Tigers relish getting into the NRL grind
May 22, 2012 - 5:19PM
Wests Tigers believe their four-game winning streak is a result of the NRL’s entertainers abandoning the flash and embracing the grind.
Back-rower Liam Fulton and utility Tom Humble say that a more defence-orientated game plan has helped turn their season around after a miserable five-game losing streak at the start of the year.
And while it isn’t what you might expect from the notoriously carefree Tigers team, Humble concedes it is the style of football that will carry them into the finals.
“When anyone hears the Wests Tigers they think flashy ball playing and trick shots and not really the grinding out with tough defence and the grinding wins,” Humble said on Tuesday.
“Teams like Melbourne and St George (Illawarra) do that.”
With one-point victories over Parramatta and the Gold Coast prior to last round’s gutsy two-point win over the Warriors, Humble believes the Tigers have unlocked the secret to winning ugly.
“We really worked hard and did grind that one out (against the Warriors),” he said.
"The grinding stuff has to come before the flashy stuff.
"The grinding part of our game is something we’ve been working on the last five or six weeks.
“To win a game like that (against the Warriors) is very rewarding.”
Fulton said it was the Tigers’ best performance of the season, and it came about because of a decision to focus on defence.
“The first five weeks wasn’t the greatest but the last month has been really good. We’ve really knuckled down,” he said.
"The way that we train, and the players that we have with Benji (Marshall) and the like, we train with a fair bit of flair and I suppose when we play we have a fair bit of flair.
"Sometimes it comes off, sometimes it doesn’t.
“I think we’ve really just got to concentrate on our defence. Our defence is going to win us games, we know we can attack.”
Humble also said the team’s forward pack deserved their fair share of credit for the form reversal on the field, which began with a 30-0 win over Penrith in round seven, after wearing much of the criticism earlier this year.
“Our big men were copping flak at the start of the year about being a little bit soft,” Humble said.
“That part of our game we’ve really turned around.”
“(After the Warriors game Sheens) was giving credit to our big boys in the middle. I think he’s right.”