Sheens wary of easy run to finals talk - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Sheens wary of easy run to finals talk

By Steve Jancetic 22/07/2009 01:36:11 PM Comments (0)

Don't count your chickens before they're hatched - that's the message from Wests Tigers coach Tim Sheens when he weighs up the relative merits of his side's run to the finals.

Back-to-back wins have left the Tigers within touching distance of the top eight, and with a friendly run home, they are considered good bets to bridge the four-point gap to eighth-placed Manly.

But despite only three of their last seven games being against sides currently in the top eight, Sheens was having nothing to do with talk of an easy run ahead of his side's clash against Canberra on Sunday.

"I don't start counting on what might or might not happen - if that happened then Parramatta should have been beaten by Melbourne last night," Sheens said on Tuesday.

"The biggest mistake you make is saying `well they're behind us, they're not in the top four, therefore that should be two points for us".

"In fact those games are the hardest games because most sides at the moment still give themselves a chance because they're desperate.

"You saw that with Parramatta, you saw that with Souths and you saw that with us - there's actually more urgency from those teams than those that are comfortably in first second or third spot."

Thirty points would seemingly assure a side of finals football, while 28 points could leave sides dependant on their for and against.

The Tigers will be assured of finals football with six wins from seven matches, while five wins will put them in the 28 point lottery.

South Sydney face a similar situation, though five of their last seven are against top eight sides.

For the rest of the teams still in with a mathematical chance - it's about winning.

Parramatta's shock win over Melbourne kept their finals flame flickering, the Eels and Warriors needing to win six from seven to finish on 29 points, which would be enough to nab a top eight spot.

But that may be easier said than done with both teams having managed back-to-back wins just once this year, five of the Warriors' remaining matches coming against teams currently in the eight compared to four for the Eels.

The team with the toughest run is without doubt North Queensland, who have five of their last seven against sides in the top eight plus a home game against rivals Brisbane, who are currently sitting ninth despite being tied with the Cowboys, Penrith and Manly on 22 competition points.

Cowboys coach Neil Henry admitted a loss to the Panthers on Saturday night could put his side's top eight hopes in jeopardy.

"It's a home game, we need to stay in touch," Henry said.

"We have to maintain our superior for and against because in the run to the finals it may decide a few places in the top eight."

Brisbane's health appears more vital than their run home, though they do face trips to Wollongong to face St George Illawarra and Canberra.

Melbourne's loss to the Eels cost them a chance to strengthen their grip on a top four spot, with fifth-placed Newcastle just one point behind.

Both sides have four games against other top eight sides, which could make their round 23 clash at EnergyAustralia Stadium pivotal.

The Bulldogs look set to push St George Illawarra all the way in the battle for the minor premiership, the Bulldogs with the easiest run home with just one game against a top eight side compared to two for the Dragons.

Gold Coast have just two games against side's currently in the finals cut-off, leaving them in a good position to secure their first playoff berth.

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