The great Southern Inn Eden Tigers continued their drive towards the group 16 finals series with a solid 26-point win over Tathra last weekend.
Although the plucky Tathra side managed to stay in touch with the Tigers when enjoying a strong wind at their backs during the first half, the class and depth of the Eden side had them in ascendency.
The game began with Eden on the attack early and saw hooker Matt Evelyn go for a darting run which almost saw him score, but the Tathra side were deemed offside and from the penalty Dylan Fletcher provided classy lead up work to put Ian Smith over for the first try, which he converted to give Eden an early lead.
Shortly after it was deja vu as Tathra received three consecutive penalties to put enormous pressure on the Tigers defence, but the inevitable try came when Scott Barton slipped through from dummy half to score and convert, levelling the scores.
Early exchanges featured heavy defence from Neil Baker, Ben Holding and Smith, while big Josh Cochrane was inflicting some damage in defence for the Eagles.
Tathra were frustrating the Eden attack by holding down the tackled players and slowing down the play the ball, a tactic the referee seemed to endorse, and the tactic appeared to be working as Tathra scored next through Josh Sheperdson to take a 10-6 lead.
Joe Stewart was also providing some effective defence for the Tigers, and when Tathra lost the ball in one of Joe’s great hits, the Tigers went back on the attack and it appeared Evelyn had scored again, only to have the try disallowed for a pass off the ground by an Eden player on his knees.
Eden were not to be denied, however, and after a great break by Baker and a beautifully controlled kick through, Corey Stewart scored to put the Tigers back in the lead 12-10.
Ian McBain and Nat Rodahl made welcome returns to the squad and made their presence felt in attack and defence, and when Billy Michelin put on a characteristic burst through the defence Eden received a penalty and Smith scored his second out wide to give the Tigers a 16- 10 lead at the break, and with the prospect of a strong breeze behind them.
The second half began poorly for the visitors with the kick-off out on the full. From the ensuing penalty Tathra’s Arthur Coffee, who played well for the Eagles in both games, scored a simple try, and after the conversion the scores were locked at 16 all.
The big Eden forwards were beginning to dominate the centre of the field and make good yards, and after a penalty, a repeat set and another restart the Tigers scored when Joe Stewart weaved his way through the defence to score a classy try and put the Tigers in the lead again at 22-16.
From the kick-off Eden went back on the attack and appeared to have scored again but the try was disallowed due to offside play.
The following stanza of play was somewhat confusing as Tathra appeared to be given seven tackles, then the ball was touched by a Tiger and they received another set and duly scored to level the scores at 22-22.
The Tathra side seemed to tire fairly rapidly from this point in the game and the Tigers began scoring almost at will.
Ian McBain scored the next try, then set up the next try with good support work from Jai Tinson to put fullback Fletcher over.
When Tathra did get the ball Eden was making them regret it with Reece Lazenby and Danny Smalley showing no mercy with some solid hits. McBain scored his second shortly after and looked very good in everything he did, which adds an extra dimension to the Tigers attack.
Eden’s perpetual motion man Dylan Wheeler was rewarded for another Duracell effort with a late try before Michelin and Holding were involved in good lead up work to put Greg Nicholson in for a well-deserved try and complete the scoring with the final result being Eden 48 Tathra 22.
Captain coach Leigh Hennessy again led the side very well and made a significant impact on the game. The Eden side are playing a very controlled brand of football and will look to continue their form with matches against Narooma coming up over the next two weeks. Tigger