Wests Tigers’ last-minute surrenders keep on repeating

Luke Doherty Roar Guru

By Luke Doherty, Luke Doherty is a Roar Guru

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    The Eels take on the Wests Tigers for a bit of Monday night action. (AAP Image/Action Photographics, Grant Trouville)

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    Tim Sheens sat in his coach’s box with just over a minute to go before half time in the Wests Tigers clash with Parramatta yesterday. Everything was going to plan.

    His side was 18-0 up, Parramatta was doing its best to either drop, force or just generally throw the ball away at regular intervals, and it seemed they were on track for a comfortable day at the office.

    His decision-making process during those 90 or so seconds before the break says plenty about where the joint venture is at.

    Sheens sent out the order for a field goal to be snapped, and Benji Marshall obliged without any fuss.

    Tigers fans would’ve been more than satisfied leading 19-0 at half time, but Sheens seemed to have a sense of impending doom.

    The field goal seemed unnecessary as the Tigers continued their march in the second half.

    They led 31-0 before commentator Phil Gould set in motion a chain of events that was barely believable.

    “It will be interesting to see where this last 14 minutes goes,” Gould said.

    “Whether or not it just fizzes out or the Tigers have got a ruthless streak in them.”

    Ruthless is something you associate with Melbourne or Brisbane. This was the Tigers’ chance, albeit against a very poor Parramatta side, to show a win-at-all costs, extra-mile, never-give-an-inch attitude existed in their squad.

    If the score stayed the same it would’ve meant two consecutive games where the opposition hadn’t scored a penalty, let alone crossed the try line.

    Instead, as skipper Robbie Farah conceded after the game, they switched off.

    67th minute: Matt Ryan try (31-6)

    71st minute: Willie Tonga try (31-12)

    76th minute: Ken Sio try (31-18)

    78th minute: Jarryd Hayne try (31-24)

    Surely that was the end of it. Joke over, time to get serious again and show some fight.

    When Benji Marshall walked back to the half-way line with the ball and placed it on the tee the clock read 78:59.

    36 seconds later Cheyse Blair crashed over again.

    The Tigers might have lost by 30 if the match went for another five minutes.

    Sheens walked into the press conference room and it took him less than a minute to drop the “F-bomb”, as the kids say. It wasn’t intentional, but it was a fair indicator of his opinion of the last 15 minutes of the match.

    “Rubbish,” was his more PC assessment.

    The veteran coach is entitled to feel more than a little frustrated, because this seems to be his recurring nightmare.

    His players did the same thing in round five against South Sydney.

    They let in two tries in the last four minutes before a Greg Inglis field goal in golden point extra time consigned them to a 17-16 loss.

    Sheens said he hoped that loss served as a warning, the ultimate lesson in throwing away two valuable competition points.

    Apparently not.

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    The Crowd Says (11)

    • Roar Guru

      April 30th 2012 @ 8:59am
      Mark Young said | April 30th 2012 @ 8:59am | ! Report

      It is all in their heads… So far this season they have had four games where they have gone to pieces in the last 15 minutes, either giving up on lost causes, throwing away a game or squandering a good day for for and against.
      2 v Dragons – Two Tries last 10 minutes
      4 v Raiders – Two tries last 15 minutes
      5 v Rabbits – Two tires last three minutes
      8 v Eels – Five tries in last 13 minutes!

      Yet when they played two very good teams, they finished red hot!
      2 v Eagles – Two tries in last 15 minutes (crossed line another two times)
      6 v Bronc – Two Tries last five minutes

      Let’s remember, they fell apart against the Warriors in the semi final last year as well, allowing a bunch of tries at the end.

      There is something missing with this lot, so much talent, yet the attitude is just not there yet!

    • April 30th 2012 @ 10:47am
      Will Sinclair said | April 30th 2012 @ 10:47am | ! Report

      Deadset, Steve Kearney must be thankful for that late scoring spree, because it seems to have taken a bit of pressure off him today.

      Ditto for Ben Roberts (who tried hard but… geez, he was awful).

      The late flurry of points seems to have blinded everyone to the truth here – the Tigers flogged Parramatta off the park without ever getting out of second gear. Deadset, Benji and Robbie could have played in their dinner suits.

      And, ultimately, I think the Tigers will benefit more from the late points. It means Sheens can flog them all week and have them tuned right up for the Gold Coast on Saturday.

      • April 30th 2012 @ 11:45am
        Blaze said | April 30th 2012 @ 11:45am | ! Report

        I’m with you will… Just because they backed off and nearly got rolled in the last 15, doesn’t mean they didn’t absolutely flog parra in the first 65… However it is extremely painful as a tigers fan….. Unfortunately, I’m kinda getting used to it…lol

        • Columnist

          April 30th 2012 @ 11:53am
          Ryan O'Connell said | April 30th 2012 @ 11:53am | ! Report

          Will & Blaze, I’m not being a smart a*se, but rugby league is played for 80 minutes. If Parra had actually pulled off the miracle comeback, you surely wouldn’t be saying ‘Yeah, but we flogged them in the first 65 minutes!’, right?

          • April 30th 2012 @ 11:56am
            Matt F said | April 30th 2012 @ 11:56am | ! Report

            Also if this were only a once off then it wouldn’t be that news worthy. The fact that the Tigers seem to do this alot (albeit not to this extent) with the game against Souths being the most costly one, makes it a story.

          • April 30th 2012 @ 12:06pm
            Will Sinclair said | April 30th 2012 @ 12:06pm | ! Report

            It’s the old chicken and egg argument though, Ryan.

            If the Tigers didn’t lead by 31 points with 13 minutes to play, would Parra have scored all those tries?

            I would argue not, and that they only came back into it because the game was over and the Tigers knew it.

            (But agree it’s absolutely a concern for Tigers fans… A top side would have put the Eels to the sword.)

            • Columnist

              April 30th 2012 @ 12:20pm
              Ryan O'Connell said | April 30th 2012 @ 12:20pm | ! Report

              Perhaps Parra wouldn’t have scored so many points if the Tigers didn’t clock off, but that’s a dangerous argument/mentality.

              What if Parra came back to win the game? Would the Tigers be saying ‘Yeah, but they only won because we were up by so much.”

            • April 30th 2012 @ 12:33pm
              Matt F said | April 30th 2012 @ 12:33pm | ! Report

              You’ve actually raised the main issue there Will. When the Tigers feel that they’ve got the game wrapped up they clock off. Now most times they’ll get it right and still win, although for and against can be very important at the end of the season. The big problem is that, like what happened against Souths, they sometimes get it wrong. Everybody thought that they had it wrapped up and yet they ended up losing. If they had the mentality to close out games then they would have an extra two points right now. It didn’t cost them the match yesterday but it very well could cost them a game down the track, and has already cost them one game so far this season.

            • April 30th 2012 @ 1:37pm
              Will Sinclair said | April 30th 2012 @ 1:37pm | ! Report

              Agree with both Ryan and Matt – it’s a very dangerous mentality.

    • April 30th 2012 @ 2:43pm
      B.A Sports said | April 30th 2012 @ 2:43pm | ! Report

      I don’t think the Tigers can take much from that win at all. End of the day they got two very “fortunate” calls in the first half that resulted in repeat sets and they scored from those repeat sets.
      The Eels were playing without a halfback and if the Eels had decided to stop giving the ball to Ben Roberts 5 minutes earlier, they probably win.

      Seriously if Ben Roberts had been sent off in the first five minutes, the Eels would probably have won the game.

      • April 30th 2012 @ 8:33pm
        Blaze said | April 30th 2012 @ 8:33pm | ! Report

        Again with ‘fortunate calls’ come on… Without those ‘ fortunate calls’ that went parras way late in the second half they wouldn’t have gotten as close…. Calls go both ways, I’m sick of people thinking that the refs favor the tigers… It’s utter bs….

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