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The Roar


'There's no quick fix': Kimmorley says more tough times ahead for Tigers as Naden sent off in Manly rout

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12th June, 2022

Haumole Olakau’atu stole the show for Manly as Brent Naden was sent off in an eventful start to Brett Kimmorley’s coaching career at the Wests Tigers.

Naden was dismissed for a spear tackle midway through the second half of the Sea Eagles’ 30-4 victory, but in truth, the game was done before he departed.

New interim coach Brett Kimmorley accepted the huge task ahead of the Tigers after a game where they shone early on but were blown out late.

“The reason why the decision happened last week was because things were not going great,” he said.

“I spoke to the players and told them that it’s up to us as coaches to coach as much as we can into them and make us think that we improving them, little steps by little steps. There’s no quick fix in this.

Alex Twal . (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

“We haven’t won a second half all year. It’s not a matter of skill or what you need to do, it’s a whole picture: training hard, buying in, making small improvements week in and week out, trusting our systems.

“You get burned quickly in this game if you don’t turn up and don’t do your role. The scoreline blew out quickly at the end there.”

Naden had copped a bad head knock in the first half and though he passed his HIA, he was well off the pace thereafter: he missed tackles for two tries before tipping Jake Trbojevic.

Kimmorley said that he had spoken to the centre – Trbojevic said he had too, and that Naden had apologised profusely – and that it was vital for the whole team to come together to make the most out of the rest of the season.


“We’re by their side through the good and the bad,” said Kimmorley. “The good they can handle on their own but the bad, we’ve got to make sure that we are here with them.

“That’s something that I want to have as a coach. If it’s a 12-week role, then I’ll look after them as best as I can for 12 weeks. If they need a cuddle, cuddle, and if they need a kick up the bum, we’ll kick them up the bum. We’ll fight in this together.”

For Manly, Olakau’atu was immense, running for 162m, breaking 10 tackles and scoring the match-sealing try.

Tonga are set to name a squad for their clash with New Zealand in the very near future with the 23-year-old certain be selected, but it would come as no surprise if Brad Fittler tried to gazump them and convince the backrower to represent the Blues.

With Tonga’s game in Auckland taking place the afternoon before Game 2 in Perth, Olakau’atu might have a decision to make. Des Hasler said there was an allure to Origin that might see it win out.

“As far as his heritage goes, Tonga is always going to be there, but Origin is a rare game,” he said. “It’s a piece of history in any player’s aspirations in footy. He’ll get good counsel in making that decision.”

Reuben Garrick, too, was excellent and is maturing into a fullback in the absence of Tom Trbojevic while Josh Schuster showed yet more promise as a five eighth.


It is early days, and he has only featured against the Warriors and Tigers, but there is obvious ball-playing talent there.

“This was one of our better wins this year,” said Hasler. “It was always going to be a tough game, with the change that the Tigers had earlier in the week. They’re committed and a good football side defensively, Madge has done a good job with them there.

“It was a tough game of footy for us and I’m proud of the boys. They played disciplined footy and did all those parts of the game that we really see. It was an important day for us today.”

The Tigers were, again, competitive to start the game but faded badly and, by the time the send off came, were already 16-4 behind.

The attack looked better, at least in the first half, but the defence was killed by simple missed tackles and a succession of penalties – there were three for needless ball steals alone.

Kimmorley got a harsh lesson in dealing with the 2022 Wests Tigers in his first fifteen minutes as coach.

His team played brightly, with markedly more attacking verve than had been seen under Maguire, but shot themselves in the foot repeatedly.


On one of the first visits to the Manly end, Toafofoa Sipley was able to strip the ball and dissipate all the pressure.

Even from deep, the Tigers were able to shift quickly, with Hastings and Brooks ganging up on the left to free Ken Maumolo, but his kick was cleared up by a diligent Lachlan Croker.

The pressure rose yet further, with Brent Naden getting over the stripe – only to botch the putdown.

Prediectably, after 15 minutes of Wests banging on the door but failing to make it count, Manly went straight up the other end and scored.

The try was as soft as they come: Jake Trbojevic chucked an inside pass that found Luciano Leilua and Jackson Hastings slacking at marker, with Josh Aloiai able to gallop through for his second try in as many games against the Tigers.

Suddenly everything was going wrong. Leilua gave away a dumb penalty, gifting needless field position to the Sea Eagles, before Naden was forced off for a HIA after collecting Olakau’atu’s hip.

Only poor execution from Josh Schuster saved the Tigers: his basketball pass to Jason Saab was called forward.

Joe Ofahengaue spun and offloaded, enabling a quick spread to Luke Garner to score through flat-footed Manly defence.


The second half started at a breakneck pace. With Manly pushing, Nofoaluma took an intercept and raced away. The Manly scramble saved the try, and was allowed to lay on by the referee, with the Tigers fans howling professional foul.

With the defence shot and Hastings looking to go to the line, he had the ball stolen from him by Olakau’atu. Manly immediately spread in their own end, with Saab free to run 50m and return the game back to the Tigers end. Only stout defence kept Sean Keppie out.

Olakau’atu would again intervene, striding through the line and getting Manly into good ball, from which Garrick was able to shrug off Naden and extend the Sea Eagles’ lead. The kick was enough to send it out to eight points.

After two repeat sets created by the boot of Josh Schuster, Olakau’atu took it upon himself to end the game for the Tigers.

He had been targeting the smaller body of Jock Madden in the defensive line, but on this occasion, took on big men in James Tamou, Naden and Garner to plonk the ball down.

Naden’s afternoon was about to get even worse. He tipped Trbojevic over the horizontal and presented the referee with no option but to send him from the field.


The next try was a glimpse of what Manly fans have to look forward to in the future: Garrick offloaded on halfway to Tolutau Koula, who shimmied through tired defence and unleashed his speed to go around Daine Laurie, no slouch himself, as if he wasn’t there.

It’s now obligatory to mention that Koula broke schoolboy sprint records and is the child of two Tongan Olympians. He looked every inch of that in scoring his first NRL try.

Josh Aloiai will break no sprinting records, but didn’t need to: Hastings fell off a tackle badly to allow another very soft try. So often the Tigers’ best player and their leader on the field, even he was defeated.