Cleary happy with potent attack in Leichhardt win
Wests Tigers Head Coach Ivan Cleary was quietly pleased with his side's performance after a comfortable victory in the end over the Cowboys tonight.
Despite creating an array of attacking chances, the game was somehow locked at 12-all midway through the second half when Antonio Winterstein scored against the run of play off a Benji Marshall kick.
However, after grinding out a late try and penalty goal through Esan Marsters, Coach Cleary said it was an important win for his side and one that highlighted how strong the side can be at their best.
"It was definitely a big game for us tonight, for a number of reasons," Cleary reflected after the match.
"Not having a win for a few weeks and coming here, we were hoping for a good crowd. We weren't quite sure with Thursday night but for so many people to turn up and have such an atmosphere was important.
"To be able to get the win as well, to be honest, it was a bit of a relief.
"We lost our rhythm the last two weeks... and that makes life hard.
"So in terms of performance and control of how we played, I was pretty happy with it.
"We weren't that far off in the last few weeks, but we just couldn't get any rhythm with errors or penalties at the wrong time. If you can't get the basics right, you put yourself under pressure, so be able to get that back tonight and get in to the groove of things was a really important thing for us."
While dominant as a side, Cleary made special mention of the performances of Luke Brooks and Mahe Fonua, who terrorised the Cowboys' right edge defence in a promising partnership on the left wing.
"We definitely created a few things down that left edge — probably a couple of tries went astray," he said.
"Especially after the first 20 minutes, I really felt we were going well and the scoreboard was probably a bit closer than it should have been. But those guys did a good job in particular.
"What we saw in Mahe was what everyone saw tonight.
"He's one of those guys that when he gets the ball, both coaches hold their breath. But tonight, he had all the right moves. He was a constant threat, and he was a presence, and error-free which was most pleasing.
"He looked really comfortable in the centres tonight and certainly played his part out on that edge."
See what Coach Ivan Cleary had to say in full after tonight's big win in the video above!