Mateo key to stopping Eels: Sheens - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Mateo key to stopping Eels: Sheens

By Todd Balym 14/06/2008 12:07:58 PM Comments (0)

Coach Tim Sheens has called on the Wests Tigers to gang up on Parramatta star Feleti Mateo on Sunday insisting the Eels five-eighth is too dangerous to tackle one-on-one.

Mateo is enjoying some of his finest attacking form in recent weeks and looms at the Eels danger man for Sunday's mouth-watering NRL clash with the Wests Tigers at ANZ Stadium.

And Tigers coach Sheens, aware of the perceived defensive frailties in his side, wants his men to ensure Mateo isn't given the freedom to play his usual attacking game.

"(Mateo) is a big five-eighth. Hitting the edge of the ruck we have to be right on with our one-on-one tackles," said Sheens.

"And then if you go low he offloads and if you go high he will push you out of the way.

"We have to get numbers in to knock him down.

"He is going to make some in-roads but what our job is is to really limit him as much as possible."

The Tigers task has been made all the more difficult with hulking winger Taniela Tuiaki and prop Keith Galloway ruled out with injury, joining big forwards Ryan O'Hara, Todd Payten and Bryce Gibbs on the sidelines.

Captain Brett Hodgson agreed that limiting Mateo's opportunities was paramount to breaking Parramatta's stranglehold on the Tigers, the Eels winning the past six clashes between the two clubs.

"No doubt that he is one of their stars that when they click he is absolutely brilliant," said Hodgson.

"Playing with Feleti in the (NSW) City side I know what an unbelievable talent he is and we have to make sure that he is a priority for us to shut down.

"(Parramatta) have the type of side that can just be on at any time during the year.

"They have got class written all over them and if they do fire they are definitely a side that is going to be in contention for the title."

Victory for the Tigers would see them stretch their surge to four wins from their past five games and cement their place in the NRL top eight.

But even though they chalked up a 40-16 win over North Queensland last week and had earlier wins over Gold Coast and Newcastle, Tigers hooker Robbie Farah is adamant the 2005 premiers are still well off their best.

"I'd like to think there's still a lot of improvement left in us," he said.

"Parramatta are a bit of a bogey team for us, I've never beaten them in my first grade career.

"We know that they're confident playing us and we have to come out and match them.

"It's a good test for us this week against a team that on their day can beat any side in the competition."

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