Wests Tigers v Rabbitohs: Five key points
Wests Tigers turn things around, Reynolds fails to spark Souths, and Taupau dominates. They key points from the Tigers' 34-6 win over the Rabbitohs at ANZ Stadium on Friday night.
Tigers round off tough month with an impressive win
It's been a tough five weeks for the Wests Tigers.
Since their 34-8 victory in Round 8 over the Bulldogs, they had lost four straight.
But on Friday they put that tough losing run behind them with an even tougher win.
"We've had a tough month on the scoreboard and obviously from everybody outside the club but we've had a month of working really hard at what we do," Tigers coach Jason Taylor said.
"From my experience, when you train well and you keep doing it day after day you'll get the results eventually and that's what we saw tonight.
"We saw the results of some really good training for a few weeks… the way the guys have stayed really tight is an absolute credit to them."
Souths lacked energy from the start
From the very first set of the match the Tigers out-enthused the Bunnies.
They looked like they wanted it more and wanted to show everyone that they can win without their big two, Robbie Farah and Aaron Woods.
"Right from the start of the game our energy wasn't there," Souths coach Michael Maguire said.
"They obviously did [have energy] they played well, defended well and they attacked with a lot of energy."
The Bunnies coach also refused to make any excuses for his side's fatigue, saying their trip to Perth last week had nothing to do with it.
"Not at all, we've done it before it's never been a problem the boys prepared really well throughout the week, I think it's more between the ears," he said.
Tigers win forward battle
It was never supposed to happen but somehow a Tigers pack minus Woods and Farah just dominated their Bunnies counterparts.
That allowed the Tigers playmakers time and space with the footy, another thing that wasn't supposed to happen.
And that translated into them putting 34 points on the board against the defending premiers.
"That's the age old [saying] isn't it, when the forward pack does well it will create that time for the halves and that's what we had tonight," Taylor said.
"Our guys really led the way in the middle of the field, we found that last week in the second half really, the strong running… it was there for most of the night."
Reynolds return doesn't spark Souths
As a late addition to a Bunnies team already expected to win well on Friday night, Adam Reynolds was supposed to have a night out against the Tigers.
Instead he struggled for any opportunities and missed a crucial tackle on Luke Brooks to allow him to race 60 metres to score.
"The doctors saw it was a good opportunity for this week to utilize him," Maguire said.
"It was good obviously to have him back and we get some of our combinations that we practice early on in the season but we didn't give ourselves a lot of chance there tonight, we played too lateral side-to-side rather than our style through the middle."
Taupau an absolute powerhouse with a violent fend
Have you ever seen a fend more powerful than Marty Taupau's 10th minute job on Souths fullback Alex Johnston?
Taupau was huge for the Tigers on Friday night, leading from the front and bagging his first two tries of the season as a reward.
He finished the game with a whopping 11 tackle busts, including four en-route to the try line in the 63rd minute.
"I'm not too keen to tackle Marty," Tigers coach Jason Taylor joked after the match.
"Marty's really stepped up for us in the last couple of weeks, he had a strong start to the season then we all probably dipped for a little bit. But in the last couple of weeks Marty's really stepped back up to the plate and really made a difference in the way we've trained and our attitude and then tonight he led the way.
"He wanted to lead the way tonight before the game and he did that."