Roosters' dominance a curse: Sheens - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Roosters' dominance a curse: Sheens

By David Beniuk 10/09/2010 06:18:43 PM Comments (0)

Wests Tigers coach Tim Sheens has boldly declared the Sydney Roosters' three wins over his side this year could make opposite number Brian Smith's job tougher for Saturday's NRL qualifying final.

Ramping up the psychological battle ahead of the Sydney Football Stadium showdown, Sheens said motivation would be a bigger problem for fellow veteran Smith's side than his own.

The Roosters downed the Tigers 28-10 in the Foundation Cup trial in February before cleaning them up 44-32 at the SFS in round two and squeaking home 12-8 at Campbelltown in round eight.

"I think it would be more of a concern for Brian than for me, that just means we're going to turn up," Sheens said on Friday.

"What he'll be worried about is will his team turn up."

With collectively more than 1,100 first grade games under their belts, Sheens and Smith will do well to surprise each other in what is shaping as a finals blockbuster to be played in front of more than 35,000 fans.

The Tigers boss is confident he knows how his rival will approach the game, even taking a swipe at Smith's habit of playing ducks and drakes in naming his side.

Smith this week named an extended seven-man bench for the potential elimination play-off.

"Brian's named a squad of hundreds so you won't know until just before game-time," Sheens said.

"Same usual thing, that's fine, I'm not particularly focused on his side.

"I know pretty much where they'll play and how they've been playing so that's all we can do."

The pre-game barbs came as no surprise to veteran Roosters prop Jason Ryles.

"The mind games are well and truly underway now," he said.

"Definitely we take a bit of confidence out of (the two wins) but it's a whole new ball game now."

But Ryles agreed Smith wouldn't be producing a new bag of tricks.

"The key to going into the finals is keeping everything as normal as possible and just sort of running off the excitement of finally getting here," he said.

"So he hasn't changed too much at all, it's just mainly concentrating on limiting their attack."

He said Smith's statement earlier this week that he had as good a chance of claiming his first premiership as with any previous club had given the Roosters, who collected the wooden spoon last year, a confidence boost.

"We knew that he thought that right throughout the season and he sort of emphasised hard work as far as getting us to this stage," Ryles said.

"He's got a hundred per cent belief in our guys to go out there and perform well."

Like Smith, Sheens will not finalise his match-day 17 until an our before kick-off, with fullback Wade McKinnon (hamstring) and prop Bryce Gibbs (knee) still in doubt.

"I think Bryce will be right, Wade's probably doubtful ... but I'm giving him until the last minute," Sheens said.

He said the club was entitled to celebrate its first finals berth since the premiership year of 2005.

"We haven't been here for a while so we've achieved more than what probably people thought we could by finishing third," he said.

"So everything else from here is just a bonus."

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