Wests Tigers five-eighth Tuimoala Lolohea was amazed with his maiden Leichhardt Oval experience as his side roared back to a stunning victory over the Sea Eagles.
“It was amazing — probably close to the best win in my career so far,” Lolohea enthused.
"The way we did it was something special. Being down at half-time and everyone writing us off except ourselves and the crowd, and fighting through to the 80th minute to get the win.
"The crowd was amazing. They lifted us a lot.
"I’ve heard so much about a Sunday afternoon crowd at Leichhardt Oval and to experience it was just the best feeling — it definitely went past and beyond all my expectations.
“When we started to come back in the game and were scoring those tries, the crowd were on their feet and I could hear them — they were amazing and I’m really thankful for the support.”
Wests Tigers prop forward Tim Grant says while his side might not be able to make the finals series in 2017, the final month of football won’t simply be in vain.
Part of a stirring come-from-behind victory over the Sea Eagles at Leichhardt Oval on Sunday, Grant said the entire squad was determined to end the year playing the best footy they can.
“For us, I don’t think these wins are all for nothing,” Grant emphasised.
"It’s pretty well-documented we’ve had a tough season with the coaching change.
"But our fans and sponsors have stuck really loyal,
"So for us to play for them is a massive thing for us.
"It’s about pride in the jersey and doing the job we’re here do to.
"I don’t think we’re clocking off — it’s week-by-week and we’re trying to return to the favour to the fans for sticking loyal and giving them something to look forward to over the summer.
“We haven’t really been down here; the whole season we’ve been full of energy,” he added.
“But it’s definitely good to get a reward like that win to help end the year strong.”
Wests Tigers centre Kevin Naiqama can feel the team really coming in to it’s own as they look to end a disappointing 2017 regular season with a strong run of form.
With three wins and three tight losses from their past six games, Naiqama said the team had definitely turned the page with the belief and feel within the squad spurring the players on to a famous come-from-behind victory over the Sea Eagles last Sunday afternoon.
“Our performances have been building the last couple of weeks,” he said.
"I think with the transitions we had, we struggled to find our feet as a team a bit early on. With players leaving and coming in, and a new coach coming in, it wasn’t the ideal start.
"But I think we’re really starting to come in to our own over the back end of the year.
"I think the key is for us now to keep building over the last three games of the year.
“We just want to keep looking like a team.”
After a tough season, Naiqama said it was important for the team to end the season with their heads held high, repaying the fans and Members for their unwavering support.
“I think we showed that on the weekend that we want to finish the year strong,” he said.
"We obviously can’t make the finals but the boys are still there fighting for each other.
"We could have easily thrown in the towel down 20-6, but the boys love turning up — we’ve got a great environment — and the boys just want to do their best for the rest of the year.
"The fans deserve us to play like that.
“They’ve always been here supporting us despite the year we’ve gone through and experienced, so for them to turn up on Sunday the way they did was massive for us and we noticed it. It was important that we helped repay them for that faith in us.”
Wests Tigers forward Sauaso Sue will play his 99th NRL game for the Club this Saturday afternoon when his side takes on the Sydney Roosters at Allianz Stadium.
The powerful but versatile forward will hope to chalk up Game #100 the following Friday night against the North Queensland Cowboys at Campbelltown Sports Stadium — a local ground for the Wests junior — and says he can see how his game has grown over the years.
“Hopefully no suspensions or injuries this week,” Sue laughed.
"It’s massive for me — I still remember my first game like it was yesterday.
"I cherish every moment I get to put on this jumper and live my dream.
"It’s definitely not something I take for granted; it’s massive for me and my family.
"I’m just learning heaps, and am still learning today as much as I was with my first game.
“There’s always improvements and that’s what I want to keep doing.”
Wests Tigers Head Coach Ivan Cleary spoke to the media today as his side looks for back-to-back wins when they take on the Sydney Roosters tomorrow afternoon.
After a strong last start win over the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles, Cleary said the team was in high spirits and full of confidence despite the end of the regular season drawing near.
“The spirits are definitely a little bit higher this week,” he enthused.
"It’s always good to get not just a win, but a good comeback win like that.
"It was a good day for us last week and we’re just looking to build on it now with a tough game tomorrow night.
“We’ve had a couple of wins where we’ve won by a bit, but to win a tight one like that with Manly to get across the line was a bit of relief and had given us a bit of momentum.”
Clearly stated that the certainty of players’ futures had changed the teams’ composure and had definitely aided in ensuring a better performance from the team as a whole.
“It was completely unsettled for a long time but I think everyone just understands their role and place in the organisation," he said. "Whether they’re staying or going… it’s just been more settled and their performance is improving because of it.
“The guys have been working hard at their games and working hard as a group, trying to get that chemistry going.”
Moving on to Saturday’s clash against an in-form Roosters side, Cleary said his side were certainly up for the test and ready to rise up to the occasion ahead of them.
“They’re a pretty powerful team and they’ve had a good consistent season,” he said.
“It’s just a good opportunity for us to go there in some decent form.
“As I said it’s a good test for us — to give them a bit of trouble.
“We just need to put a pressure on them."
“I think the main thing for us is to play well and compete and to try and win games," he added.
“That’s normally a good enough reason to turn up, train hard and compete hard.”
Edit: Forgot Lolo’s presser.