Tigers happy with footballing lesson
Despite getting trounced by a red-hot Roosters side 36-4, Wests Tigers coach Jason Taylor says he is happy his side received a mid-year lesson in finals intensity football from one of the main premiership contenders.
Taylor was also happy with the way his troops hung in rather than dropping their heads in the second half and giving up a cricket score, which he said could easily have happened.
"I was really pleased with our effort in the second half, it could have been a really long second half but it wasn't... we fought hard and never gave up," he said.
"[It was a] Massive test for us tonight, there were a lot of things we didn't handle but we never gave up and the second half was really encouraging.
"We didn't handle the Roosters start, they started too strong for us and caused us problems defensively.
"The thing about that is we know where we've got to improve, we know what we've got to do to get ourselves to the point where we can compete with a team like that."
His side conceded an early try then absorbed a stack of pressure with some resolute defence before three quick tries late in the first half made it 22-0 at the break. Rather than getting blown away after the break, the side hung in for a 14-4 second half, which included a long-range Mitch Pearce try from a Tigers error.
"This was our biggest test this year... we're playing against a team that are genuine premiership contenders, they've lost four games in a row. They weren't playing poorly [during those losses], they were playing well.
"That was going to be a semi-final type game and it was. And for us, to get that game, to get a chance to play in a game like that in May was great.
"We're disappointed that the scoreline ended up what it did, but it's great for us – we know where we're at, we know what we've got to do, there's plenty of this season left."
Taylor welcomed the fact the margin stayed "somewhat in control".
"The scoreline in the second half was 14-4, against a team that was red hot in the first half and really blew us off the park," he said.
"To come out and fight like we did, they probably could have scored another try at the death and we had people coming across in cover to save that... there was a lot of fight there.
"That game could have ended up as a game where in the second we were standing behind out goal line regularly not talking to each other, looking like it was the end of the world but it never went that way at all and there was some great fight from the guys to make sure that didn't happen."
Skipper Robbie Farah said the side "learned a good lesson" from the match.
"We just lost the ruck, we got out-muscled," he said.
"We knew they were going to come hard at us and be physical through the middle and we just couldn't handle it. We know where we went wrong and we know how to improve so it's just a matter of putting the work in and learning the lessons from a loss like that."