Cover defence: Will Hopoate bats the ball clear from Corey Thompson.
Photo: NRL Photos
Speaking on Channel Nine before the game, Phil Gould revealed he would not stand in the way of his Panthers playmaker Nathan Cleary linking with the Tigers and his father, coach Ivan Cleary, and even had an ”agreement” in place.
It remains to be seen if Gould will cut the NSW Origin halfback loose for 2018 given he still has a year to run on his deal at the foot of the mountains.
Ivan certainly could have done with his boy against the Dogs as they struggled to mount any serious attack when the game was there for the taking against a tiring opposition in the final 20 minutes.
“Ivan is a father who wants to coach his son, we all understand that, and Nathan is a son who wants to play for his father, and we all understand that,” Gould said.
“I believe it will happen, and I would like to see it happen one day.
“But the decision right now is in Nathan’s hands. Neither his father nor I [are] putting pressure on him. He will make that decision at the end of the year.
“Until Nathan comes knocking on my door, and not me knocking on his door, and says, ‘This is what I want do to’ … I have an agreement with Nathan and if he wakes up one day and says, ‘Today I want to go and play with my dad, let’s make it happen’, I’ve got no problem with him going to play with his father whatsoever.
“He’ll make that decision in November, and whatever he decides I’ll be 1000 per cent behind it.”
Slowed down: Benji Marshall needs some help to wrap up Josh Morris.
A win would have kept the Tigers in the finals race and just two points adrift of Penrith and the New Zealand Warriors overnight.
But they almost looked out of puff after the two big efforts of the previous weeks.
Canterbury’s Kerrod Holland bagged a try-scoring double while young Lachlan Lewis again reminded Dogs fans why he is a player of the future.
Wally Lewis’ nephew somehow got back to his feet after a monster hit from Ben Matulino, and stopped a Luke Brooks grubber that could have led to a second Tigers try, to set up a thrilling final 10 minutes.
Moses Mbye tried hard against his former club but was kept relatively quiet.
Canterbury’s best chances in the first half came via a few Lewis bombs that targeted Brett Morris’ wing, while the Tigers focusedÂ their attack at Holland and Reimis Smith.
While their defence was solid for the most part, the Tigers lacked energy with the ball.
Canterbury can prove some nuisanceÂ value for Wayne Bennett’s Brisbane Broncos next Thursday night, while the Tigers can only hope for the best when they hit the road for games against Newcastle and then Canberra.
A paltry crowd of 9865 watched the two popular Sydney clubs, which was nothing compared to the numbers singer Celine Dion pulled in across the road for a concert.
Christian covers rugby league for The Sydney Morning Herald.
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