Tigers keen to maintain NRL momentum - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Tigers keen to maintain NRL momentum

By Ben Horne 28/08/2010 01:02:39 PM Comments (0)

The NRL premiership Wests Tigers won in 2005 is too long ago to draw experience from, but coach Tim Sheens says his current team must learn one thing from that year leading into this finals series.

With two matches left in the regular season, Wests have the chance to cement a top-two spot and even claim the minor premiership should St George Illawarra fall over.

But Sheens remembers '05 all too well, when the high-flying Tigers dropped their final two matches and risked losing all their momentum leading into the finals.

As history shows, the Tigers turned their intensity on like a tap when it mattered most and were white hot in taking care of North Queensland, Brisbane, St George Illawarra and then the Cowboys again in the grand final.

But Sheens doesn't want to take the same risk again and has called on his side to close out their most impressive season since '05 with back to back wins, starting against Melbourne at Leichhardt Oval on Sunday.

"We're at where we were in '05, in other words I think we've got 13 wins and we're on 32 points which is where we finished. We lost our last two games in '05, we were lucky to pick up the momentum again in the first semi but you can't count on that," Sheens said.

"Talk of '05 is a long way off, it's nowhere near the same side and we've got a lot of work to do to get anywhere near a grand final.

"What we want to do though in our last two games is finish in better shape than we did back then and maintain a bit of momentum."

Sheens admits his side is down on big match experience after four straight years out of the finals.

But high-intensity wins over desperate Penrith and Parramatta in the past two weeks has the master coach confident about how his team is placed.

"I think we're happy at where we're at ... but we're not satisfied," he said.

"If you mean momentum being winning then it's the Titans (who are on a roll) but the rest of us I think are improving in little areas and we've been fairly solid in our last five games winning three out of five or something.

"We've been too long out, we haven't had year in year out experience in big games so we've got a fair bit to do to get ready for that.

"So win or lose, intensity is important this week to make sure we can stay at a level when it gets to playoffs, and not necessarily rise to that level."

At an all-but sold out Leichhardt Oval, the Tigers will start big favourites against Melbourne, but Sheens is wary of the wounded enemy, who despite playing for nothing, have proven they would have made the finals if they were vying for competition points.

"I think it will be the Melbourne we allow to turn up if we're not on our game and they sense it," he said.

"If they don't have to play hard to win then it's going to be a bonus for them, we've got to turn up to play."

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