Rugby league is a game generally won through a combination of brutal force and sublime skill, but it never hurts to have a bit of luck on your side. Then there’s the old adage that you make your own luck, and the Tigers demonstrated this several times during their convincing victory over the Bulldogs on Friday night.
The Tigers’ first try saw fullback James Tedesco run to the defensive line ten metres out and put through a fairly standard grubber kick. It appeared as though he had put a bit too much juice into it as it rumbled towards the dead-ball line. Winger Kevin Naiqama, wearing what looked like a fez – presumably as a tribute to the Turks – dived full-length to hook the ball back over his shoulder into the waiting arms of Tedesco. It was an incredible try that showed the value of not giving up on any play.
The Tigers weren’t afraid to go to the well again, with the exact same play 19 minutes later resulting in another, slightly less spectacular try. This time Tedesco’s kick was perfectly weighted and Naiqama was able to ground the ball himself. Were the Tigers lucky to have the same play work twice or clever enough to exploit an obvious weakness in the recovery speed of the Bulldogs fullback and winger?
The Tigers’ third try resulted from a bit of luck gifted to them by Bulldogs’ fullback Sam Perrett. Instead of safely claiming a Luke Brooks’ bomb in the in-goal area, Perrett allowed the ball to bounce. The luck came as it deflected off the upright and straight into the arms of Brooks.
It wasn’t meant to be for the Bulldogs, but it was more their disinterested approach and the Tigers’ never-say-die attitude that led to the heavy defeat.
Fans and commentators alike were upset by an incident where veteran hooker Michael Ennis stayed on the ground after receiving the slightest of taps across the nose from an opponent during yesterday’s clash between the Sharks and Panthers. The contact was so minimal that the ploy failed, with the video referee ignoring it and Ennis made to play the ball.
On Friday night with the Bulldogs desperate for points in the first half, Moses Mbye had his head nearly removed by a cover defender five metres out from the Tigers’ line. It wasn’t jaw-breaking contact, but it was definitely high and Mbye lost the ball in the tackle. Unlike Ennis, Mbye stood up, shook his head and got on with the game as the referees called for a scrum.
We have no doubt Mbye would have received a penalty had he laid down long enough for the video officials to have several looks at the incident. The Tigers scored a try at the end of the resulting set of six tackles. Does Des Hassler pat Mbye on the back for playing in the true spirit of the game, or does he let him know he probably cost his side dearly?
Labels: Rugby league