Tigers edge Storm in Coast NRL trial
WESTS fans should be worried for 2016 after their side scraped home 18-16 against a second-string Storm outfit in an NRL trial at Sunshine Coast Stadium last night.
The Tigers fielded a team boasting stars Robbie Farah, Luke Brooks, Mitchell Moses and Tim Grant, but looked shaky against a young Melbourne team full of NRL fringe players.
"There was some really good stuff done and we were really happy with a lot of it, but there was a fair bit there that was pretty ugly," Tigers coach Jason Taylor said.
"We wouldn't like to play like that (during the regular season), particularly through the middle of the game when we struggled defensively."
The Tigers started the game strongly and were rewarded in the second minute when winger David Nofoaluma dived over in the right corner.
Centre Michael Chee Kam crossed 15 minutes later and Wests looked set to demolish the young Melbourne team.
But some serious lapses in defence towards the end of the second quarter cost the Tigers dearly as the Storm scored 16 unanswered points.
"We had a talk about it and then they went out there and did it better afterwards."
"The Storm showed us even with the team that they had there that they're a really aggressive forward pack," Taylor said.
"We had a chat about that (at half-time) and the boys went out there and did things better afterwards."
Brooks was heavily involved in the final 40 minutes with the No.7 giving the Tigers more purpose in attack.
He was well supported by new signing Justin Hunt who was possibly the best on ground.
The former Dragon looks to be in for a massive year.
"Justin played well and copped a couple of heavy knocks and keep going which is good and he's a tough bugger," Taylor said.
Storm mentor Craig Bellamy was critical of his side's second-half performance which saw them make several handling errors.
"They controlled the ball, we didn't," he said.
"We made a lot of errors coming out of our own half which hurt us a bit.
"(In the first half) we had a little bit more ball there and controlled it better."
But the coach was full of praise for his teenage halves paring of Scott Drinkwater and Brodie Croft.
"They basically played three-quarters of the game and are only 18-years-old," Bellamy said.
"There was plenty of effort there but we just have to be a bit smarter with how we do things.
"There's a lot of guys out there and they are going to be a lot better for the run and the experience and it's a part of them growing up as footballers.
"Hopefully tonight will be a boost to their confidence."
WESTS TIGERS 18
( J Ado-Carr 2, D Nofoaluma, M Chee Kam tries; J Rankin goal)
MELBOURNE STORM 16
(N Asofa-Solomona, J Hawkins, C Scott tries; J Stimson 2 goal)