Wests Tigers have opened their account for 2011, with a 20-12 victory over the New Zealand Warriors at Leichhardt Oval.
It was a slippery night in Leichhardt and it showed in the opening twenty minutes, with both sides failing to control much of the ball, with the Tigers being the chief offenders, struggling to find their rhythm in trying conditions.
They finally found it just before halftime when Benji Marshall held onto a sloppy pass from Chris Heinington to put Chris Lawrence away for the opening try of the evening. Marshall converted from halfway but a knock on from new boy, Aaron Woods gave the Warriors a chance to go to halftime level.
Ask and you shall recieve, Shaun Berrigan darted from dummy-half and popped one to Simon Mannering who scored besides the post. Brett Seymour would convert. Both Marshall and Seymour would take shots at field goal but both were waved away to stay 6 all at oranges.
The second half fell into the same pattern, as the first in the first ten minutes but the game came alive, with some solo brilliance from Krisnan Inu. He tip-toed down the sideline after kicking and threw it inside, it touched a Tigers player for six again. Inu barged into dummy half next play and scored to give the Warriors the lead.
Warriors could sense, if they got some more points, it would be game over, with Brett Seymour attempting a field goal, missing it to the left. Tigers built on this mistake and Robert Lui who had a magnificent game, held up the pass enough for Blake Ayshford to score but Marshall missed a sitter and they were behind still 12-10.
Once again though, the Tigers dropped it from the kick-off but they weren't punished this time and punished the Warriors themselves, with Marshall and Farah combining for the latter to score and finally give the Tigers the lead. With ten minutes to hold onto the game.
The Tigers wouldn't just hold on though, Benji Marshall would throw a bullet pass to Chris Lawrence to score a double and finish the game in style for the Tigers after an indifferent beginning. The Warriors will be disappointed that they have lost their opening two and will want to rectify it against the defending premiers, St George Illawarra.
Wests Tigers 20 defeated New Zealand Warriors 12
National Rugby League - Round 2 - Saturday March 19, 2011 7:30pm
Venue: Leichhardt Oval
Referee: Tony Archer and Alan Shortall
Video Referee: Chris Ward
Touch Judges: Steve Carrall and Gavin Morris
Halftime: Wests Tigers 6 New Zealand Warriors 6
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - Robert Lui
2 Points - Benji Marshall (2 Conversions)
1 Point - Chris Lawrence (2 Tries)
WESTS TIGERS (20)
Tries: Robbie Farah, Chris Lawrence (2), Blake Ayshford
Field Goals: Benji Marshall (0/1)
Conversions: Benji Marshall (2/4)
NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS (12)
Tries: Simon Mannering, Krisnan Inu
Field Goals: Brett Seymour (0/2)
Conversions: Brett Seymour (2/2)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Some very early mail, both Gareth Ellis and Bryce Gibbs are out of tonight's game, replaced by the Schirnack brothers, Jason and Alan.
Welcome to Leichhardt Oval for tonight's match between the Wests Tigers and the New Zealand Warriors. It's been a wet day in Sydney and set up for a grinding game tonight, which will probably suit the Warriors more.
The changes again, for the Tigers Gareth Ellis and Bryce Gibbs are both ruled out, replaced by Alan & Jason Schirnack. Andrew Fifita will start along with Alan Schirnack, with Jason going onto the bench. Only a cosmetic change for New Zealand, Ben Matulino will start in place of Sam Rapira plus Glen Fisiiahi is out replaced by Kevin Locke.
1 min: Benji Marshall gets us underway and no penalty from the kick-off.
3 min: Both teams have completed their first sets of tonight's game. That'll be the key tonight.
4 min: Robert Lui wraps around, passing to Farah to put in a kick which is knocked dead by the Warriors. Goal line drop-out.
6 min: Tigers butcher a certain try, with Chris Lawrence falconing a pass intented for him to take, Warriors survive.
8 min: First penalty of the match to New Zealand, for the defenders crowding the play the ball.
9 min: An early tackle kick from the Warriors meant for Kevin Locke, just sails over the sideline while Tuiqiri watches.
10 min: Tigers earn their first penalty of the match but they drop it early in the count to hand it back to the Warriors.
12 min: Simon Dwyer tries to chop down a Warriors player but the problem was, he was offside. Warriors have the first attacking set of the game and spill it, not on their game early.
13 min: Silly penalty there from Heinington, stripping the ball after Inu was already tackled. Warriors head into the Tigers half once again.
15 min: Lance Hohaia earns the Warriors a goal line dropout by threading a kick through but it should have been a try, looking at replays because neither Tigers player grounded the ball.
16 min: Another set here for the Warriors due to the Tigers being unable to defuse a bomb.
18 min: Nothing doing, so Issac John decides to put one in the in-goal and earn another set.
19 min: Krisnan Inu has an airswing at the ball, knocking it on. Tigers get a reprieve and will work it out from their own end.
21 min: Marshall takes it down the short side on the last, sending one end on end forcing Hohaia to knee the ball into touch.
22 min: Tigers spread it from left to right, with Ayshford offloading it to Utai to score in the corner. No it's been called forward, rightfully so.
23 min: Horrible kick from Seymour to end the Warriors set, is compounded by their whole left side being offside and being marched ten for back chat.
25 min: Sloppy work from both sides thus far, Warriors try the cross-field kick again on fifth but can't recover. Marshall almost runs away but is just ankle tapped by Ropati. Aaron Woods with his second hit up earns a penalty.
27 min: Benji almost goes into touch but flicks it touch football style back inside, cleaned by the Warriors.
29 min: Good chance here for the Warriors to get on the board, from a simple knock on by Galloway.
30 min: Brett Seymour weights a kick perfectly to trap Matthew Utai in-goal for another set of six for New Zealand.
32 min: Robert Lui charges down a kick to save the day when I think it should of been called played at, Warriors just compound the bad end to the set, by conceding a penalty.
35 min: TRY
We have a try! Lui loops a pass to Heinington who gives Marshall a horrible pass but he keeps it alive and hits Lawrence on the burst to score. Marshall will have his first conversion attempt but from the sideline and converts.
Wests Tigers 6-0
36 min: Sheens won't be happy, Tigers don't complete their first set with a simple knock on. Warriors have a chance to bring us square.
Going upstairs for a possible Mannering try.
38 min: TRY
Shaun Berrigan darts from dummy-half, popping a pass to Mannering who scores despite the attention from McKinnon. Seymour steps up for the conversion and nails it.
39 min: FIELD GOAL ATTEMPT
Nothing doing for the Tigers, with a minute to go. Marshall tries a field goal but doesn't get the distance.
40 min: FIELD GOAL ATTEMPT
Warriors march their way upfield and Seymour tries his hand at a field goal and misses too. Thats halftime.
41 min: Inu gets the game back underway right on halfway, no one would be offside after that.
42 min: Warriors try the crossfield kick again but once again it goes out on the full.
44 min: There's a hand in there and a penalty as well, to New Zealand.
46 min: Robert Lui almost puts Wade McKinnon away with a short ball but the Tigers can't capitialise, with Lote throwing it away on last tackle.
48 min: Tigers pile on the attack again, but the raid is cut short when Utai drops a pass from Ayshford.
Krisnan Inu could have tip toed his way down the sideline to score.
50 min: TRY
Wow, Krisnan Inu gets the ball and kicks it down the line, tip toeing to stay in, throwing it back in for his centre but it was touched by a Tiger. Six again for the Warriors and Inu goes himself on first to score. Seymour has his second attempt from the sideline and curves it between the posts.
New Zealand Warriors 12-6
52 min: Seymour launches one high again looking for Inu again and it comes up roses again, but Warriors knock it on from the scrum.
55 min: Benji Marshall tries to go himself, with a grubber through the line but Hohaia saves the day for the Warriors and gives them some good field position.
56 min: FIELD GOAL ATTEMPT
Brett Seymour has his second attempt at a field goal and this was worse than the first, easy 20 metre tap for the Tigers.
New Zealand Warriors 12-6
58 min: Berrigan tries to dart from dummy-half himself but is caught and tries to offload to Inu who drops the ball, Moltzen has his first touch of the game.
59 min: Too keen from the Tigers there, Lawrence almost cleaned Hohaia up in-goal but McKinnon was never square on the play the ball. Warriors get out of their red zone.
61 min: Lote Tuiqiri earns a timely penalty, with a strip. Can they finally convert one of these chances.
63 min: TRY
Robert Lui is instrumental in this try, holding up the ball just enough for Ayshford to hit it at speed and wrestle over to score. Marshall misses a sitter.
New Zealand Warriors 12-10
64 min: Jeez, off the kick-off Robbie Farah drops one right under the crossbar. Scrum to the Warriors, ten metres out.
66 min: Robbie Farah will be breathing a sigh of relief as the Warriors drop it, while attacking the line.
69 min: TRY
Simon Dwyer is into the clear, great ball from Marshall, he's tackled. Tigers from the ensuing play the ball, spread it to Farah who dives in right next to the sticks. Marshall has no problems with this one, slotting it.
Wests Tigers 16-12
70 min: Tigers are three from three from dropping it from kick-offs, this time though it's dubious, it looked like a strip. Luckily it doesn't matter, Moon drops it to a huge cheer around Leichhardt.
73 min: Horrible, horrible play from dummy-half there from the Warriors. It gives the Tigers, the opportunity to kill off the game.
76 min: TRY
It has proven costly, Marshall sends a bullet pass to Lawrence who strolls over and the Tigers have opened their points account for 2011. Marshall hits the post and misses with his kick.
Wests Tigers 20-12
77 min: Warriors try the short kick-off but it doesn't go the distance and Wests get a penalty.
Heinington could have a try to end the game here.
78 min: Just another try for kicks or is it? Robert Lui stabs one through for Heinington who gets it down but it's ruled no try, with McKinnon ruled offside.
79 min: Feleti tries to keep it alive but his pass goes nowhere, Tigers will smother the ball and have their first win.
80 min: New Zealand try to spread it wide on the fulltime siren but it goes out and that is the end of the game.