Wests Tigers v Bulldogs: Five key points
The Bulldogs came back from a huge deficit to overrun Wests Tigers in golden point at ANZ Stadium. Here are five key points from their Telstra Premiership Round 4 clash.
Morris kicks monkey off his back
Incumbent Blues centre Josh Morris hasn't quite been the same player since his heroic performance for his state in last year's victorious campaign. It's no wonder the Bulldogs three-quarter celebrated rather comically after crossing for his first try since Round 4 last season.
"He got the monkey off his back there, I think he did a little bit of a cheeky try celebration. He got the monkey off his back and kicked it, apparently. I was asking him as well. You'll have to watch the replay," teammate Moses Mbye said.
"He's been unlucky there. He's one of the best centres in the game. Just because he's not scoring points, he's set a lot up, and got us into a lot of positions to score points."
Brooks confesses to poor form
Tigers coach Jason Taylor said it was a far more polished display in attack against the Bulldogs, compared to their sloppy form with the ball over the first three rounds. Halfback Luke Brooks put his hand up for most of the blame, and then proceeded to strike up some eye-catching magic on Friday night, including two pearlers of a try assist for partner-in-crime James Tedesco.
"My personal game struggled over the first three games, so it was good to hit a bit of form... just getting back into a rhythm, a few things didn't go our way. I've been making a few errors, so that's something I've been working on," he said.
Deep Tigers can get out of the Woods
They were underdogs at the start of the week, and then had top dog Aaron Woods succumb to a knee sprain, point-scoring wiz Pat Richards cop a suspension, and Dene Halatau pull out on match eve.
But the solid debuts of Delouise Hoeter and Lamar Liolevave showed that - already the source of envy for the other 15 sides of the competition – these Concords Kids are multiplying fast.
"Obviously [Woods has] been running over 200 metres the first three weeks, so it was a massive loss. But I think Jesse Sue came in the front row, really filled in his shoes. All the boys in the middle, they went well," halfback Luke Brooks said.
"Delouise from the wing, he had a lot of tough carries and then when Lamar came on in the second half, he had to put on some good shots on a few of the bigger boys. I was impressed by those two. They really showed why they were picked in the team. I'm sure there'll be many more to come."
These Tigers ain't no cats
After pushing the defending premiers and then getting out to an 18-point lead against last year's runners-up, Bulldogs coach Des Hasler had some choice words about his opposition on Friday night.
"Wests Tigers can be pretty proud of the way they played. JT's got them firing well and they're going to be a very difficult side. If they can stay injury free, they're going to provide a lot of trouble for a lot of sides," he said.
Hasler's World Cup spirit
With the Cricket World Cup final just days away, Bulldogs coach Des Hasler sent down a wrong'un even Warnie would've been proud of when he chucked Josh Jackson into five-eighth and sent Moses Mbye into the centres for the injured Tim Lafai on the final team sheet.
However when the teams ran out, it was Jackson who was on the flanks and Mbye playing at pivot in a classic move of ducks and drakes. Was it a needless mind game an hour before kickoff? Or did Mbye's heroics prove it was the ultimate masterstroke from the two-time premiership-winning coach? Now if only he could confuse 11 Kiwi cricketers...