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11-man Tigers shoot themselves in the foot again as Olam and Naden binned to help misfiring Phins to win

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Editor
19th May, 2024
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Just when you think the Wests Tigers have done everything to sabotage themselves, they find another way to lose.

This 24-12 defeat to the Dolphins saw Wests lose two men to the sin bin, one either side of half time, essentially ending the contest at a time when the Tigers looked like they might be coming back into it.

Though Redcliffe had raced into a 12-0 lead, Justin Olam had pegged it back and the Tigers, who had enjoyed the better of the possession in the first half, could have taken plenty to the break with them.

Then Brent Naden landed a high shot on Jack Bostock seconds before the siren, earning him a ten minute sit down.

Then Justin Olam effected a hip drop tackle on Jamayne Isaako, reducing the Tigers to 11 men for the second time this year following their late brain snap against the Bulldogs.

Then Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow marked his return to the Dolphins team with a try, moving the scoreline to 18-6 and ending the game as a contest.

Api Koroisau got one back to make it interesting but the Dolphins put the Hammer down again to make it comfortable.

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Wayne Bennett won’t be pleased with how his side approached the game, but they were never in doubt and the Tigers, as could have been predicted, were more than willing to beat themselves.

“We wouldn’t have won that game last year because we couldn’t defend as well as we can now,” was as positive as he could muster, in between describing his side “looking like we weren’t interested”.

Redcliffe played with their food, completing at 67% in an attempt to end Magic Round in style.

That isn’t their way, and Bennett will likely inform his side regarding the correct order of cart and horse as long as he is in charge.

Benji Marshall will, like usual, look at some of the positives and wonder what might be possible if his team could put in a performance that didn’t involve hari-kari moments.

“Our discipline is terrible,” he said.

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“I am pretty frustrated. Our team gives so much effort in so many departments and so many areas. We have two in the sin-bin, fight our way back to 18-12 and then find a way to beat ourselves again.”

There were, again, plenty of things to like about the collective. But on an individual level, enough will always go wrong to ensure that they lost a seventh game on the spin.

The Dolphins march on to their third win in a row and are now firmly ensconced in the top four. This wasn’t their best, but it didn’t have to be.

Redcliffe’s backline fails to fire

The Dolphins haven’t struggled to score points this year, and that was without their best backline on the field.

This was the first time they’ve been able to field their preferred 1-7 since the last time they played the Wests Tigers, way back in Round 5.

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Now, with Herbie a week into a return and the Hammer back on deck, it was as if the pressure got to Redcliffe early on.

They did score one superb backline try, attacking the right with Isaako and then going all the way to the other side for Bostock to cross at the left corner, but beyond that, it was ponderous indeed.

This is a side that has generally maximised conservative play, and Bennett would not have been pleased to see such a lackadaisical work from his men.

They were never in doubt, but could have done plenty more too.

Mark Nicholls’ first half try showed the way, with battering through the middle and letting their evident superiority come to the fore.

It didn’t get much better in the second half – well, unless they were playing against 11 men – and one suspects that in the week, this will not be treated like a win in Redcliffe.

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