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Match Summary The Wests Tigers have claimed a comfortable 24-16 win over a very disappointing Dragons outfit at the Sydney Football Stadium this afternoon. The Tigers led 18-4 at half time and were always in control of the match. The Tigers may pay dearly for the victory, with Benji Marshall taken from the field early on with a knee ligament/potential ACL injury.
The Tigers opened the scoring in the eighth minute with Liam Fulton diving on a loose ball in the in-goal.
The Dragons struck back six minutes later, with Mark Gasnier scoring a powerful try and bring the score to 6-4 in favour of the Tigers. This would be as close as the Dragons would get. Josh Morris knocked on from the restart and Chris Lawrence scored a few minutes later to put the Tigers up 12-4.
After an extended period of pressure, the Tigers extended their lead with a superb run from dummy half from Robbie Farah. The score of 18-4 would remain the same at half time, despite some good attacking possession for the Dragons.
The Tigers pushed their lead out to 20 points with half an hour remaining in the game with Tim Moltzen diving on a deflected kick to score.
The Dragons showed signs of a comeback, with tries to Jamie Soward and Kirk Reynoldson scoring, however the Dragons just lacked the impact and ability to keep the pressure on the Tigers and the Tigers finished comfortably, winning 24-16.
At this stage it is unknown how serious the injury to Benji Marshall is, but the worst case scenario is that he will be out for the season. The Dragons have much to be concerned about, with such a limp performance in the first week bound to put more pressure on coach Nathan Brown.
Match Details Round 1 - Full Time :: March 16th, 2008 3:00pm Venue: Sydney Football Stadium Referee: Sean Hampstead
Wests Tigers (24) Tries: Liam Fulton, Chris Lawrence, Robbie Farah, Tim Moltzen Field Goals: Robbie Farah (0/1) Goals: Brett Hodgson (4/4)
St George Illawarra Dragons (16) Tries: Mark Gasnier, Jamie Soward, Kirk Reynoldson Goals: Mark Gasnier (0/1), Jamie Soward (2/2)
LeagueUnlimited.com Player of the Match 3 Points: Robbie Farah (Tigers) 2 Points: Brett Hodgson (Tigers) 1 Point: Liam Fulton (Tigers)
Live Commentary Good afternoon from a sunny Sydney Football Stadium. Earlier today the Tigers won the Under-20 Toyota Cup match 34-22.
1 min: Underway at the SFS!
6 min: Both teams looking dangerous on attack. Benji Marshall taken from the field with a knee injury.
8 min: VIDEO REF - For a Tigers try...
8 min: TRY Wests Tigers The Tigers put in a grubber kick, Brett Morris is unable to clean it up and Liam Fulton dives on the ball to score. Conversion attempt by Brett Hodgson successful. Wests Tigers 6-0
13 min: VIDEO REF - For a Tigers try...
13 min: NO TRY - Tigers player ruled to have knocked on contesting a bomb - rather obvious call really.
13 min: INJURY UPDATE - Benji Marshall with a knee ligament injury, certainly not returning today.
14 min: TRY St George Illawarra Dragons Gasnier gets the ball 12 out and crashes through defenders to score. Conversion attempt by Mark Gasnier unsuccessful. Wests Tigers 6-4
16 min: Terrible result for the Dragons, Josh Morris knocks on attempting to catch the kickoff.
17 min: TRY Wests Tigers The Tigers make the Dragons pay for the mistake - the Tigers spread the ball out to the left and final an overlap that allowed Chris Lawrence to score in the corner. Conversion attempt by Brett Hodgson successful. Wests Tigers 12-4
20 min: Let's have a drinks break.
21 min: The Dragons spill the ball working out of their own end.
22 min: Tigers earn a line drop out.
23 min: Tigers earn another line drop out - the pressure is building.
24 min: TRY Wests Tigers As easy as you like! Robbie Farah picks the ball up from dummy half, throws a dummy and runs 20 metres nearly unopposed to score next to the posts. Conversion attempt by Brett Hodgson successful. Wests Tigers 18-4
28 min: Gasnier is hit by Beau Ryan, loses the ball and the Tigers go on the counter-attack.
31 min: The Dragons get a penalty for a high tackle on Jamie Soward, and they finally get consecutive attacking sets.
32 min: Great defence from the Tigers and the Dragons kick goes too deep in the in-goal...but we have a touch judge on the field...
32 min: The touch judge tells us there will be a penalty against the Tigers for a Liam Fulton late hit on Soward.
33 min: VIDEO REF - For a Dragons try...
33 min: NO TRY - Chase Stanley held up in great defence from the Tigers.
33 min: Soward puts in a kick and Nightingale is penalised for tackling Peni Tagive in the air whilst attempting to catch the ball.
37 min: The Dragons manage to push Tagive over the sideline with the Tigers on attack.
39 min: Soward comes awfully close to claiming a 40/20.
40 min: Tigers get a penalty with 20 seconds remaining in the half.
40 min: ATTEMPTED FIELD GOAL Wests Tigers Farah attempts a field goal right on the half time siren. Wests Tigers 18-4
40 min: Back underway at the SFS
42 min: Reynoldson loses the ball and the Tigers go on attack from 40 out
43 min: Soward almost intercepts a Hodgson pass, however he can't hold on and the Tigers get a repeat attacking set.
44 min: Soward fails to find touch from a penalty.
46 min: Farah gets wrapped up running the ball on the last tackle.
48 min: Soward again nearly intercepts Farah this time, but again can't hold onto the ball. Tigers scrum 15 out.
50 min: The Dragons play at a grubber and the Tigers get another attacking set.
50 min: VIDEO REF - For a Tigers try...
50 min: TRY Wests Tigers Farah puts in a grubber, it bounces of Moltzen's legs and he dives on the ball to claim a try next to the uprights. Tigers running away with this one. Conversion attempt by Brett Hodgson successful. Wests Tigers 24-4
53 min: Tigers lose the ball coming out of their own end.
54 min: Rangi Chase throws a forward pass from dummy half on only the second tackle 10 out.
55 min: Tigers kick out on the full on halfway.
56 min: TRY St George Illawarra Dragons The Dragons spread the ball wide, and then draw back on the inside to Soward who has no trouble scoring under the posts. Conversion attempt by Jamie Soward successful. Wests Tigers 24-10
58 min: Dragons get a penalty first hit up after the kickoff for a high tackle.
59 min: Dragons get a line drop out.
60 min: A poor cut-out pass is thrown to Gasnier on the last tackle letting the Tigers off the hook. And we'll enjoy a drinks break.
65 min: Tigers have a good attacking set that is finished with a poor kick on the last tackle. The Dragons looking very tired however.
66 min: A nice Dragons attacking set is ruined on the last tackle by a forward pass from dummy half.
68 min: Soward attempts the chip over the top that goes too deep, however the Tigers are penalised for taking Soward out chasing his kick.
69 min: TRY St George Illawarra Dragons The Dragons spread the ball to Reynoldson who runs through a gap and runs 10 metres to score in the tackle of Hodgson. Conversion attempt by Jamie Soward successful. Wests Tigers 24-16
71 min: At a crucial time, the Dragons lose the ball coming out of their own end.
72 min: VIDEO REF - For a Tigers try...
72 min: NO TRY - The Tigers put in a kick that is fumbled by the Dragons, however Rangi Chase gets his hand to the ball before any Tigers players, and the Tigers get a drop out.
74 min: Moltzen knocks on receiving the drop out.
74 min: Ryles puts in a grubber that runs dead on the 4th tackle.
76 min: All chances are gone, the Dragons lose the ball coming out of their own end. The Tigers return the favour, but it's all academic now.
78 min: Gasnier tackled into touch just a few metres short of the line.
80 min: Matt Cooper throws a no-look pass over the sideline, last Dragons scoring opportunity is gone.
FULLTIME: The Tigers ease home over a disappointing Dragons outfit, winning 24-16.