No fears for Tigers over horror NRL draw
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The Wests Tigers are continuing to thumb their noses at a horror NRL draw, delivering them meetings with the top-four contenders from last season to open this year.
Many expected the Tigers could be winless after the opening five rounds, having to take on the big guns including two matches against defending premiers Melbourne.
But having travelled south and knocked over the Storm in a 10-8 thriller on Saturday night at AAMI Park, after an opening-round one win over the Sydney Roosters, they have no fears about what’s to follow.
“There was a lot of talk about our draw when it came out, playing the top four from last year in the first five weeks, because we’ve got the Storm again in three weeks’ time,” said coach Ivan Cleary.
"We looked at it like it was an opportunity to build some confidence, regardless of the results, and we’ve been able to do that and get the results.
“We definitely have got a lot of improvement in us but, early on in the season, you’re never really at your best in your attack … and we’ve played two of the best-defensive teams in the comp.”
The Tigers can add their name to that list after a very Storm-like defensive display.
They frustrated the premiers with their water-tight goal-line defence, only allowing the Storm to cross in the 64th minute while prop Ben Matulino was in the sin-bin.
Veteran Benji Marshall again starred for the Tigers, organising their attack and troubling the Storm with his kicking game.
Cleary said first-choice five-eighth Josh Reynolds was still battling a hamstring injury and wouldn’t be available for their Friday night game against Brisbane.
He said he wasn’t sure what he would do with Marshall when Reynolds returned.
“We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,” the coach said.