The Wests Tigers have recorded a disappointing loss to the Penrith Panthers going down 12 points to 19 at Bankwest Stadium.
Although the team played really well in terms of their effort areas especially in defense, some key moments really cost the team the win.
Here’s my reaction:
Close but not good enough
The team tried really hard tonight but let themselves down massively in crucial moments. The hard truth is that in the arm wrestle, the Tigers blinked first.
The game was very winnable and ill-discipline plus poor one on one misses are the reason the team lost.
Efforts like these are the reason why the Tigers keep missing out on finals footy and the club really needs to make some tough decisions in terms of retention going into the future.
Although Matt Eisenhuth had a strong game, his along with Chee Kam’s miss on Koroisau cost the team the game and that’s the bottom line.
I know it doesn’t seem fair to blame Eisenhuth because he had a really strong game but Rugby League is an unfair game and the Penrith Panthers didn’t come up with these types of defensive efforts which speaks volumes.
Michael Maguire is a better coach than Ivan Cleary
When you compare the two squads that took the field tonight, it is undeniable that Michael Maguire is a much better coach than Ivan Cleary.
The team that Cleary named should have put the Tigers away by at least two tries. It’s a credit to Maguire and his team that they were able to punch above their weight and make it that close.
Cleary should stop taunting fans and focus more on how he can turn Villiame Kikau into an 80-minute threat.
I thought Penrith were also quite dirty in their tactics to slow down the ruck trying to take out players like Adam Doueihi on his kick returns with high shots.
The Tigers showed some fight
Although BJ Leilua took it too far, it was really good to see the Tigers stand up for themselves and show Penrith that they wouldn’t be bullied.
Tigers teams in the past have seemed too passive and willing to let their opponents stand over them so it was great to see the players act with aggressive and fire.
The discipline was poor
The team’s discipline especially in the second half was extremely poor which gave the Panthers great field position and made the task enormous for the Tigers to gain good field position.
It just seemed like Penrith spent an eternity on the Tigers line in the second half and you simply can’t afford to let Top 4 teams that many opportunities because they’ll make you pay.
Soft penalties in the Penrith half really undid all the good work from the first half which was the most frustrating aspect of the second 40 minutes.
The team defended really well and the fans could see the effort that was being displayed but the Tigers have to work smarter and not harder in this regard.
Great game from Josh Reynolds
I thought Josh Reynolds had a great game and really set the tone for the team in terms of line speed and kick-chase efforts.
Although some of Reynolds’s last tackle options were bad, there’s no doubt that he is getting better with every game of footy he gets under his belt.
Reynolds ability to get Edwards running backward off of kicks was a massive advantage for the team against Penrith.
The BJ Leilua brain explosion
Nobody wants to punch a player from an Ivan Cleary coached team more than Wests Tigers fans but people can’t give in to their worst instincts.
Leilua cost the team what little hope there was of a comeback and is surely going to spend time on the sideline.
With the outside back depth looking slim, Leilua has really let the team down.
The injuries are really mounting up
Potential injuries to Luciano Leilua and Sam McIntyre means that the Tigers already injury-depleted depth will be tested again.
BJ Leilua’s likely suspension will also give the coaching staff a headache due to the fact that Jennings is still out injured.
My tip would be for Tommy Talau to move to the centres and Reece Hoffman to debut on the wing.
Expect Shawn Blore or Chris McQueen to replace Luciano Leilua or Luke Garner who also could be facing a suspension for a high shot.
Image: Wests Tigers