Tigers duo carve Titans to shreds
It was the exclamation mark on a lopsided result set up by their captain and forwards but the combination between halfback Luke Brooks and fullback James Tedesco added the polish to a dominant 40-12 win by the Wests Tigers against the Titans on Sunday.
The Tigers started their Round 2 clash in much the same way they opened the season and were unlucky not to open up a 16-0 lead for the second straight week but unlike their performance against the Dragons, this time they went on with the job.
The culmination was a breathtaking try to Brooks in the 69th minute where for the second time in the game his left foot found acres of space for Tedesco to run into. Brooks's clever chip over the Titans defence on halfway was collected by Tedesco who put in a kick of his own for Brooks to chase and plant down in the Titans' in-goal.
It was something of a mirror image of the eighth minute of the game when a beautifully judged left-foot grubber back across his body by Brooks rolled into the Titans in-goal and with not a defender in sight he raced through to score his side's second try of the game.
Matching the heat on the coast that forced the implementation of the hot weather policy, the Tigers opened in blistering fashion and made the Titans pay for a litany of errors.
Dave Taylor's spill from his first touch of the game in the second minute saw the Tigers go downfield and then force an error from fullback William Zillman as he attempted to take a bomb in front of his posts. Ignoring the two points on offer, the Tigers sent a sweeping movement down the left side with the speed of Tedesco creating enough space for Pat Richards to score the first of his two tries for the half.
Trailing 10-0 after eight minutes and despite an insipid attack that looked disjointed from the outset, the Titans were able to take advantage of the 20th-minute drinks break and a penalty against Sauaso Sue for diving at the legs of Sezer following a kick to bridge the gap, albeit momentarily.
With excursions to the right edge coming up with nothing but errors time and again, Sezer and Greg Bird took it upon themselves to straighten the attack, Sezer backing up a Bird bust to score under the posts and reduce the deficit to four points in the 24th minute.
A total of nine first-half errors continued to put the Titans defence under pressure and the Tigers made them pay with back-to-back sets that culminated with Richards' second try in the 31st minute.
Seven minutes later and with the Tigers continuing to attack the Titans' line, Brooks and Tedesco combined again to punch a hole in the defence. Despite a question mark on a possible dropped ball in the play-the-ball, Braith Anasta's measured kick to the right edge put Bodene Thompson up against Brad Tighe in a high-flying fight for possession, the Tigers back-rower winning the battle and wrestling the ball to the ground for a 22-6 lead at half-time.
A bizarre finish to the first 40 minutes was matched by a frantic start to the second and it took just one set and the first tackle from a scrum before the Tigers posted further points when David Nofoaluma took an inside pass from Brooks that sent the late inclusion on a powerful charge back on the angle that left four Titans defenders strewn on the turf like lonely tenpin bowling pins before planting the ball over the line.
Having been denied a try by the video referee in the 16th minute, Martin Taupau couldn't be stopped in the 59th minute when a simple run-around between Farah and Aaron Woods opened up space for Taupau to charge onto a short ball from Farah to bust through the paper-thin Titans defence on their own line.
Albert Kelly was able to take one positive away from an otherwise disappointing display from the Titans halves to collect a dropped Tigers pass in the 66th minute and race 85 metres for his second long-range try in as many games but that was the only time the home side threatened in the second stanza.
While the Tigers have their own injury concerns with Chris Lawrence not lasting beyond the 20th minute with a right hamstring concern, the Titans' horror afternoon threatened to result in even more carnage with Greg Bird leaving the field with 11 minutes to play with a serious left shoulder injury, just a couple of minutes after Beau Falloon limped from the field with a knee injury.
Wests Tigers 42 (Pat Richards 2, James Tedesco, Bodene Thompson, David Nofoaluma, Martin Taupau tries; Richards 6 goals) def Gold Coast Titans 12 (Aidan Sezer, Albert Kelly tries; Sezer 2 goals). Half-time: 22-6 Wests Tigers. Crowd: 12,038.