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A win's a win: Tigers take the points despite patchy effort


Brad Walter

Tigers 24 Warriors 22

Tiger for punishment ... Warriors defenders drive Wests Tigers winger Lote Tuqiri into the turf at Leichhardt Oval last night. The home side overcame a 10-0 deficit to score their fifth win of the season.

Tiger for punishment ... Warriors defenders drive Wests Tigers winger Lote Tuqiri into the turf at Leichhardt Oval last night. The home side overcame a 10-0 deficit to score their fifth win of the season. Photo: Anthony Johnson

SOMETIMES it is not about how you win - just that you do.


That was the attitude Wests Tigers coach Tim Sheens and his players were adopting towards last night's defeat of the Warriors and understandably so.

Benji Marshall drifts across the field.

Benji Marshall drifts across the field. Photo: Anthony Johnson

Anyone who has watched them play this season would find it hard to understand how they could have been premiership favourites at the start of the year.

Often, the Tigers only look interested when they are behind on the scoreboard and it took a backs-to-the-wall second-half performance after trailing 10-0 at half-time to get them home.

That they had do so after losing stand-in five-eighth Chris Lawrence at the break with a hamstring injury shows the character in the team.

Strong run ...  Lawrence bursts through a tackle.

Strong run ... Lawrence bursts through a tackle. Photo: Getty Images

Yet without NSW Origin hooker Robbie Farah, the Tigers were all too predictable in the first half as they repeatedly looked to Benji Marshall to do something special in attack.

In reality, they have rarely played well all season and could be considered fortunate to have won five matches.

Two were golden point wins - including one against Cronulla in round one that was assisted by a refereeing blunder in extra-time.

They were almost run down by Parramatta after leading 31-0 and only triumphed 31-30, while it took a Farah field goal to beat Gold Coast in extra time. Their only other win was a 30-0 victory against an injury-depleted Penrith side.

''All the wins have been that way - they haven't been classic Wests Tigers - but we haven't had everyone fit and we have been a bit up and down with changes in personnel so we have had to grind a win out,'' Sheens said.

''We ground it out tonight when we had to and at this stage of the season you take every win no matter how you get them.''

With so much at stake, the Tigers started poorly when Warriors winger Bill Tupou crosssed in the corner after only four minutes when Shaun Johnson spread the ball to his right through James Maloney and Konrad Hurrell.

The early try and another in the 23rd minute by rookie centre Ben Henry after Beau Ryan dropped a Maloney kick kept the Leichhardt faithful quiet until the second half.

After the break, the Tigers seemed to have more purpose and Ryan scored in the 46th minute after putting a kick behind opposite winger Manu Vatuvei before Marshall employed the same tactic on the other side of the field.

This time it was Lote Tuqiri who ran past his wing opposite, Tupou, to score and Marshall's conversion put the Tigers in front for the first time after 50 minutes.

However, the lead was short-lived - Hurrell scored a 90-metre try four minutes later when Maloney picked up a poorly timed Moltzen kick and sent the giant centre racing for the line.

Perhaps fittingly, given the way they played, the winning try came from Matt Utai crawling his way over the line in the 63rd minute but there were more twists and turns left in the match, with Moltzen scoring and Hurrell crossing in the last minute.

WESTS TIGERS 24 (T Moltzen B Ryan L Tuqiri M Utai tries B Marshall 4 goals) bt WARRIORS 22 (K Hurrell 2 B Henry B Tupou tries J Maloney 3 goals) at Leichhardt Oval. Referee: Tony Archer, Jason Robinson. Crowd: 16,406.


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