The West Tigers: A Rugby League Master Class!

Congratulations have to go to the West Tigers.

This is a team spending well under the salary cap. A small side with a big heart.

The key to the Tigers incredible Grand Final success was without doubt their defense. They just offered nothing to the Cowboys who’s pack outweighed the Tigers pack by over 30 kilograms!

At one point in the second half the Cowboys resorted to trying to get around the outside of the Tigers, something that was never going to happen.

The highlight for me was the incredible magic that is better known as Benji Marshall, What a player! Speed to turn, he accelerates as fast as any player in the game and that pass….you just don’t even think of attempting passes like that in the Grand Final!

Scott Prince was a very deserving winner of the Clive Churchill. He showed a command of the game that you don’t often see on such a big occasion. He was level headed, he kept his cool and he managed to keep the Tigers going forward as opposed to trying to defend their lead.

For the Cowboys, they tried hard but they just couldn’t match it with the Tigers.

I thought Paul Rauhihi had that self destructing game I warned of in my Grand Final Preview. Then there was Paul Bowman’s brain explosion in his own in-goal that handed the Tigers 6 points. The final score line may suggest it didn’t mean much in the long run, but at the time is was a critical mistake and one such an experienced player should NEVER make.

In the coaching stakes, once again Tim Sheens game plan worked perfectly. I felt in the second half the Cowboys looked liker they had no Plan B as they tried to run around the outside of a defense that could handle that type of attack all day long.

Some have been critical of Tim Mander but I thought he did a good job. He gave both sides and even chance and thats all you can ask for.

The Tigers win is not just a win for Balmain and Western Suburbs, its a win for Rugby League in Australia.

The fact that a team can spend under the salary cap and come from no where to win the title says a loot about the rules and regulations that have been put in place despite opposition from certain clubs. Its also a great advertisement for the junior development system we have in Australia.

Here you have the two best team in the 2005 season…..two lineups filled with quality talent….and only two players from both side were able to crack it for an Australian Tri Nations jersey.

So well done to the Western Suburbs Magpies, well done to the Balmain Tigers….and now we turn our attention to the old enemy. 😉

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