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A confidence win - Australian Rugby league News
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globalrugbyleague - Mon, 09 Feb 2009 06:46:00 GMT
The critics wrote them off before a ball had even been kicked but it was the so-called experts who ended up kicking themselves in the wake of South Sydney's valiant 30-26 loss to the Wests Tigers at Redfern Oval on Sunday.

Running out onto their spiritual homeground before a crowd of 5000, youth proved no mismatch for experienced heads on a wonderful piece of turf that attracted non-members to watch for free by simply standing on the black gates seperating the "members" from the "freebies".

For a while it looked like it was back to the bad old days when the Rabbitohs fell behind 16-6 at half-time. But some words of wisedom from coach Jason Taylor combined with some extra self-belief soon saw the red and green machine cross for two late tries to gain the lead at 26-22.

Wests Tigers didn't give up and drew level when they spread the ball left for winger to allow winger Rhys Hanbury to score in the corner from a handy 15 metre run to the tryline. An unsuccessful conversion from Sean Meaney left the scores locked at 26-all.

A bomb on the last tackle saw Daine Laurie defuse the kick and send it wide to Willie Mataka who then sent Meaney over in the corner to snatch a 30-26 lead and with it the game.

The Rabbitohs with the aid of some enterprising cross-angle running almost caused an upset in the final minute but as Bugs Bunny would say "that's all folkes."

Tigers five-eighth Benji Marshall, in the experimental role of halfback,scored the first try of the year for the Wests Tigers and set up two more for the visitors while kicking 2 goals.

South Sydney coach Jason Taylor was very pleased his young team showed an enterprising, gutsy performance against what was virtually a full-strength NRL tank.

"It was a superb day all round," Taylor said.

"It was reported during the week that we wern't taking the game seriously by fielding the team we did but I think these guys proved that wrong.

"We gave some young guys a shot at taking on a quality side like the Tigers and they stood up today."

While the South Sydney fans didn't walk away with a victory, they were compensated with the confidence of knowing that if some of their young stars are called into the big league during the real season, the spirit of youth can deliver.

Wests Tigers 30 (Benji Marshall, Tim Moltzen, Beau Ryan, Shannon Gallant, Rhys Hanbury, Sean Meaney tries; Benji Marshall 2, Sean Meaney goals) defeated South Sydney 26 (Dave Tyrell, Chris McQueen, Jaiman Lowe, Shaune Corrigan, Daniel Sayegh tires; Adam Reynolds 2, Luke Capewell goals) at Redfern Oval. Referees: Tony Archer and Ben Cummings.
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