Tigers are better than 2005 premiers

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Tigers are better than 2005 premiers

* By David Riccio
* From: The Sunday Telegraph
* July 04, 2010 12:01AM

THEY have been overlooked by State of Origin selectors and dismissed by bookmakers.

But back-rower Chris Heighington has fired a warning to all Wests Tigers critics by declaring this year's team better than the 2005 premiers.

The Wests Tigers cemented third position on the NRL ladder with a come-from-behind 16-14 win over the Broncos on Friday night at Suncorp Stadium.

It might have been an ugly game - the Tigers waited until the 78th minute before snatching the valuable two points - but it proved they have the mettle to hang in there when it's tough.

"We had to fight our way back into the game and ended up coming away with a pretty solid win," Heighington told The Sunday Telegraph.

"That's what sometimes you have got to do. You can't always be fancy."

But despite their gritty win, the Wests Tigers remain $13 outsiders with TAB Sportsbet for the premiership.

Amazingly, the struggling Eels are rated $9 chances behind competition favourites the Dragons ($2.75).

Heighington said the Tigers cared little about what their knockers thought and instead showered the squad in rare praise.

The talented back-rower was just 23 when the Tigers produced a fairytale march to the premiership in 2005, beating the Cowboys in the decider.

After their ninth win of the season on Friday night, the Wests Tigers workhorse pointed to the wealth of talent and experience in the squad as the reason this year's team would overshadow the 2005 squad.

"All I can say is that we've probably got a better squad than what we did back then," Heighington said.

"I don't think we have a weak link in our team.

"We've got a really good future as well, with a lot of young fellas like Junior Moors and Andrew Fifita and Simon Dwyer who are coming on for us and doing a good job.

"And I think if you've got a really good interchange, you've got a pretty good chance in this competition.

"Over the years we haven't had that bench … that real good impact.

"But at the moment those young fellas are really doing a good job.

"And I think as you saw on Friday night [compared to five years ago] that extra first-grade experience is showing on the field.

"We're definitely a much more experienced team."

Former Balmain legend Steve Roach supported the claims by Heighington that the Tigers aren't getting the respect they deserve.

"When you've got blokes like [Robbie] Farah and Benji Marshall and the scores close enough, then you're always a chance of winning," Roach said. "They've got a world class player in the back row with [Gareth] Ellis, too, and you only need to get a bit of a sniff and you saw the ride they went on in 2005."

Roach showed his belief in the Tigers by suggesting they were the team that could trouble premiership heavyweights St George Illawarra.

"I think the Tigers, with their brand of football, are one of the only sides in the comp that worries St George," Roach said.

"All they need is the ball to stick and a bit of luck. I mean, last week [against the Dragons] they were in that game for 60 minutes.

"I think everyone in the competition will be worried about them. They're that style of side."
 

Gary_Bakerloo

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I agree with this article. The performance on Friday night was the best I have seen from the Wests Tigers since the Dragons semi of 2005.
 

innsaneink

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...ahead of you....
"We had to fight our way back into the game and ended up coming away with a pretty solid win," Heighington told The Sunday Telegraph.

Solid :laughing:

Maybe thats why he had to be prodded into joining in the team song when it became known the camera was on them
 

Sabre

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Heres what i think

**2005 2010**
1\. Brett Hodgson 1\. Wade McKinnon
2\. Daniel Fitzhenry 2\. Lote Tuqiri
3\. Shane Elford 3\. Blake Ayshford
4\. Paul Whatuira 4\. Chris Lawrence
5\. Pat Richards 5\. Beau Ryan
6\. Benji Marshall 6\. Benji Marshall
7\. Scott Prince 7\. Rob Lui
8\. Anthony Laffranchi 8\. Bryce Gibbs
9\. Robbie Farah 9\. Robbie Farah
10\. John Skandalis 10\. Keith Galloway
11\. Ben Galea 11\. Liam Fulton
12\. Mark O'Neill 12\. Gareth Ellis
13\. Dene Halatau 13\. Chris Heighington

14\. Liam Fulton 14\. Daniel Fitzhenry
15\. Chris Heighington 15\. Junior Moors
16\. Bryce Gibbs 16\. Simon Dwyer
17\. Todd Payten 17\. Andrew Fifita
\
\
green = Better Player
Red = worse player
Blue = equal

*Based on fom in respective year
*Bench adjusted for even comparison
 

tiger05

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I think we might have a better squad but we are not playing anywhere near as good as what we were in 05.

We are so far off being a threat in this comp it isn't funny.
 

helmesy

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This years team would be better than the 05 team if we had a halfback comparible with Scott Prince.

That's where the 05 team has the advantage.
 

hammertime

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@helmesy said:
This years team would be better than the 05 team if we had a halfback comparible with Scott Prince.

That's where the 05 team has the advantage.

….and we had a decent goal kicker in 05.

I think we can win this comp though if the team starts to gel like we did at the backend of last year.
 

benjibrotown

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Only real difference is Prince and Hodgson for mine, and due to those two players the 05 team was better..
 

NEDKELLY

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Heres what i think
>
2005 2010
1\. Brett Hodgson 1\. Wade McKinnon
2\. Daniel Fitzhenry 2\. Lote Tuqiri
3\. Shane Elford 3\. Blake Ayshford
4\. Paul Whatuira 4\. Chris Lawrence
5\. Pat Richards 5\. Beau Ryan
6\. Benji Marshall 6\. Benji Marshall
7\. Scott Prince 7\. Rob Lui
8\. Anthony Laffranchi 8\. Bryce Gibbs
9\. Robbie Farah 9\. Robbie Farah
10\. John Skandalis 10\. Keith Galloway
11\. Ben Galea 11\. Liam Fulton
12\. Mark O'Neill 12\. Gareth Ellis
13\. Dene Halatau 13\. Chris Heighington
>
14\. Liam Fulton 14\. Daniel Fitzhenry
15\. Chris Heighington 15\. Junior Moors
16\. Bryce Gibbs 16\. Simon Dwyer
17\. Todd Payten 17\. Andrew Fifita
\
\
green = Better Player
Red = worse player

With the exception of Gareth Ellis, Lote Tuquiri & Chris Lawrence I think the 2005 would give this current 2010 squad a touch-up! We had Hodgson who was incredible under the high ball, his pace was electric & he had Terry Lamb like back-up skills and kicked goals from everywhere!

Big Pat Richards was awesome, Laffranchi was playing incredible footy and Paul Whatuira was great in all aspects. (defence and attack). Ben Galea had a great season, Mark O'Neill and Skandalis were playing like men desperate to get a Premiership after their long careers and Heighnington was only 23 and playing great footy! As for Farah it was his first real year of 1st grade and oppositions underestimated his skills!

Let us not forget Benji Marshall of 2005 and for people who have forgotten what he could do and have forgotten his incredible side-step (we don't see it very much these days)please go and have a look at the the Best of the Tigers Highlight package from that year and you will be mesmerized by Marshall's skills!

It is a no contest and even Shane Elford was strong in defence and could find the try-line! For this side of 2010 as mentioned above I could only find a place for both Ellis and Lawrence and probably Lote Tuquiri.

No there is no comparison IMO.
 

Snake

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When this 2010 team even looks like playing like the 2005 team I might even consider it one position No7 we don't even have one ATM.The 2005 team would put 30 on this team in the 1st half… obviously the Tigers managment are paying the NSW ALP Spin doctors to get this rubbish out!
 

Gobbs

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The only way to back up such claims and prove such a thing is by winning the comp from a higher position than 4th. The defence has been pleasing of late. Wests have really turned their attitude around after the Souths debarcle, however it's the attack that is the major concern at present. The Tigers just don't look threatening of late. Good sides are able to defend their goal line when the pressure mounts but also have the capability of putting you to the sword when possession evens out. At present, Wests are struggling to build pressure, aren't going forward, struggle to complete sets and the overall kicking game stinks. Defence and the bounce of the ball has been the only two things that have kept the side 3rd on the competition ladder. Grinding, winning the arm wrestle, call it what you will, Rugby League is a simple game. Like most sports, you win by out scoring your opponents. Get your defence right and in order and then attack will come. Let's just hope this is the case over the next 8 or so weeks. If it is, well then there's reason to start getting a little bit excited. But history shows that disappointment could very well be the other feeling Wests Tigers fans could expect to feel come September….
 

izotope

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with moltzen/tuiaki we could be getting close to 05 level.. as it stands at the moment.. no
 

MGB

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We had a class halfback in 05, if you threw Prince into this lineup as of next week I think the bookies would hold us in much higher regard.
 

spaceman

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My thoughts is that is a pretty stupid article from Riccio…..we are comparing 2 totally differant football teams at the back end of 05 we had 5 or 6 players probably at the top of their game being, Hodgson,Richards,prince,skandalis,Laffranchi throw in a couple of solid players in Whatuira,Oneill and Elford as well as the raw excitement of Farah and Marshall we had a very well ballanced team at their peak.....even with our current 3rd place Im just not getting the same vibe from this current side that they will match the performances of that 05 side
spacemans thoughts
 

alien

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Our kicking game and goal kicking needs to improve before we can say that we are as good or better than what we were in 2005.
 

fergiefurr

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@izotope said:
with moltzen/tuiaki we could be getting close to 05 level.. as it stands at the moment.. no

exactly what I was going to say, if this team had tuiaki an moltz fully fit I think it would probably beat 05….unless it came down to goal kicking lol
 

Tigerdave

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If it got down to a close game, I think the current squad would be able to close the game out and win, but I don't think the '05 team would let it get that close anyway.

With Moltzen at halfback and TnT on the wing though, this team could beat '05
 

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