Wests Tigers on mission to convince - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Wests Tigers on mission to convince

David Beniuk 28/07/2011 04:25:28 PM Comments (0)

The Wests Tigers' two-game mission to convince the rugby league world - and, perhaps, themselves - they are the real deal begins with Friday night's NRL clash with Manly.

The inconsistent Tigers have two straight for the third time in 2011, but are yet to notch three consecutive victories this season.

Highly rated when the campaign kicked off, but ravaged by injury since, the Tigers take on premiership high-flyers the Sea Eagles and St George Illawarra in what could prove to be two season-defining weeks.

They head to Bluetongue Stadium in seventh position and desperate to cling on to their precarious place in the top eight.

"I'm not worrying about where we finish just yet, it's about finishing in the eight," coach Tim Sheens said on Thursday.

"Where we finish and what will be is six weeks away."

Should the Tigers make the finals, it's certain they will then be facing a crack at the title from the bottom half of the top eight.

Priority one may be clawing their way into the playoffs but Sheens said ensuring he has a healthy enough side to make the most of a September appearance would be priority two.

"You need to go in with a full complement of players," Sheens said.

"Our main aim is to try and build that over the next six weeks, try and get everyone fit and on the park and playing well.

"And at the same time win enough games to make sure we get there because there's a logjam where we are not far behind us.

"A side at eighth has beaten first a couple of times in recent years because the side at eighth comes in with a full complement of player and plays well enough.

"You just don't know those things six weeks out."

Second-placed Manly have won nine of their past 10 games and Sheens said they deserved to be spoken of in the same breath as competition favourites Melbourne and St George Illawarra.

A huge crowd is expected in Gosford with the match throwing the tasty match-ups between New Zealand team-mates Benji Marshall and Kieran Foran, and young halfbacks Robert Lui and Daly Cherry-Evans.

The Sea Eagles admitted this week that tensions still simmer between the silvertails and fibros after fireworks in recent clashes.

Sheens described the old rivalry as "long gone", despite taking his side to Wests old ground Lidcombe Oval a few seasons back to soak up the ambience.

"There's nothing like that used for today's team, that's long ago," he said.

"Those sorts of things are well and truly behind this club, let alone these players who've got no recollection of any of that sort of thing."

Manly have won six of the past eight games between the sides and have never scored less than 28 points in seven games at Bluetongue.

The Tigers have won three of their past four in Gosford.

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