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Winning Tigers still seeking form

By David Beniuk 06/08/2010 05:38:49 PM Comments (0)

Eight wins from their last 10 games should make the Wests Tigers one of the form sides in the NRL.

But few are talking up the fourth-placed Tigers, who have virtually sealed their first finals berth since their famous 2005 premiership.

The players themselves described last Saturday's 24-22 win over Cronulla as "empty" and coach Tim Sheens has no illusions about what's pleased him most since a 50-10 humiliation by South Sydney in round 10.

"The wins, the points," Sheens said.

The SCG ambush was the turning point in the Tigers' season, which continues with the return clash against the Rabbitohs on Saturday night.

They headed into a camp to recover before their next game against Newcastle and emerged with a newfound ability to win ugly.

"We had some issues but we'd lost the three games previous and that was probably the bottom of the barrel for us this season," Sheens said.

"We talked about the Newcastle game, after Souths, we had to win and we had to win no matter how.

"We had to win ugly (or) win well, but we had to win and I've been happier with their attitude towards that."

But not necessarily happy with his side's form.

Only three of the eight wins have come against sides currently in the top eight, while the losses have both been heavy ones to premiership contenders.

St George Illawarra caned Sheens' men 34-10 and Manly convincingly defeated them 38-20 two weeks ago.

"We've played two heavyweights, and that's Manly and St George, and we didn't look like winning," Sheens said.

"I don't think we're that far away but we were certainly not in the game, so we still need to do a lot more before we start spruiking where we are."

Incredibly, Sheens will be aiming for his first victory over a John Lang-coached side since 1994, a streak of 16 matches.

Souths are two points outside the top eight and need to win and keep winning, starting with a first ever ANZ Stadium victory over the Tigers.

The underdog Rabbitohs are missing six of the big boppers from their much vaunted forward pack, a factor which should help the Tigers play the game their way.

"They've got a great squad there and they've still got their spine ... they were the guys who really carved us up last time we played them," Tigers captain Robbie Farah said.

"Obviously they'll miss a bit of their go-forward ... hopefully we can contain them up the middle which will give us a better look at their halves."

The Tigers have fullback Wade McKinnon (hamstring) and centre Blake Ayshford (hand) in doubt, while out-of-form Benji Marshall is set to retain the goalkicking duties.

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