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Aggro and attitude provide blueprint for Tigers turnaround

The aggression and argy-bargy shown by the Wests Tigers forwards has been pinpointed as the blueprint to turn the joint-venture's season around after a heartbreaking golden-point loss to South Sydney.

Even before a two-point Adam Reynolds field goal sent the Tigers-Rabbitohs clash into extra-time there was drama aplenty in the 18-14 thriller, with Latrell Mitchell (striking), Zane Musgrove (high tackle) and Luke Garner (dangerous tackle) all put on report.

For much of the contest the Tigers were the better side, only to be run down late after looking the goods for the biggest upset of 2021 to date.

Coach Michael Maguire lauded the "resilience" shown from his side in defence after last week's embarrassing loss to North Queensland, in which they were booed by their own fans at Leichhardt Oval.

Halfback Luke Brooks in turn praised the aggression that saw Musgrove and Garner especially wage running battles with the Rabbitohs all night, even if both will now come under scrutiny from the match review committee.

"It was good to see that aggression," Brooks said.

Match Highlights: Rabbitohs v Wests Tigers

"Obviously sometimes you're going to give away a penalty going out that hard but as long as we back them up and defend that penalty if it happens, we'll be sweet.

"But it was good to see our forwards really take it to their forwards."

Garner was on the end of contact from Mitchell that had Tigers officials and fans alike up in arms, the South Sydney No.1 kicking out and hitting Garner in the end after he was caught in a cover tackle.

The play came after Mitchell made a miraculous escape from his own in-goal despite replays suggesting he put a foot into touch, prompting Maguire to call for more reviews of critical in-game moments.

"You look at moments in the game where the ball comes down there in the corner and I'm sure there was a foot that touched the white line and the technology in the game, I think Garns ended up copping a boot there at one stage, technology in the game can refer to that," he said.

"We end up down the other end and we get a penalty against us.

"Those sort of things are massive momentum changers and that hurts tonight in that result.

"With the technology we've got, we've got to be using that to be able to go 'hang on', those things are happening within the game."

The left edge of the Wests Tigers conjure a beauty

For the Tigers highly-rated rookie rake Jake Simpkin was outstanding, making a game-high 58 tackles in the middle, while David Nofoaluma was also strong as he switched from his usual right wing to the left.

Maguire said he would consider making that a permanent move after the fan favourite's form has fluctuated at times across the first six weeks of this season.

Centre Asu Kepaoa will require scans on a knee injury, but despite the devastating nature of the final minutes, Maguire was taking plenty of positives from the Tigers improved effort.

"It hurts but I think we'll get a lot out of that game," Maguire said.

"I saw a lot of our players grow. I thought young Jake Simpkin came in at nine and did a good job for us.

"Our halves played well, I thought Moses came on and gave us a lot around the middle of the park. I was really pleased with our defence.

"There were times there where we needed to be better, but for a lot of the time I thought we defended the way we wanted to."

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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