Hits and Misses: Tigers fight till the end for second win of the season

This week we look at the incredible finish to the Tigers victory over the Dragons, see a hat trick butchered, the Bulldogs putting in one of the worst starts to a game ever and the Roosters really struggle in the wet.

Read on as we take a look back at some of the biggest hits and misses of the weekend.


Incredible effort stops Dragons from snatching victory

What an incredible final couple of minutes we saw in the Tigers victory over the Dragons on Sunday. With the Tigers leading 18-16, a loose Dragons pass from dummy-half near halfway was toed through by Ben Hunt. He regathered, found himself in Tigers territory with no support, turned in the tackle and threw the ball back along the ground where it was picked up by five-eighth Talatau Amone. Amone passed to fullback Tyrell Sloan who veered right before throwing a looping pass cutting out two players to find Mosese Suli.

Suli angled back in at the scrambling Tigers defence and looked set to crash through the last couple of defenders for the match-winner, but flicked the ball out the back instead. Winger Mikaele Ravalawa picked it up off the ground and made a desperate lunge for the corner. Several Tigers defenders rushed to be there and led by fullback Jahream Bula, managed to bundle the flying Fijian into touch.

The Tigers were able to play out the remaining minute and claim back-to-back victories, despite losing key forward John Bateman to a hamstring strain in the warm-up. Bula had another outstanding game, showing composure and desperation in equal measure. The Tigers now face the Rabbitohs in a real test of just how far they have really progressed this season.


Young winger denies veteran half a hat trick

The Titans third try of the night against the Eels should have been Kieran Foran's hat trick within the first 22 minutes. Alofiana Khan-Pereira received the ball near halfway and sprinted away towards fullback Clint Gutherson. All he had to do was draw the fullback and pass the ball inside to Foran, who was screaming along in support. Instead, he put his boot to the ball, chipping over Gutherson, before regathering on the bounce and diving over. It was the ultimate example of turning something simple into something unnecessarily difficult.

It's hard to be a coach at the best of times, but would Justin Holbrook be wrong to have a word to the young winger? Perhaps suggest that he should always look for the most straight forward path to the try line? Or would he encourage his initiative, with a wry smile on his face and suggest he was very lucky it worked out in the end?


Te Whare was te riffic

The Dolphins simply blew the Sharks off the park in the first half, and surely they were doing it all for Wayne. How can you be coached by the GOAT and not give your everything in his 900th top level game?

With 15 minutes remaining in the first half, playing his first game of first grade rugby league Valynce Te Whare bustled his way through four Sharks defenders to score the Dolphins' third try of the night.

The young New Zealand rugby union convert wasn't finished there, diving over in the corner to score his second after halftime.

It was a fantastic debut in front of a full house containing many of his family and friends. After the game Whare was interviewed and asked about coach Wayne Bennett's influence in his first game. He replied that Bennett had simply instructed him to tackle hard, run hard and have fun. The master coach at it again.


Was that the worst start to a game ever?

Magic is not a word that would have come to Cameron Ciraldo's mind as he watched the opening exchanges of Magic Round at Suncorp on Friday night. His Bulldogs kicked off to the Raiders and proceeded to put in what was possibly the most insipid defensive set of tackles ever to start a game.

The Raiders marched right down the middle of the field with Bulldogs defenders looking reluctant to make any tackles below the waist, instead grabbing at jerseys in groups of two and dancing with the ball runners. Corey Horsburgh, who is no doubt a good player, made a run of 28 metres on the fifth tackle with two Bulldogs players dragged behind like five-year-olds trying to tackle their dad.

On the last tackle, the ball was bombed towards the corner from 25 metres out. Four Bulldogs defenders were in attendance, all stood by and watched Jordan Rapana take the ball on his chest, before falling over to score.


Torrential downpour dampens Roosters feathers

The Roosters arrived in sunny Brisbane, with their kits barely dry after playing in torrential rain last week in Auckland. They would have watched part of the early clash between the Tigers and Dragons on a dry surface, with just a suggestion of some ominous clouds rolling in.

As they ran out to face the Cowboys the rain and even a bit of hail tumbled down as heavy as anything they saw in Auckland. The chopped up surface turned to a spongy lake with surface water struggling to dissipate. The rain eased up ten minutes in, the water drained away, but the deck remained a sloppy mess. There was more rain falling as the Cowboys took control of a match many expected the Roosters to win comfortably.

As both teams struggled with their footing and handling, the Eels and Titans players looked on wondering what would be left for them to play on, no doubt screwing in their long studs.


Mitchell magic tames the Storm

Of all the silky football skills possessed by Latrell Mitchell, his short kicking game might not receive the same amount of praise as his running or passing, but on Saturday night it was a key part of the Rabbitohs victory over the Storm.

In the fifth minute of the game, he picked the ball up from dummy-half, just a metre short of the Storm line, took an astute step backwards, and slotted a grubber kick through a gap in the defence. The perfectly placed, perfectly executed kick bounce up into the arms of Cody Walker who dived in for the first try of the match.

Early in the second half he was at it again, this time as part of a backline move, instead of passing he dummied before dribbling through another perfect kick for Alex Johnston to pounce on. Along with his goal kicking, its just another weapon in his arsenal.