Wests Tigers Head Coach Michael Maguire says his side will take plenty from their thrashing of the Newcastle Knights on Saturday as they look to keep their finals hopes alive.
Needing to win to keep their top eight aspirations in tact, Wests Tigers raced out of the blocks to post their biggest half-time lead in over a decade before going on with the job to confirm a 46-4 victory in front of an 11,000 strong crowd at Campbelltown Sports Stadium.
While pleased with the victory, Maguire was quick to shift his focus to next week’s clash against the St. George-Illawarra Dragons at the Sydney Cricket Ground — a result that could see Wests Tigers move back inside the top eight.
“I’ve been talking about building pressure all year and they were able to do that tonight so we’ll definitely take a bit out of that one,” Maguire said.
“The boys started the game with the right mindset.
“We weren’t sure what Newcastle were going to bring but the one thing we can control is what we’re doing, and the players did it tonight.
2019 Match Highlights: Rd.23, Wests Tigers vs. Knights
“We need to do the exact same thing again next week, because the situation we’re in demands it.”
Josh Reynolds’ return to first-grade was delayed for the first 31 minutes of the game following a late switch that saw Benji Marshall handle most of the hooking duties — allowing Reynolds to settle in the contest late on and steer the side home.
Maguire was full of praise for the former Origin playmaker after forced to do it the hard way in earning his way back in to the first-grade side.
“It really pleased me to have Josh there tonight,” Maguire emphasised.
"The way he’s carried himself through all the external noise this year — he’s been very professional about that.
“We’ve spoke a lot right throughout the season; he’s had some tough times over the last two years so to see him get out there and play with the boys was great.
“His first touch was a run and he jumped straight in to it.”
Currently sitting in ninth position, Wests Tigers will again head in to next week’s clash against the Dragons knowing that anything other than a win will likely end their hopes at finals football.
Press Conference: NRL Round 23
While not an ideal position to be in, Maguire noted that it did make the mentality easy to lock down, however.
“I want to win every game,” he stated.
"We need to make sure of it again because this week is an important week for us.
“Everyone knows the situation we’re in — the players do, and they showed there tonight what it means to them.
“Everyone knows the situation we’re in… and they showed there tonight what it means to them.
"They’ve got to do it again now this week.
“We’re not satisfied and neither are they. That says a lot for us a playing group with how much they care and what they want to achieve here.”
I’d look like that if it was an 8 instead of a 9…