Incredulous footy fans have blasted Thursday night’s clash between the struggling Wests Tigers and Gold Coast Titans as one of the worst games in the history of the competition.
The match was on course to be the first tryless result in NRL history before a horror West Tigers blunder in their in-goal – the team’s 13th error of the night – allowed the Titans to come from behind and record an 8-6 victory.
The Titans celebrate AJ Brimson’s last-gasp try that came off a Wests Tigers error. It cruelly robbed the Tigers of their first win of 2022 in what was an incredibly dull contest
The last tryless professional rugby league match in Australia came in 1993, when North Sydney beat the Illawarra Steelers 7-2 and St George 9-2.
The Queensland Maroons also won game one of the 1995 series 2-0 in a match where neither team got the ball across the line.
In perfect conditions for rugby league on a pristine field, both sides traded penalty goals and the Tigers looked primed for their first win of the season at 6-2 until disaster struck.
Even the Blue Wiggle himself Anthony Field could sense what was coming next.
‘It can be a cruel game,’ Tigers coach Michael Maguire mustered in the aftermath.
However, whoever is operating the Titans Twitter account was pretty chuffed at what played out.
Some Wests fans didn’t see the humour, though.
‘Bit of credit and humility wouldn’t go a stray… a club on there knees… how about ‘tough game’ – Tigers kept us honest?’ Something along those lines. Just another kick in the guys. Cheers,’ one disgruntled fan posted in response.
‘Congratulations for winning the worse game of footy I’ve seen in my life. No way you can celebrate that crap,’ posted another.
Blue Wiggle Field was there to provide emotional support for heartbroken former Tigers enforcer Keith Galloway.
There, there. Formers Wests Tigers forward Keith Galloway was heartbroken by the loss but luckily The Wiggles’ Anthony Field lent him a shoulder to cry on
Shockingly, this isn’t the first time the Tigers have lost a low-quality match in this fashion.
In 2015, Wests came up against their 2005 NRL grand final rivals the North Queensland Cowboys at Campbelltown Stadium. The match was played in the heart of the State of Origin period, which meant the likes of Johnathan Thurston and Robbie Farah were nowhere to be seen.
Terrible weather compounded the matter, but still 8000 diehard Tigers fans turned out hoping for an important NRL win.
History repeats? Antonio Winterstein of the Cowboys broke Tigers hearts in a similar fashion in a terrible clash between Wests and North Queensland back in 2015
It was a shocking match, with an Ethan Lowe penalty goal in the 29th minute the only points for the majority of the contest.
It seemed destined to be a no-try victory until Antonio Winterstein finally put the Tigers to sleep with a 77th minute try and the Cowboys took away the most forgettable 8-0 win since their inception in 1995.
Flashback to 2006 and a clash between St George Illawarra and the Parramatta Eels also seemed destined to be a no-try stalemate. Again, weather played its part in this match with sleet blanketing Kogarah Oval at times.
The two sides traded field goals with Ben Hornby putting the Dragons ahead 2-1 in the 79th minute, before Origin and Kangaroos centre Matt Cooper finally crashed over in the 80th minute to give the Dragons an 8-1 win.
James Tamou tries to break the Titans’ defensive line. Many of the fans who tuned in to the match wished they hadn’t bothered
Former Tigers skipper and NRL premiership winner James Tamou urged supporters to keep the faith.
‘There’s 22 rounds to go,’ he said.
‘For us to keep going we’ve got to follow that path. We can’t let it go.
‘The footy gods, they praise effort. The boys put a lot of effort out there [on Thursday] and I’m proud of them.’
Tamou also rallied around his under-siege coach.
‘If Madge could, mate, he’d strap up and he’d get out there with you,’ Tamou said.
‘Around everything that he talks about, you can just feel the passion and you want to play for him because you can feel it.
‘He gets you up, mate, he really does.’
NRL legend Andrew Johns also backed Maguire and said sacking the coach was not the answer.
‘Well then you are just wall-papering over the cracks,’ Johns said on Channel Nine’s Thursday Night Knock Off.
‘A new coach comes in, there might be a reaction the first couple of weeks, but then the problems are still there.
‘The solution is the model which Penrith did six or seven years ago – brought in all their local juniors, identified their juniors, coached the hell out of them a certain way, they all came through together, and it means something to them.
‘They come through from the age of 14 or 15 and it means something to them.
‘At the moment, I don’t see an identity or a DNA to the Tigers.’