Wests Tigers NYC Coach Todd Payten talks about the win over the Bulldogs in his weekly column today.


TODD'S BLOG

It was a much needed win by our boys last Friday night and keeps us in touch of the top 4 as the NYC competition is now starting to spread out.


We started very unconvincingly with a lack of urgency and no intent defensively. After 10 minutes of play the Bulldogs had the ball 9 sets to our 3. That coupled with our lack of intent got them out to a 12-0 lead.


Our team goal was to go set for set with them as they are a much bigger side than us and I was confident that our better fitness condition would play a part if we had an even share of possession late in the game.


We finally got into some rhythm and fought our way over with a neat short side raid led by full-back Kurtis Rowe. From there we went try for try with them until the last 20 minutes of the game. We were able to wrestle the momentum in our favour with some strong running in the ruck and get them retreating for most part of the 2nd half where Mitch Moses was able to slice through the centre of the ruck to go over.


Matty Mulcahy then spotted an opportunity against a retreating defence. He showed great speed and skill drawing a defender putting Manaia Rudolph in some space where he beat the fullback and palmed off a cover defender to go over about 15m from touch.


With scores tied up Manaia Rudolph held his nerve and slotted over a tricky shot and we hit the front by 2 with 5 to go. We held on to get the chocolates.


As the coach, I was very pleased that we were able to hang in there when things were against us. We showed patience and concentration by not panicking and sticking to the game plan. We were also able to play a full 80 minute game which is something we have struggled with.


Best for us was Andy Fiagatusa who won both the coaches award and players player. Andy started in the absence of Nathan Brown. His work ethic and attitude over the past 2 years has been first rate. He was someone who had limited opportunity last year but never kicked the dirt in frustration just put his head down and worked harder. He is a very valuable member of our squad. Andy rolls his sleeves up and does a lot of work around the ruck.


Other strong contributers were Brendan Santi, Delouise Hoeter, Kurtis Rowe and Matty Mulcahy. Brendan played tough as usual with some important carries and his efforts defensively are excellent. Rowe stormed back to form with a confident display at the back saving a couple and also scoring one and setting up one.


Hoeter continued his good form. He earned us 4 penalties coming out our end by just some pure urgency to get up to play the ball. Mulcahy had some classy touches after coming in for Luke Brooks. He also defended well on all but one occasion.