Wests Tigers vow to be bullied no more - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Wests Tigers vow to be bullied no more

By Steve Jancetic 26/03/2009 08:35:47 PM Comments (0)

Wests Tigers days of being bullied by their NRL rivals appear over with coach Tim Sheens daring the Sydney Roosters to try run over the top of his side at the Sydney Football Stadium on Friday.

Speaking ahead of his side's final training run at their new home ground, Sheens said the Tigers were finally equipped to match it with the big boys of the competition after years of being trampled upon.

"He's picked a big bench so you're aware of what he's trying to do," Sheens said of Roosters coach Brad Fittler's tactics.

"He's going to come at us hard in the middle and work us over.

"We're happy enough with the size of the side, we're not being bullied around in any shape or form, but if you don't control the football it doesn't matter how big you are."

Even when the Tigers won the competition back in 2005, it was the dominance of their little men in Scott Prince, Benji Marshall and Robbie Farah which carried them to a maiden NRL title.

But the goalposts shifted after that grand final win in terms of changes to the way the ruck was refereed, Sheens' 'small-ball' no longer effective as evidenced by their three straight years without finals football.

So Sheens went out and got himself some size, and they don't come much bigger than English import Gareth Ellis, who will go head to head with Roosters juggernaut Willie Mason in what should be an enthralling duel on Friday night.

"I think Gareth's issue is to worry about himself and not worry about any particular player," Sheens said.

"I'm sure they'll clash at some stage, but I really want him to focus on what he does well and not so much controlling another player."

Ellis won't be out there on his own either, with the Tigers pack now so big, Todd Payten is packing down at lock.

It's a combination that has Farah convinced the Tigers can match it with any other side's forwards.

"In defence it's very comforting knowing you've got some size next to you," Farah said.

"We've got some big boys now, I think in the past I guess we've been noted as having a small pack, but I think that's an old wives' tale now, I don't think we can say that anymore."

Certainly Fittler was in little doubt as to the improved strength up the middle for the Tigers, but he said there was no way it would alter his style of play.

"We've been talking about how big their forward pack is now and I think our forward pack last week showed how we want to play our game," he said.

"It should be something to watch."

Both sides trained without incident on Thursday, but Fittler said he had made no decision yet on the final make-up of his bench.

As for the Tigers moving five of their home games to the Roosters' turf, Fittler was adamant just whose home ground it really was.

"They're renting," he said.

"This is our house."

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