80:00
Fri 3 March 2017
ANZ Stadium - Crowd: 16976

Tigers too good for ailing Rabbitohs

The Wests Tigers have opened their account for 2017 with a solid 34-18 win over the South Sydney Rabbitohs, in front of 16976 at a wet ANZ Stadium tonight.

While all talk leading in to the match revolved around the fued between Robbie Farah and the Wests Tigers, it was an injury to Greg Inglis that took centre stage once the game was under way.

After injuring his knee early in the first half, Inglis remained on the field and was clearly a passenger throughout the game. At several points he was rendered completely unable to contest in content, instead opting to stand and take the tackle rather that risk further injury.

It was in no small part due to this that the Tigers had such an entertaining first half, skipping out to a 18-8 half time lead.

While the Rabbitohs scored first through Bryson Goodwin, first half tries to Ava Seumanufagai, James Tedesco and Chris Lawrence saw the Tigers take the lead.

Many will choose to focus on Robbie Farah's performance, however it was the South Sydney forwards that were severely beaten, not just by their opposition numbers, but also by the Wests Tigers outside backs. David Nofoaluma broke the line almost at will, powering over the Rabbitohs forwards, while Tedesco's speed and footwork proved a continual headache for the defence.

The Rabbitohs' only other points in the first half came on the back of some ineffective scrum defence, as a kick over the top of a rushing Tigers scrum base defensive line was gathered by limping Inglis to score.

Trailing 18-8 at the break, and already down Hymel Hunt, who failed a concussion test, the Rabbitohs would have been forgiven, and indeed expected, to leave Inglis on the sideline. But instead he came out in the second half with his knee heavily strapped, before finally succumbing to his injury late in the second half.

The Tigers added further points after half time, with tries to Mitchell Moses, Luke Brooks and debutant Moses Suli, taking their tally out to 34.

The introduction of Damien Cook late in the game, combined with moving Robbie Farah to dummy half, sparked the Rabbitohs, but it was too little, much too late. Bryson Goodwin crossed for two late tries, but the Wests Tigers finished the game clearly the more impressive side, 34-18.

Talk this week will likely focus around the Inglis injury - how long will he be out for? And was that injury impacted by him having stayed on the field?

3. James Tedesco

If this performance is anything to go by, Tedesco is in for a massive year. Sure, it's not fair to compare him to Inglis in this game, but Tedeso was clearly the most dominant player on the paddock, and was heavily involved throughout.

2. David Nofoaluma

It paints an unflattering picture of an opposition's forward pack performance when they are being run over the top of by an outside back. But that's exactly what happened. Nofoaluma made several clear breaks, showed no fear, and hit the ball up like a prop.

1. Damien Cook

Make no mistake, it was no coincidence that the Rabbitohs lifted when this bloke came onto the field. Yes, Farah moving to halfback certainly helped matters, but Cook's speed and enthusiasm out of dummy half sparked his side's attack.