The Wests Tigers in a return to Leichardt Oval, have produced a knock out win, beating the Brisbane Broncos 48 points to nil.
After a disappointing display against the bunnies and some tough changes made to the team during the week, the Wests Tigers bounced back and broke the spirits of the young Broncos team putting Anthony Seibold under a mountain of pressure to retain his job.
The game was a pleasure to watch and it was great as a fan to return to the 8thwonder of the world.
Here is my reaction to the game:
Literally everything went the Tigers way
When I say everything went the Tigers way, I mean literally everything went our way. After two tough weeks in terms of refereeing decisions and 50/50 calls, the Tigers finally got the rub of the green.
Don’t get me wrong, the Tigers can only beat what’s in front of them but I thought the Broncos were garbage and offered very little in terms of resistance.
Brisbane dished out a performance that can only be described as unprofessional in the sense that they looked like a reserve grade team in terms of their defense and decision making.
It was really pleasing, however, to see the Tigers go on with the performance nearly cracking the half-century.
The most encouraging sign was the fact that Wests Tigers managed to keep the Broncos to zero points as well and it was great to see how pumped up the team was at the end of the game after they accomplished this goal.
Although, as a fan, it’s important not to get carried away with the result because the Broncos didn’t turn up.
Complete forward domination
In what was the most dominant display of the year, the Wests Tigers forward pack absolutely took it to the Broncos up the middle.
The pack did a great job of keeping players like Tevita Pangai Junior and Payne Haas quiet by their own high standards and Brisbane really didn’t have any answers after they couldn’t especially dominance in the middle.
What was even more impressive was the Tigers yardage game in attack with Josh Aloiai recording a monster 212 metres from 17 runs.
Russell Packer and Luciano Leilua were also huge running for 148 metres from 15 runs and 180 metres from 19 runs respectively.
The forwards laid a great platform for players like Harry Grant to take advantage of the tired broncos forwards which was a massive reason for the blowout score.
What was also very pleasing to see was the fact that the Tigers probably got the most impact out of their bench for this entire season with Sam McIntyre and Thomas Mikaele both running for over 100 metres.
If the Tigers are going to be any chance against the Eels next week, these kind of stats are going to be a must.
The Marshall/ Walters combination looked strong
After Michael Maguire’s decision to drop incumbent Luke Brooks, I thought that the combination of Billy Walters and Benji Marshall looked like the best halves combination we’ve seen all year.
Marshall’s kicking game and especially his midfield bombs were a massive reason why the Broncos were always on the back foot and Walters looked great on that left edge setting up a try for Leilua.
Billy Walters just looks like a natural footy player who’s just as tough as he is capable of scoring a try which was evident when he managed to create something from nothing by toeing through a kick from a bomb he chased to beat 2 Broncos players to ground the ball.
Tim Sheens must be rolling his eyes right now watching Benji Marshall and the form he’s displaying in the halfback position.
Marshall just looks like he’s in complete control of the team and it’s great to see. If only the Tigers could throw Benji into a time machine because I’m ready to see the Marshall retire just yet.
How good is Luciano Leilua!
Luciano Leilua is fast becoming one of the Wests Tigers’ best prospects. Leilua’s impact not only with the ball but in defense has been a revelation this year with the Samoan international making a try-saving tackle on Corey Oates.
Mark my words, if the Tigers can construct a group of dominant middle forwards that create momentum, Luciano Leilua will become one of the best players in the competition with the x-factor he brings.
Credit is due to Russell Packer
Massive credit goes to Russell Packer tonight for being the forward leader that the team has been craving this season.
Packer taught the young Brisbane forwards a lesson in grit and aggression tonight and I’m praying that he can replicate that performance for the rest of the season because it will be a huge boost for the club if he can.
The addition of an inform Packer just balances out the forward pack and his ability to be an enforcer is something the young forwards really need.
Madge Proves once again why he’s a great coach
With rumored beef between the two head coaches, Michael Maguire has proven that his ability to get the best out of a team is far superior to that of Anthony Seibold.
The amount of talent that the Broncos had really outweighed the Tigers but the home team’s intensity on both sides of the ball and attitude made all the difference which is a hallmark trait of a Michael Maguire coached team.
It’s crazy to think that two years ago, Maguire lost out on the Brisbane job to Seibold but the Broncos loss is our gain.
The Tigers are one gun forward away from something great
Watching the game, I couldn’t help but think if the Tigers had a middle forward like Tevita Pangai Junior on their roster, the forward pack would be a force in the competition.
With players like Zane Musgrove to return from injury and arriving signing Stefano Utoikamanu starting next year, I still think the Tigers are one more dominant middle forward away from being a pack that can compete with the best in the competition.
Image: Wests Tigers