Wounded Tigers vow to return stronger - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Wounded Tigers vow to return stronger

By Ian McCullough 26/09/2010 02:38:30 PM Comments (0)

Wests Tigers winger Beau Ryan cut a disconsolate figure after his side's heartbreaking 13-12 NRL preliminary final defeat to St George Illawarra on Saturday.

The colourful Ryan, who is usually the life and soul of the Tigers dressing room, had boldly predicted his side would beat the Dragons, but in the aftermath of an enthralling showdown at ANZ Stadium, was barely able to speak.

"It is a horrible feeling, but at the same time, I feel immensely proud of every single player in our team.

"We left nothing out there, gave everything we had, but we just didn't get the bounce of the ball," Ryan told AAP.

The former Dragons junior had the Tigers fans on their feet in the dying seconds of the match, but his desperate kick-and-chase towards the tryline eluded a throng of onrushing black shirts, and was shepherded to safety by Darius Boyd.

The 25-year-old claimed he took the wrong option, saying he should have held onto the ball longer, but predicted the pain of defeat would make the Tigers a force to be reckoned with in 2011.

"For most of us it is our first taste of finals footy and when you look around you see so many young faces," he said.

"How much will they learn from games like tonight?

"Blake Ayshford, Robert Lui, Andrew Fifita, Ben Murdoch-Masila, Simon Dwyer - they are all like 22 or under and have so much talent and potential.

"The Dragons learnt from their finals experience from last year and so will we.

"But they went two and out, we have done better than that this year, and will be back and we will be better for this."

The Tigers were privately fuming about the decision not to penalise Jeremy Smith for leading with his knees in a tackle that forced Lote Tuqiri off the field three minutes before Jamie Soward's late field goal won the game for the Dragons.

Coach Tim Sheens refused to comment on the incident in his post-match press conference and his anger was vindicated by the NRL judiciary's decision on Sunday to hit Smith with a grade one dangerous contact charge.

"We just didn't seem to get any decisions go in our favour," centre Ayshford told AAP.

"We were on top out there in the second half and I honestly think had we held them for another five minutes or so, when we led 12-6, we would have won as they were running out of ideas.

"It really feels like the one that got away, but we will be back, we are a young side and this is just the start for us."

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2021 AAP

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