The Wests Tigers have recorded another embarrassing loss going down 44 points to 4 against the Newcastle Knights at McDonald Jones Stadium in Newcastle.
What can only be described as live-streamed torture, there were tons of negatives and very little positive to come out of the game. Here is my reaction:
The fans deserve so much better
The Wests Tigers players really let down the fans tonight, there are no two ways about it. An absolutely pathetic performance that lacked heart and commitment will surely make Wests Tigers fans question if the players really care about the result at the end of the day.
Tigers fans are so passionate and continue to support the club despite a decade of disappointment and pain. Watching the game, it’s clear the Tigers fans deserve better than what the club has dished out in the past two weeks.
Even the most casual fan would know that the Newcastle Knights would look to play through the middle yet the Tigers looked ambushed and completely unprepared to compete in the middle.
To lose back to back games that were considered must-wins for the Tigers finals chances isn’t good enough and speaks volumes about the culture of the team as it is currently constructed.
Mbye needs to be dropped from the team
Moses Mbye has proven once again that he is a jack of all trades but a master of none. The Wests Tigers captain’s performance is a massive reason why the Tigers lost the match and will continue to be a reason the Tigers will continue to lose while he is in the team.
People will claim that Mbye is some sort of fall guy but I would disagree with that claim. From a Captain’s point of view, the best leaders are those who lead by example and although Mbye seems like a good bloke, I question his commitment and care factor towards the final result.
Leaders are supposed to inspire their teammates. Look at Boyd Cordner for the Roosters, he would play busted and run through a brick wall for his team if required.
I honestly can’t say the same thing about Mbye.
He really struggled in defense against the Knights, letting in various tries, giving away repeat sets, and also managing to knock the ball on coming out of the Tigers half.
I try not to be negative when I write about players but Mbye’s performance was absolutely shocking.
Surely Liddle goes straight in next week against the Bulldogs and with Billy Walters injured, now is a perfect time to debut Jake Simpkin so that the club can get a look at what the future looks like in the number 9 jersey.
As for Moses Mbye, he surely can’t retain his position in the team.
The forwards got dominated two weeks in a row
The most disappointing aspect of the game for me was that the forwards got smoked for the second week in a row.
The entire forward starting forward pack got absolutely dominated by the Knights in both attack and defense. The forwards couldn’t make the meters and couldn’t stop the Knights in defense either.
Russell Packer reminded people why he hasn’t lived up to his contract price for the Tigers, running for 32 metres!
Thomas Mikaele played his worst game in the NRL, turning his back on Kayln Ponga while jogging back to get onside which led to a Knights line-break.
The pack also got dominated in the wrestle with the Knights putting them on their backs consistently while being unable to stop the Knights from rolling up the field.
This is clearly an attitude problem as the pack managed to match it with much better Penrith and Parramatta packs.
Last tackle options are unforgiveable
Once again the Tigers end to sets was unforgivable. Even though the Knights weren’t finding it difficult to make yards, the Tigers still gifted them with easy bombs to defuse and numerous 7-tackle sets.
The Tigers have also now gone two entire games without registering a goal-line drop-out which is just awful. Even though the forwards got rolled, Brooks and Marshall did nothing to affect the outcome of the score in a positive way.
Attacking sets in the opposition 20 were pathetic
After Watching the Storm beat the Bulldogs, I couldn’t help but admire their ball movement and the way they used lead runners to make room for their outside men to score points.
The Tigers on the other hand looked one-dimensional in attack, coming up with block play after block play and trying to beat the nights with pure athleticism which was never going to work.
The Tigers team has an attitude problem
Last week I wrote about the possibility of the Tigers having an attitude problem. After the Knights game, I’m positive this squad has some deep-seated issues centered, especially around defense.
Soft tries to Ponga and Ese Ese showed that this Tigers team is unwilling to do what is necessary to win. Could you imagine the Sydney Roosters or the Melbourne Storm playing that badly in back to back games?
The answer is of course not because the playing squad demands excellence, that’s what winners do.
The 2020 Tigers are so far away from this standard; it makes me sad to think about. I honestly think the Gold Coast Titans will make the finals before the Tigers manage to get themselves sorted.
The Tigers need to go all-in on youth
I want to go on the record and state that I think the criticism of AJ Kepaoa is very harsh and I was actually pretty happy with his performance minus the handling errors.
He ran the ball very well and actually managed to generate some ruck speed which is a lot more than what a lot of Tigers players dished out.
The Tigers need to go all-in on their youth for the remainder of the season.
I thought Talau was one of the only players that looked good and Shawn Blore managed to slow the Knights down when he was in the middle.
Players like Madden and Simpkin could potentially play huge roles for the Tigers going forward which is why it’s crucial that Maguire gives them a crack in the coming weeks.
Image: Wests Tigers