‘Spiritual home’ success key for Tigers
Sun 13 Mar, 2016, 12:00pm
By Martin Gabor, National Correspondent, NRL.com
With four of their first seven games at either Leichhardt Oval or Campbelltown Stadium, the Tigers are fully aware they need to turn around the recent poor record at their ‘spiritual homes’ if they want to play finals football.
The venues used to be a fortress for the 2005 premiers, but in recent times, they have been anything but. The Tigers have managed just two wins from their past eight clashes at Leichhardt Oval, while the record at Campbelltown is slightly better, winning four from eight over the past two seasons.
Having banked a Round One win against the Warriors, Chris Lawrence wants his side to emulate that performance when the Tigers face Manly at Leichhardt in Monday Night Football in front of what he hopes will be a bumper crowd.
The last time these two sides met in Sydney’s inner-west was Round 5, 2014, with the joint-venture side running out comfortable 34-18 winners against their more fancied rivals.
“We’re going to do everything we possibly can to start strong and to have those home ground advantages early on is definitely going to help,” Lawrence said.
“In saying that, it’ll only help if the fans turn up. So hopefully they come along and support us. We’ll be doing everything we can during the week and on the field to get those wins, and if the fans are there, they’ll give us that extra boost we need.”
Lawrence says the crowd support at Campbelltown in Round 1 was like having a 14th man on the field, and believes it helped his side hang on for the eight-point win against the Warriors.
“The crowd was sensational. It was the best crowd we’ve had there for a year or two. It was really great to see the crowd get behind us in Round One,” the back-rower said.
"It was almost like an afternoon game with the heat. And at the back end of the game when the Warriors started coming back, I definitely think the crowd helped us to turn that momentum in the last 10 minutes to help us hold on.
“I love both Leichhardt and Campbelltown and I’m looking forward to getting back there on Monday night.”
New recruit Tim Grant was one of the Tigers’ best against the Warriors in a dominant display up front alongside skipper Aaron Woods.
After tasting success in his first NRL game in Tigers colours, the former Panther and Rabbitoh is looking forward to stepping out on what his teammates have told him is sacred turf.
“I’ve played there against the Tigers but never for the Tigers. Some of the boys say it’s the eighth wonder of the world so I can’t wait. It’ll be awesome.”