Tigers must win to make NRL finals - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Tigers must win to make NRL finals

By Liam FitzGibbon 22/08/2008 02:39:58 PM Comments (0)

West Tigers are facing the painful prospect of their premiership hangover extending to a third year as they head into Saturday's season-decider against Manly.

The ANZ Stadium clash is do-or-die for the Tigers, who sit in 11th place amid a group of four teams that are two points outside the top eight.

If they can't muster a win over the second-placed Sea Eagles, it would almost guarantee it will be the third season they have failed to reach the finals since their famous premiership win in 2005.

They finished 11th in 2006, ninth last year and appear to be heading down the path of nearly-rans again this year.

In the past three years, the Tigers have shown flashes of the brilliance which saw them edge out North Queensland in the 2005 competition decider but their inconsistency has hampered any serious tilts at the finals.

Skipper Brett Hodgson said the Tigers were struggling to come to terms with why their form continued to be so erratic.

"We'd love to be a lot more consistent there's no doubt about that," Hodgson said.

"But I think if we had the answer as to why, we would've done it already and we'd be a lot higher up on the table.

"I think we're renowned for the fact we're going to try some things and things aren't going to for us all that time.

"We just need to have the strength of mind to know to keep going and to keep building away."

Tigers coach Tim Sheens this week stressed the need for his side to stay relaxed when they made mistakes or were put under pressure, something evidently missing in their 40-12 loss to Parramatta on Monday.

Hodgson agreed, saying the merger club was guilty of resorting to "touch football" at times.

"I think in the past we've made the mistake when things go against us we tend to try and play catch up footy and touch football rather than building the pressure and building a game again," Hodgson said.

"It's something we need to learn from and there' s no bigger test than this week.

"It's going to be a really tough test for us and we'll be able to see where we're at and if we're any chance of making this top eight."

Sheens has cut Ben Te'o from his five-man bench for the match but both sides have no fresh injury worries.

The Sea Eagles are aiming to get their end-of-season campaign back on track after losing three of their past four matches, though last year's runner up have denied they're in a form slump.

"We're looking for a big result this weekend," prop Jason King said.

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