Wests Tigers: The run home…
Paul Johnson NRL.com Wed, 22 Jul 2009 16:43:00
The erratic Tigers might just be on their way to a 2005 like run at the finals and possibly the premiership, that is if they play every game like they did last week against the Cowboys.
The Tigers are actually so unpredictable it may just be possible. Few can deny they have points in them (6th in the NRL for points scored) and with Robbie Farah and Benji Marshall leading from the front, the rest may just have to follow.
Tim Moltzen has proven himself to be a player of the future and looks to be a perfect match for Benji in the halves. Taniela Tuiaki is killing it out on the wing and his combination with Chris Lawrence is one of the NRL’s most effective three quarter duos, yielding 21 tries and 25 line breaks. Blake Ayshford is developing nicely and Gareth Ellis, along with John Skandalis, have added some real starch to the forward pack - so much so they are almost covering for Chris Heighington.
The Run home: Raiders (A), Sea Eagles (H), Roosters (A), Sharks (A), Eels (H), Titans (A), Bulldogs (H)
With a reasonable run home, the Tigers can certainly make a play for a top eight spot. If they're fair-dinkum contenders, they'll prove it this week by beating Canberra in Canberra.
If they can bag those two points, their season could come down to a pivotal clash with the defending Premiers (the Tigers haven’t beaten Manly in their last five battles). If they can knock Manly off, confidence will grow and the sky becomes the limit. (Yes, there are plenty of 'ifs', but such is their current predicament).
Players to Watch:
Taniela Tuiaki – Tuiaki looks more menacing with every gold tooth he acquires, he even scores more tries and as the NRL’s leading try scorer heading into the Glory Bound Rounds we would be remiss not to mention the powerful Tigers winger.
Tuiaki has been monstering the opposition all season long and doesn’t look like letting up anytime soon. His immense size and strength make him hard for anyone to contain and Tuiaki in full flight is a sight to both fear and behold.
Benji Marshall – If Tuiaki is the brawns, then Marshall is the brains. The undoubtedly gifted playmaker has been given a free reign to weave his magic this year and it’s paying dividends as he creates chance after chance for his team. At times his play has simply been inspired and he is using every trick he knows to spark something for his team - a fact reflected in his top ranking for try-assists.
Predicted finish: 11th
Stats have meant nothing this year, teams who have has great records against teams (e.g. Parra over us) have been loosing and I am certain that what people thought the top 8 (even the whole ladder) would look like at the end of the season back before round 1 will be tearing those lists up right now.
losing those close game will come back and haunt wests-tigers, as it has done over many seasons :imp: .
losing six in a row, really wrecked any chance of comfortably finishing in top 8.
Nothing would give me greater delight than seeing wests-tigers finish in top 8.
can't predict the future, if they are good enough they will.