Michael Maguire was never afraid of change, but he has a week to figure out what to do with two of the Wests Tigers. Most polarizing characters: Luke Brooks and Joey Leilua.
Because if there’s anything that sums up where the Tigers are right now, it’s their long-time No. 7 and enigmatic center that this season is about a contract – and his career – plays.
The Roosters missed almost an entire start-forward package due to injury or suspension, and flooded the NRL’s most vulnerable edge defense, which Brooks and Leilua were manned to prove the rift was opening between belongings and possessions with just one thud magnified 40-6 victory at Campbelltown on Sunday.
It’s no secret that the Tigers ???? The left side is leaking, but it was bombed in a blitzkrieg led by Luke Keary, making Maguire’s Tuesday Tuesday list the most anticipated of the week on Tuesday.
Sure, he knew his team was headed for a hot start to the year who had the Raiders and Roosters, followed by the undefeated Knights and Eels. But based on this evidence, the Tigers – who haven’t reached the final for a decade – may have disappeared from the play-off picture before their country of origin.
James Tedesco probably never thought he would be mocked at Campbelltown , and Tiger’s fans probably never imagined that he would turn into the player he has and lead a competitive team against them. And didn’t he remind them of what they’d missed while Brooks reminded them of what they’d kept after the « big four »? Saga.
Tedesco’s former roommate celebrated his 150th NRL game at Campbelltown on Sunday, and with a blow to the # 1 as he followed his own kick in the first half you thought he was ready for this one Occasion.
In an interview with Billy Slater that was taped for Nine before the big day, he talked about the strength of his game when he’s running the ball. On the few occasions he ran into the taps, he looked very sharp. The only problem was that his leaden left boot sucked the air from two overcooked kicks and his defense was exposed next to Leilua.
Then there was Leilua, whose younger brother Luciano lost his jersey at some point when it fell off him Back was torn. Joey will be lucky enough to hold his next week with six mistakes from 16 tackles after Champion Data, although a shoulder injury from James Roberts could give him a break.
At the end of the game it got so silly that Lindsay Collins, Roosters prop, found time to throw the final pass for two tries, including one for debutant Fletcher Baker, who had been on the field for minutes. Baker got his NRL shot thanks to injuries and suspensions from Boyd Cordner, Jake Friend, Victor Radley and Sam Verrills.
Brett Morris didn’t even celebrate his second hat trick in so many weeks, while Tedesco did a double and sideline which enabled him to ban him with the crowd who once adored him.
By the end of the first half, the Roosters had made three attempts in the Brooks-Leilua Corridor – and could have had more. Morris interfered as he sped past a crawling Daine Laurie after a luscious Lachlan Lam-Tap-On and Sitili Tupouniua isolated Brooks at close quarters.
The Tigers stayed in the game at break through Jacob Liddle’s Scoot of the dummy half, and if it wasn’t for a leaden Brooks left shoe – kicking two balls with Maguire’s dead side press – it could have been better than 18-6.
But the first points iced up after the break Playing the game as a competition, Luke Keary skinned Brooks and then threw a streak for Morrisâ ???? second.
SYDNEY ROOSTERS 40 (Brett Morris 3, James Tedesco 2, Sitili Tupouniua, Fletcher Baker; Siosuia Taukeiaho 4, Tedesco goals) defeated WESTS TIGERS 6 (Jacob Liddle attempt; Adam Doueihi goal) at Campbelltown Sports Ground. Referee: Adam Gee.
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