers are good for 1 or 2 soft tries simply through misreads or goofy mistakes.
OneEyed – I’m struggling to stay positive after that Knights performance. It was the bad old days re-revisited. What’s it going to take for this team to play smart? JT is clearly an intelligent man, but the culture at our club is proving very difficult to change from the latter years of the Sheens era. Saturday’s game versus a severely depleted Cowboys team is simply a must-win. No excuses whatsoever. I’m really not a fan of these Origin-effected split rounds, but if it helps us get a much needed win I’ll take it this weekend.
TigerBrad – A wise man said something to me this week and it really hit home. I may be paraphrasing, but it went like this: “Only two seasons matter for Wests Tigers fans – 2005 and next season.” To me, it’s deja vu all over again. I hope I’m wrong, but 2015 has a familiar feel to it. No consistency in attack, forwards getting totally dominated and soft tries being scored against us. On another note, Chris Lawrence is embarrassing himself. He has to go.
Let’s hope our boys turn things around tonight.