Wests Tigers coach Tim Sheens labelled his team’s 31-30 NRL victory over Parramatta on Sunday as rubbish after the Tigers conceded 30 unanswered points in the final 13 minutes of the match.
The Tigers were on track for consecutive shutouts, after defeating Penrith 30-0 last round, until unheralded Eels prop Matt Ryan scored in the 67th minute to give the inexplicably loyal crowd something to cheer about.
That try sparked a landslide as Parramatta piled on four more tries through Willie Tonga, Ken Sio, Jarryd Hayne and finally Cheyse Blair in the 80th minute – all of which were converted by the recalled Luke Burt.
Not to mention the disallowed tries to Fuifui Moimoi and Sio in that same period.
And while it meant the last placed-Eels drew to within one point by the fulltime whistle, it could do nothing to stop them falling to their seventh loss of the season.
Yet it was Sheens who was the more ropeable coach after the match, admitting his men clocked off – and were lucky to get home courtesy of a Benji Marshall field goal before the halftime break.
“We were very disappointed – 31-0 with 14 minutes to go and you let them score and get within a point,” Sheens said.
“It’s just rubbish.
“The only positive is the win.
“… It was attitude, for sure. We just clocked off – there’s no doubt.”
The Tigers were on cruise control, going ahead with first-half tries to Chris Lawrence, Beau Ryan and Liam Fulton, before a second-half double to bench forward Ben Murdoch-Masila looked to have ended the game with 20 minutes to play.
“Nonetheless, we look at the first 60-odd minutes and know we did something good, and played well and looked like some sort of a premiership side,” Sheens said.
“The last part of it, we looked like an A-Grade side.”
Tigers skipper Robbie Farah, who set up Lawrence’s first try with a clever inside ball, was equally frustrated: “We had an opportunity there to post two 30-0 wins consecutively, which would’ve been great to get our season underway.
“We just let that slip now. There’s a lot of work to be done.”
Parramatta hooker Matt Keating said the team needed to look past the loss and take the positive from their unlikely fightback into Friday night’s clash with Canterbury.
“It makes you realise you’ve got to play for 80,” he said.
“We have to take confidence out of that last 20-minute block and take it into Friday night against the Dogs.”
The Eels were without star recruit Chris Sandow, who was dropped by coach Stephen Kearney to lower grade side Wentworthville, but watched the game from the sideline.
His replacement, Casey McGuire, had a forgettable afternoon and was on report twice – for high tackles on Tim Moltzen and Farah – while teammate Mitchell Allgood was on report for a high shot on Benji Marshall.