FARAH SAYS TEAM’S MENTALITY HAS CHANGED
By Wayne Cousins
8/07/2010 5:39:29 PM
Wests Tigers Captain Robbie Farah says the team will continue to play grinding football if it means securing two vital competition points in their bid to grab a finals berth.
Speaking on the eve of the round 18 blockbuster against the Gold Coast Titans at Campbelltown Sports Stadium tomorrow night, Farah says the team is now more experienced in grinding the wins out instead of relying solely on their attacking flair.
“We are definitely a lot better this year than we have been in previous years. At times we haven’t been too pretty in what we have been doing but we have been getting away with the wins,’’ Farah said.
“I guess that is a sign of a good side as well. Hopefully we can start playing some good footy and can be even better.
“It does help when you have kind of got that cushion behind you in that you have won a few games already and you don’t have that pressure or burden of trying to win games to stay in reach of the eight.
“It is a different scenario and one that we are enjoying.
“We are more experienced and our mentality has changed. It has been documented that we haven’t been pretty of late.
“Some parts of our wins have been quite ugly to be honest but we are prepared to do that now whereas in the past, we have tried to win on the back of our attacking flair.
“At the moment, our attack hasn’t been the best part of our game but we have been hanging in there through our defence.
“We have to be better than what we have been in the last month. We have gradually got to improve going into the semis if we are going to be a chance this year.”
With Wests Tigers and the Gold Coast sitting on 22 points in third and fourth place respectively on the Telstra Premiership ladder, Farah is hoping a large crowd will be on hand to get behind the home team.
“It is a big game especially coming down towards the business end of the season. It is a crucial game but we are at Campbelltown, so hopefully that will be an advantage for us,’’ Farah said.
“Every game is important now in the run into the semi-finals. Every two points you can pick up, you deny the opposition two points as well.
“It is a pretty important game but in no means is it make or break. We are sitting in a pretty good position and every win you do get at this time of the year, it does make you a little bit more comfortable. A win would really cement our position in the top four.”
Farah said his forwards must stop the momentum of the Titans pack to help stop their captain and half-back Scott Prince. He added he was looking forward to taking on his former Tigers team-mates in Prince and forward Anthony Laffranchi.
“It is always good fun coming up against Princey and ‘Boof’ Laffranchi . They are two very close mates and it is always a good challenge,’’ Farah said.
“We know what they can do but it is another thing trying to stop it.
“Across the park we have to be good. Our forwards have to stop their momentum up the middle and if we can do that, then we will get a good look at what Princey is going to do.”
Farah admitted he and his team-mates were not going to use the disappointment of not being picked in the NSW side as extra motivation. Farah, lock Chris Heighington, prop Keith Galloway and centre Chris Lawrence were all touted as possible NSW players throughout the series.
Lawrence was the only Wests Tigers player called up to the Blues team after a late inclusion on Monday night as 18th man for Origin 3.
“The rep season is gone now. There is nothing we can do about it. There is point dwelling on it,’’ Farah insisted.
“ All we can do now is focus on our run into the semis and I’m sure come the first weekend in October, if we are lifting up that NRL trophy, I wouldn’t give two hoots or would the other guys about missing out on Origin this year.”
Gates open at 4.45pm at Campbelltown Sports Stadium in time for the Toyota Cup match kicking off at 5.20pm.
The NRL match kicks-off at 7.35pm.
Origin snub will boost us, says Farah
July 8, 2010 - 6:04PM
Robbie Farah believes winning the 2010 NRL premiership would be made all the sweeter for the Wests Tigers after their continual snubbing by NSW selectors.
Despite sitting in third spot on the ladder, the Tigers have not had a single player called into a struggling Blues side, and although he admits it hurts not be recognised, Farah called on his players to use it to their advantage.
“Although it does help not having those Origin disruptions, we would have loved to have a few players there,” Farah said.
"You go into Origin camp and come back with that experience and confidence and bring it back to club footy.
"But the rep season is gone, there is no point dwelling on it or feeling sorry for ourselves as there is no fourth Origin game to look for.
“All we can do is focus on our run into the semis and I am sure come the first week of October if we are lifting that NRL trophy, no one will give a hoot about missing out on Origin this year and that is what we desperately want to do.”
After playing twice for NSW in 2009, Farah was overlooked by selectors in favour of Michael Ennis this year.
And although he refused to join the critics in hammering Ennis for the brain-snap that led to Queensland’s match-turning try, Farah made no secret about his desire to return for the Blues.
“It hurts not being there, especially when you have been there before and you kind of play your own game watching it in your lounge room,” he said.
“I’d like to think I am a chance for next year. The series has gone this year but next year is a new series.”
The Tigers take on the fourth-placed Gold Coast on Friday at Campbelltown and although the skipper freely admits his side have been winning ugly in recent weeks, he makes no apologies for it.
“We are a lot better side this year than we have in previous years, and we have not been pretty in what we have been doing,” he said.
"But I guess that is the sign of a good side.
"Hopefully we can start playing some good footy and be even better, but that comes when you don’t have the burden or pressure of trying to win games to try stay in the eight and that is what we aspire to.
“We are a bit more experienced our mentality has changed it has been pretty well documented that our wins have been ugly, but we are prepared to do that.”
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Winning ugly beats losing, says Sheens
July 9, 2010
TIM SHEENS believes his side was not given enough credit for its gritty win last week, and will be more than happy with another ugly win tonight against Gold Coast.
The third- and fourth-placed sides play each other for the first time this year, and with a wet surface predicted at Campbelltown Stadium, Sheens was hesitant to predict razzle dazzle despite the pace of both teams.
‘‘Any win at this stage of the year is important, I don’t care how we get them,’’ Sheens said. ''We did play better than what we were given credit for. When we did finally get a penalty in the 70th minute, we gave ourselves a chance to get out of our own territory. Outside of that all we did was defend.
‘‘If that happens again, we can’t open the game up again. We managed to put a big score on the Warriors [at Campbelltown] earlier this season, but you don’t know what sort of game you’re going to get. We are trying to learn how to work hard in the conditions and when they are not conducive to open football, and not throw the fancy pass or run out of your own end.’’
The Titans are great front-runners, but not great at getting in front; they have led at half-time on only five occasions in their past 20 matches but have won all of those five contests. Sheens, however, dismissed statistics. ‘‘They don’t help you,’’ he said.
Titans forward Mark Minichiello said his side was confident with captain Scott Prince returning from injury and representative duo Ashley Harrison and Greg Bird passed fit to play. ‘‘Princey is our captain and a quality player, and the two Origin boys are going well for us, every game is important and we want to stay in the top four,’’ he said.
‘‘They are a good team, they play some expansive football and our defence is really going to have to be on song, they have plenty of good players.’’
Sheens said if there was any potential weakness in the Titans, it is that they will not have trained together often this week. An advantage for the Tigers has been their lack of Origin representatives.
Tonight will be a huge test for us……
#1 we aren’t playing well
#2 We’re missing Ellis
#3 we’re missing Lui
#4 the whole side is re-arranged again - people are playing out of position
#5 they have a very strong and smart hooker in Friend - who is having a great year
#6 they have Prince back - even if not at 100% can still choke you out of the game
#7 Their back row (Lafranchi,Minichello,Harrisson), are as good as any in the comp
#8 Greg Bird is on fire at the moment.
#9 Rogers the dual international is in the centers - he always plays well against us
#10 Their wingers, esp Gordon are very fast and get involved
#11 Their fullback Campbell, has the ability to cut any side to shreds at any given moment - mustn’t take our eyes off him.
#12 we have missed an oportunity to oppose their rookie right wing/center partnership with Lawrence and Tuqiri effectively weakening our sides scoring potential.
#13 Big bull Bailey at prop will have a go tonight as our props are underperforming at the moment - he’ll try to assert a bit of dominance
So all in all any win tonight, no matter how it comes, will be a bonus for us - pretty much what Sheens is saying…