Tigers ready to pounce on Warriors - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Tigers ready to pounce on Warriors

By Todd Balym 28/06/2008 12:09:46 PM Comments (0)

Wests Tigers coach Tim Sheens says his side's season has reached a crucial juncture and Sunday's NRL clash with the New Zealand Warriors will heavily impact on the fortunes of both clubs.

The Tigers have dropped three of their past four games to fall out of the top eight and back into 12th position while the Warriors are riding a three-game losing streak to sit well back in 13th place.

A loss for either side at Leichhardt Oval would spell serious danger to their NRL finals ambitions and Sheens knows just how important this game is to the injury-depleted Tigers.

"We need this win as much as we have needed any win," said Sheens.

"Our last game at Leichhardt was a good game against the then competition front runners the Titans and we won and it's very important we get back in that mode."

While the Tigers sit just one win outside the top eight, Sunday's clash is far more critical to the Warriors' finals hopes as they sit two games behind the Tigers and have a difficult run home.

"We think we can still make it," said New Zealand coach Ivan Cleary.

"Obviously things are going to have to change. We have to start winning some games.

"But the last couple of weeks, while being far from perfect, have shown signs, particularly defensively, that we're starting to set a bit of a platform."

The Warriors will be without three of their best players this week with Queensland Origin stars Steve Price and Brent Tate in team camp while winger Manu Vatuvei is out injured yet again.

But the Tigers have their own concerns with the injury crisis gripping their forward pack worsening this week with backrower Corey Payne ruled out with a shoulder injury to join Danny Galea, Keith Galloway, Ryan O'Hara and Todd Payten on the sidelines.

The lack of size up front is a concern for the Tigers as they prepare to face the Warriors forward pack inspired by veteran Kiwi Test prop Ruben Wiki who is celebrating his 300th NRL appearance.

Wiki started his career 15 years ago when he debuted for Canberra, a side then coached by Sheens.

Sheens said he would be one of the first to congratulate Wiki on his outstanding career, which includes 55 Tests for the Kiwis, but is a hoping his milestone ends in misery.

"I don't care how many guys are playing how many games out there, it's our attitude and what we do that's important," said Sheens.

"Our game is revolved around us needing to win.

"It's a real achievement (for Wiki) and considering his Test career it's a fantastic achievement.

"His first game was at Leichhardt in the under 23s and he got sent off. I'm quite happy for him to get sent off as long as he does not do too much damage."

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