Jackson Hastings produced a superb field goal with the No.7 on his back to seal a stunning 21-20 upset win over the Eels.
All eyes were on the new look for the Tigers halves in Monday’s clash and they were quick to send out a statement.
Luke Brooks, who was moved to the five-eighth with Hastings playing halfback, threw a short ball that was called “beautiful” by Michael Ennis to dispatch Luciano Leilua for the first points of the afternoon.
But the Eels fought back three minutes later after star half-back Mitchell Moses recovered the ball from the fictional half and grubbered for Clint Gutherson.
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However, the Tigers capitalized on the Eels’ mistakes and managed to get them back on their feet after a break and a brilliant run from Starford To’A.
Brooks then threw in a superb cut pass to send David Nofoaluma into the corner as the Tigers took the lead.
Michael Maguires’ men doubled after Hastings neatly kicked for Nofoaluma to cross again three minutes later.
“Jackson Hastings again, it’s a masterstroke so far from the coach who moved Luke Brooks, who was a halfback at the Tigers for so long, to the No. 6 shirt. “said Michael Ennis.
Sticking to the day’s race, the eels then responded. Reed Mahoney passed Isaiah Papali’i out of the mock half to dispatch the second star rower more than six minutes before halftime.
The Tigers were eager to get back on the pitch and it took them just eight minutes to cross again. Veteran winger Ken Maumalo – who was initially dropped before being recalled – cruised around the corner.
Parramatta responded four minutes later. Gun five eighth Dylan Brown hopped through a few Tigers defenders before moving to Mahoney to score.
The Eels leveled the scores 10 minutes from time when Moses planted a bomb which Bailey Simonsson fended off for makeshift center Marata Niukore to score.
Both teams were frantically trying to stop each other from attempting field goals.
Moses had a shot but it went wide and it was ultimately Hastings who landed a stunner in the final five seconds.
The Tigers and Eels both suffered injuries in the second half with Jake Simpkin and Ken Maumalo leaving the field as well as Reagan Campbell-Gillard and Tom Opacic.
NEW BROOKS-HASTINGS COMBINATION GETS AN “A+”
All eyes were on the Tigers’ new combination of halves and they pulled it off.
Coach Michael Maguire made the huge call to move Luke Brooks to five-eights and put the No. 7 jersey on Jackson Hastings.
The reason behind this was to take the pressure off Brooks and free him to run, while Hastings – who is already a big talker – to take control of the team.
Fox League analyst Michael Ennis called the decision a “masterstroke”, while commentator Dan Ginnane said: “Half an hour ago Michael Maguire was about to be sacked and now He’s a genius.”
It took just 10 minutes for Brooks to respond to his criticism when he threw a perfectly timed pass to send Luciano Leilua through a gap to score. It came after he swung into the back and linked up with Hastings.
“Great vision there of Luke Brooks swinging from the left side to the right and getting involved. He landed a nice short ball for Leilua,” Fox League analyst Michael Ennis said during the broadcast. replay.
“I was really impressed with what Jackson Hastings did when the Tigers had the footy.
“In those final moments Hastings really got up playing both sides of the pitch, commanding the footy on both sides and this time it was Brooks swinging at the back. He arrived on time and knew his role and put down a nice ball for Leilua.
Just 12 minutes later, Brooks threw the cut pass to dispatch David Nofaluma.
Coming into this game, he had two assists in five games, but on Monday he had two in 22 minutes…and that wouldn’t have been possible without Hastings’ help.
“Hastings talked (before the game) about calling the shots and we can see that,” Ennis said.
“He bonds very well with Brooks, who has now had two assists. Anytime Brooks swings to that right side, he looks dangerous as he links up with Hastings.
“Hastings plays that pivotal role and calls the shots and Brooks delivers at the back as a second receiver.”
Hastings was equally impressive. He kicked for Nofaluma to cross for his second and netted the winning basket under pressure.
“If you have to rate the Hastings-seven, Brooks-six combination, you have to say it’s an A+,” Ginnane said.
“It’s been exceptional… some brilliant plays from both of them combined,” added Ennis.
THE “INCREDIBLE” GAMES THAT SUMMARIZE THE REFRESHED ATTITUDE OF THE TIGERS
Besides their first half against the Storm in Round 1, the Tigers were criticized for their lack of desperation and fighting.
But it was clear from the start that they came into Monday’s game with a new attitude.
“It was not the Tigers who were listless against Cronulla and Newcastle,” said Fox League commentator Dan Ginnane.
Greg Alexander shared the sentiment.
“The intention came from the Tigers,” he said at halftime.
“They’re playing in front of 30,000 people, they’ve lost their last five games. If they play with the same kind of attitude (in the second half), they have every chance of winning.
There were two particular moments that summed up the Tigers’ attitude adjustment.
The first was when Jackson Hastings planted a bomb and Daine Laurie ran to the other end to greet Clint Gutherson with an almighty jab.
“That really sums up the game…a bit of effort from Laurie,” Cooper Cronk said.
Alexander added: “I think Daine Laurie’s play highlighted the attitude of the Tigers this afternoon.”
The second came just six minutes into the second half when the Tigers overpowered the Eels to win a scrum.
“Unbelievable…If you needed a moment to sum up the spirit of the Tigers this afternoon, it’s here,” Ginnane said.
EELS ‘WEAPON’ SOLVES THE BACKLINE PROBLEM… AGAIN
Marata Niukore — is there anything he can’t do?
As the Eels’ outside backs were dropping like flies, coach Brad Arthur turned to the second rower, just as he had this time last year when injuries hit him.
Niukore was outstanding on both sides of the ball. He scored the game’s leveling try and then with the game on the line he rushed at Jock Madden to force a wayward pass.
Although Parramatta didn’t get the two points, Niukore played like a winner when he returned from injury.
“Niukore is obviously tired of being on the sidelines and watching this Parramatta team in action…he’s so hard to deal with,” Ginnane said.
“If anyone deserves a try today, it’s this man (Niukore). He was a weapon for Parramatta.
Ennis added: “Some of his runs in the second half got his team out of trouble. The sheer physicality he’s worn in has been tremendous.
Niukore finished the game with 104 running yards, five tackle saves and an offload to go along with his four-pointer.
Eels: 1. Clinton Gutherson 2. Viliami Penisini 3. Tom Opacic 4. Marata Niukore 5. Bailey Simonsson 6. Dylan Brown 7. Mitchell Moses 8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 9. Reed Mahoney 10. Oregon Kaufusi 11. Shaun Lane 12. Isaiah Papali ‘i 13. Nathan Brown 14. Makahesi Makatoa 15. Ryan Matterson 16. Hayze Perham 17. Mitch Rein. Substitute player: 18. Bryce Cartwright
Tigers: 1. Daine Laurie 2. David Nofoaluma 3. James Roberts 5. Starford To’a 21. Ken Maumalo 6. Luke Brooks 7. Jackson Hastings 8. James Tamou 9. Jake Simpkin 10. Zane Musgrove 11. Kelma Tuilagi 12. Luciano Leilua 13. Joe Ofahengaue 4. Luke Garner 14. Jock Madden 15. Alex Twal 16. Thomas Mikaele. Substitute player: 17. Alex Seyfarth
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