Tigers vow to end finals drought - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Tigers vow to end finals drought

By Todd Balym 07/02/2009 11:08:44 AM Comments (0)

Wests Tigers will sacrifice razzle dazzle for results in 2009 with utility Dene Halatau vowing a "back to basics" style to end their three-year finals drought.

As the Tigers prepare to face South Sydney in Sunday's NRL trial at Redfern Oval, Halatau revealed the Tigers were going old school with their game plan and looking to add polish and cut back on the flair to improve consistency.

The flamboyancy that won the Tigers the 2005 premiership will be shelved in 2009 after three consecutive years of failing to make the finals.

"We've definitely been rocks or diamonds at different stages of the last three years," said Halatau.

"Your goal as a first grader and as a team is to find consistency. Look at teams like Melbourne and Manly for the past two or three years have been very consistent.

"We want to develop that within our team. We want to have that culture where every game we play teams are very wary of us.

"I know teams are worried about our attack sometimes but they know within the first 20 minutes which team is going to turn up and that is something we want to rectify which is why we've gone back to basics.

"We've pretty much simplified (our game plan) for the first few weeks.

"It's the time of year when mistakes are made ... we're trying to keep it as simple as possible and nail down the basics."

Halatau will fill in at hooker against the Rabbitohs on Sunday with captain Robbie Farah rested, while Benji Marshall will start in his new permanent position at halfback and Great Britain Test star Gareth Ellis will make his club debut.

The Tigers are near full-strength for the `members only' clash and should dominate the early stages as the Rabbitohs have rested most of their first grade stars for young up and comers.

Even though many are tipping a lopsided contest Halatau said the Tigers wouldn't be too concerned if they didn't run riot over the young Bunnies in the opening half.

"It's not so much about the result in these early trial matches," he said.

"I don't think there's going to be confidence won or lost, it's more of the nervousness of getting that first game out of the way.

"We'll approach the game trying to keep it as simple as possible and if we execute that is what we'll look at when we come off the field."

Sunday's game will be played in four 20 minute quarters to help combat the near 40 degrees celsius temperatures expected in Sydney.

While the players are relatively acclimatised to such conditions after a torrid summer pre-season, Tigers coach Tim Sheens joked their British recruit Ellis was fearing Australia's oppressive heat.

"The first part of the NRL season is hot so we may as well get used to it," said Sheens of the conditions.

"The only one panicking is Gareth, who thinks he might just suffer from sunstroke or something.

"It is only two 20 minute quarters (of game time) for most of them, so I don't think it is going to stress them out any great deal."

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