Thriller tale of two halves


IVAN Cleary last night praised his young halves Luke Brooks and Tui Lolo­hea af­ter the stun­ning 30- 26 come­back vic­tory over Manly.

On the same day the club an­nounced that Benji Mar­shall will be back next year, the player whose ar­rival all but sig­nalled the end for Mar­shall’s time at the Tigers pre­vi­ously took an­other sig­nif­i­cant step in his de­vel­op­ment.

It’s hard to be­lieve that the 22- year- old Brooks made his mem­o­rable NRL de­but four years ago to the month when he was brought into the Tigers squad by Mick Pot­ter and got man of the match in the win over St Ge­orge Illawarra.

He was only 18 back then but at the time Brooks was ear­marked as a fu­ture su­per­star.

While Brooks has copped his share of crit­i­cism in the years since for prob­a­bly not liv­ing up to the early hype, Cleary went as far as to say he thought yes­ter­day was as com­posed as he had seen from Brooks.

“I thought Luke to­day was re­ally good,” Cleary said.

“Ev­ery play he did had mean­ing to it and he was com­posed more than I have seen be­fore so hope­fully that is a bit of a go- ahead game for him as well.”

The Tigers looked gone when they trailed 20- 6 at half­time but with the Le­ich­hardt crowd spurring them they de­fied their stand­ing on the lad­der with what was prob­a­bly their best win of the sea­son.

“We went through a pe­riod in the first half where we were pretty er­ratic,” Cleary said.

“We were break­ing tack­les but we were sort of all over the shop. We just lost our way and Tui was prob­a­bly guilty of that, and Brook­sie was as well, ac­tu­ally. But sec­ond half they both straight­ened up a lot.

“Tui when he scored, that is his thing.

“If he un­der­stands that, when he does that more good things are go­ing to hap­pen. Hope­fully ( to­day was) a great break­through for him in that re­gard.”

Skip­per Aaron Woods also thanked the crowd on what will be his sec­ond last game at Le­ich­hardt be­fore he heads to the Bull­dogs next sea­son.

“They help a lot,” Woods said of the crowd. “There are times when you prob­a­bly get a 50/ 50 call go your way.

“And the boys just get goose bumps and start find­ing a lot more en­ergy, run­ning harder, tack­ling harder and just lit­tle things that if you are a bit flat you wouldn’t do.

“Es­pe­cially that last 15 min­utes. We had a bit of pos­ses­sion down their end and we stuck around and got the win in the end.”

Cleary said the win was proof the play­ers still had a lot of pride in them de­spite their stand­ing on the lad­der.

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