Heighington hopes 200th a NRL finals boost
Ian McCullough AAP Sat, Aug 25, 2012 - 3:56 PM
Chris Heighington is hoping for a double celebration at the end of Sunday’s NRL clash with Sydney Roosters, when the Wests Tigers’ back-rower becomes the first player to reach 200 games for the joint venture.
The Tigers’ hopes of reaching the finals would be handed a huge blow should they lose to the Roosters, who will be marking Anthony Minichiello’s 250th game for the club.
A win would lift Tim Sheens’ side back into the top eight and Heighington admits he is concerned about the threat of a Roosters side, who have won five of the past six meetings between the teams.
“It’s kind of sneaked up on me, but it’s a proud moment for me and for my close family,” Heighington said.
“The Roosters are a good side and have a real good and big forward pack.”
“We played them at Leichhardt this year and they gave us a bit of a touch up and they always seem to save their best performances when they play us.”
Sheens’ men must also cope with the absence of talismanic skipper Robbie Farah, who is sidelined with a broken hand and Heighington admits it is a big blow to the side.
Farah sustained the break during last week’s gut-wrenching golden-point loss to Canterbury and played on through the pain.
He is slated to return for the first week of the finals and Heighington said that gives extra motivation to win at Allianz Stadium.
“Robbie is our captain and our leader and did well to play on last Friday,” he said.
“It is up to us now to win the game and give him a chance to play in the semis. Two weeks is not a long time to recover from a broken hand, but he is a classy player and has showed before he can play through injuries.”
Forward Adam Blair echoed Heighington’s sentiments about Farah’s loss but denied his absence would sound a death knell over the Tigers’ season.
However, the New Zealander said the team would need to taper their style to cope with the loss of the NSW hooker.
“We’ve got a couple of boys there who will step up and fill his position, but the key for us is to keep the gameplan real simple without him there,” Blair said.