Fulton credits Folkes in Tigers win - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Fulton credits Folkes in Tigers win

By Ian McCullough 23/08/2010 06:18:07 PM Comments (0)

Wests Tigers utility Liam Fulton has credited Steve Folkes' involvement with the team as a key factor in their march towards a first NRL finals appearance since 2005.

The former Canterbury coach, who guided the Bulldogs to the 2004 premiership, joined the Tigers' fitness and conditioning team at the start of the season following a spell in a similar role with the West Indies cricket side.

The Tigers produced a gutsy performance in Sunday's epic 20-18 win over Parramatta, in one of the games of the season, and look almost certain to finish in the top four and book a home final.

Fulton said Folkes' influence was a huge factor in the team's second-half display, as the Tigers somehow held out a fast-finishing Parramatta side, who won the second-half penalty count 7-0, in front of a hostile home crowd.

"Folksy having been a first-grade coach knows the game inside out and is really good for us," Fulton told AAP.

"He knows everything about footy, works with us on defence as well as our conditioning. He is a jack of all trades and one of the reasons for our good season."

Fulton said veteran Tigers coach Tim Sheens, who told his players it was one their best displays since he joined in 2003, was adamant the side need to improve further if they are to secure a top-two finish.

"Sheensy told us he was very proud, but said it is not about one win," Fulton said.

"One good performance like that isn't going to win you a premiership. You have to build on it and better it.

"Our defence has been good recently, but on Sunday everyone put their bodies on the line and games like that are better than winning by 40 points. It was very satisfying.

"We play Melbourne next week and that is going to be very hard, but if we can get into the top two, get over the first finals hurdle, we get a week off and that gives you a huge advantage."

Fulton also revealed his mentor Mark O'Neill can be the team's secret weapon as they target a top-two finish.

He had just turned 21 when he was part of the Tigers side that won the 2005 premiership and said the presence of former skipper O'Neill, who made his last appearance for the club in the 30-16 grand final win over North Queensland, was crucial.

O'Neill, 35, is now part of the NRL's match review committee and also works in its education and welfare department but Fulton would love to see him spend time with young guns Andrew Fifita, Blake Ayshford and Robert Lui.

"It was great to have someone like Mark O'Neill around the camp in 2005. He gave the young kids like me, Robbie Farah, Bryce Gibbs and the others such great advice and was like a mentor," Fulton said.

"It would be great if it could happen this year, but I am not sure if it can.

"I am sure he would want to, but I guess it is just if he is available.

"I know that all the boys love him and if Mark was around he would lift the spirit of all the guys. Finals football is very different as the young boys will find out."

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