Coaching Insider: Round 2
Author Dan Talintyre Timestamp Fri 16 Mar 2018, 09:51 AM
Wests Tigers Coach Ivan Cleary says his side are looking forward to the great opportunity that exists this week as they take on the Storm at AAMI Park.
After a stunning first-up win over the Sydney Roosters, the challenge again goes up a notch for Cleary’s men as they take on the defending premiers in their first home game of the year — a fixture that also doubles as Billy Slater’s return from injury as well as his 300th career first-grade match.
With the Premiership trophy being presented to the crowd pre-game, Saturday’s game is certainly a tough ask for any team, and Cleary said the challenge was one that the team was well aware of.
“It’s the biggest challenge in football, taking on Melbourne in Melbourne, and it probably has been for a number of years,” Cleary said before training today. "It’s really not anything different in that respect.
"I think it’s a great opportunity to go down there and play the best team in a big game — a milestone game.
"It’s a good opportunity to see where we are and test ourselves.
“I think this is my 22nd game here and I don’t think we’ve been favourites once,” he added.
“We’re used to being outsiders and it really doesn’t make any difference to us.”
Saturday’s game comes as part of an intense first month for Wests Tigers, who face off against all of last year’s top four teams before a second game against the defending premiers — all inside five weeks.
But with one win under the belt already, Cleary said the team were rising to the challenge ahead of them.
“The draw we were given always had that look to it,” he said.
"For us, there’s more questions than answers at the moment. We answered a few last week with a good performance but it’s on again this week and we’re all looking forward to the challenge.
“We’ll just give it our best and see how we go.”