Talk about a rollercoaster couple of weeks. From the depressing depths after being beaten by the Raiders in Round 7, the Wests Tigers re-grouped and emphatically smashed the Bulldogs in Round 8. Then, keeping us riding on a high, Tim Simona re-signed for a further two years just prior to his representative game for Samoa, unfortunately to only sustain an ankle injury that will keep him sidelined for four weeks. It’s never smooth sailing in Tigertown, is it?
For me, the biggest feel-good factor over the past couple of weeks has been seeing the influence that Jason Taylor is exhibiting over the club. He’s clearly a very intelligent and articulate man. And for him to instill confidence in the young players after that disappointing loss to Canberra speaks volumes for how strong he’s bonded with the squad in a short amount of time.
On Sterlo last week, he also spoke about the game plans being followed at the moment. He admitted that Moses is not featuring that heavily at the moment, but Taylor says he has a very clear vision of where he wants Moses and the team to go. On that note, he’s very happy with Moses’ progress so far. Taylor clearly has the big picture in mind and, more importantly, he has a plan on how to get there. And he’s proven over the first 8 games that he has communicated that plan very clearly to the young and senior players alike – and all signs point to the fact that everyone has bought into it.
Know your enemy
Bloody Roosters. They’re our number 1 bogey team in the NRL. We haven’t won against them since 2011, and even if they are out of form we somehow seem to play them back into form. Despite our big win in Round 8 and the Roosters riding on a four match losing streak, we are at least $3.10 outsiders with the bookies. Guerra has been named to return this week from a broken jaw, and Mitch Aubusson also returns. But the real danger for mine will be Pearce and Maloney, mostly due to the fact they are in the box seat to press their claims for NSW Origin recalls given the poor form of the Canterbury incumbents (I won’t even dignify talk of Austin being in the frame for Origin at this stage of his career – when I hear talk like that I’m reminded of a New Zealander with one leg shorter than the other: “Not even bro”).
Despite their losing streak, the Roosters haven’t been playing badly. Their losing margins have only been 8, 4, 1, and 2 points. If they were going to break back into the winners circle, historically speaking they couldn’t ask for a better match up than the Wests Tigers. But this time will be different, right? This time they won’t get a free pass from us, right?
He started from the bench last week as a second-rower, but given Tim Simona’s injury Chris Lawrence returns to the centres tomorrow. I thought Chris had a really good game in the forwards, but JT admitted it was only a temporary move while Galloway was out. And with Simona out for a month it’s unlikely we’ll see Chris in the forwards again anytime soon. Rumours surfaced during the week that Lawrence is being shopped around to free up some cap space. It’s hard to know whether this has any substance, but we know Chris hasn’t been as potent as his early years form since his hip injury. Regardless, we need Chris at his best this week. The Roosters backline is oozing with game breakers so his defence and communication with is winger will need to be spot on.
FTS: Jennings (@ $10.00) and Farah (@ $41.00) look like goers for me.
At The Line: Take the +8.5 line @ $1.90. This won’t be a blow out. Not this time.
Best exotic: 1st Half being the Highest Scoring Half @ $2.20.