Following the Wests Tigers' 34-14 State Cup win over Illawarra Cutters, Coach Paul Fletcher, Blake Austin and Jarred Farlow all shared their thoughts on the win.
Paul Fletcher, State Cup Head Coach
"I was really happy with the first win. We seemed to start off slow — a bit like our trial form — where we came up with an error and conceeded points... but the boys rallied though and did well to go into the half up 16-14 after being down 10-0 earlier. That was quite pleasing.
"[At] half-time I asked for us to speed up a bit — I thought we were a bit slow in the first half — so we sped up up a little and, for 20 minutes there, we were just unstoppable.
"Blake Austin was pretty good. He's done a few things that I'm not that happy with — kicking from the scrum and throwing the ball into touch — but other than that he was very solid.
"Friday was his first run with us, so to come away with a 20-point away from home is good.
"I'm really looking to improve on our error rate. I think we had a few unforced errors there; there were a lot of little things to work on but there was also a lot of positives. Since our first trial against Parramatta, I knew we were going to be good this year and even though it's a new squad, the boys are working hard and seem happy and are growing so it's a good start.
"Ben Murdoch-Masila played a good strong 60 minutes there. He started on the edge and then moved into the middle and he was very very good there. I thought Corey Brown recovered well after a shaky start and was very good in the latter part of the game.
"I thought Setefano Taukafa was very good and strong — he did some good things after Jy [Hitchcox] got hurt and he moved to fullback.
"I thought our forwards were really strong; Nathan Brown after a shaky start was very strong in the second half, Inno Inosesio was strong in defence and had some great carries too. There were so many strong players and plenty of positives to take away from the win."
Jarred Farlow, Captain
"We wanted to keep things simple for the first month of footy — we've got guys like Benny Murdoch-Masila and Blake Austin coming back — so to get them into the swing of things we wanted to keep things simple and I thought they were two of our best players today.
"Blake's obviously played a lot of footy at halves — played first-grade there at Penrith and is pushing for a spot here too — so he knows how to get a team around and when to hold it and when to pass it and his kicking game and direction is very strong too.
"I loved being back in the second-row [having played five-eighth for both trial games]. You can get in there a bit more with the dirty work and get things done and you don't have to think about plays on the run and organising your outside backs. It's good to just hit a line and try and set up the backs with a bit of ball-playing — was great to be back.
"I think when we completed our sets, we were very strong. I think our second half defence was outstanding — we didn't concede a point in the second half despite a couple of sets on our line there — so our goal-line defence was really good.
"We just kept turning up for each other."
Blake Austin, Man of the Match
"Yeah was good to get the first one out of the way. We started a bit slow but we were willing to do the tough stuff and once we did that, we got the job underway in the end.
"We made probably a few too many errors today. Our defence on our line was really good but we still made some errors going forward so there's definitely some improvements still to be made. Definitely good to get the points, though."