Dreams off to a flying start for Tigers - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Dreams off to a flying start for Tigers

By David Beniuk and Steve Jancetic 20/03/2010 01:18:18 PM Comments (0)

It took one round for Wests Tigers and Sydney Roosters fans to begin dreaming of their sides ending long NRL finals droughts.

And it's taken only two for the clubs to find themselves in a bona fide Sunday afternoon blockbuster at the Sydney Football Stadium.

The Roosters' 36-10 upset of South Sydney and the Tigers' amazing comeback to beat Manly 26-22 were two of the gobsmacking results of the season's opening weekend.

On Sunday the two first-up winners are likely to run onto the ground they share in front of a bumper crowd boosted by Lote Tuqiri's impressive return on Monday night.

"I don't know about an all-time high but, from my point of view while I've been around, I reckon the footy that was played last week and the general feeling in footy at the moment is big," Roosters coach Brian Smith said.

The key combinations of the Tigers' Benji Marshall and Robbie Farah and the Roosters' Mitchell Pearce and Todd Carney are likely to be as thrilling as they are crucial to their side's chances.

A support cast of Robert Lui and Tim Moltzen for the Tigers and veteran Braith Anasta for the Roosters should ensure skill will be a major factor in the result.

Carney is wary of Marshall's more direct play in attack this year after the New Zealand captain's superb ball-playing display against the Sea Eagles.

"I watched a bit of stuff on him, he looks like he's getting back to his best," Carney said.

"When he's running across the field and he's got a lot of space he's very dangerous.

"I noticed he's taking the line on a lot more and he's a lot more dangerous when he does that - he and Farah and Moltzen's combination looked really good so we're going to have to tighten up that middle."

The reformed bad boy who played a blinder against Souths is under no illusion his move to fullback will be tested under instructions from wily Tigers boss Tim Sheens.

"I'll be ready for all the trick kicks and bombs and the players coming through," Carney said.

"There's going to be a lot of pressure but I've just got to concentrate on my game and hopefully I just do my job.

"The Tigers are a team that you have to be on (against), when they shift they shift, they're deep and they're coming (at you)."

Tuqiri's second game back after seven years in rugby union has taken on drawcard proportions after his first-touch try against Manly and his late charge down the left wing which helped rescue the match for the Tigers.

Smith isn't sure whether he'll be even better for the hit-out on Monday night.

"That's hard to say," he said.

"Some guys do and some guys, it takes a lot out of them and it takes them a couple of weeks to get going again."

Roosters prop Jason Ryles, named on the bench this week, is likely to start the match, Smith said.

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