THE alarm bells are ringing and Wests Tigers coach Tim Sheens hopes his players have been listening ahead of tomorrow’s clash against Cronulla.
Following last Sunday’s 38-20 defeat against Manly, Sheens warned that despite his side’s lofty position on the ladder, they are still some way from sealing their first finals spot since their 2005 grand final-winning season.
And while the fourth-placed Tigers’ clash with the Sharks at Leichhardt Oval appears a mismatch, Sheens is taking nothing for granted.
“The Manly game has reminded us that we’ve still got work to do and defensively in particular,” Sheens said.
"We were leading that game with a bit of football 8-0 and to be 18-8 down, that just shows we’re not good enough if we don’t bring our defensive game.
“We’ve really worked hard this week to bring our defensive game to Cronulla.”
Not even the comforts of home have Sheens relaxing, who said the Tigers’ last match at Leichhardt, where they had to overhaul a 16-0 deficit to beat North Queensland 26-16 should be fresh in his players’ memories.
“It’s probably a timely reminder, the Cowboys game, that Leichhardt won’t win it, it’s the effort will win it,” he said.
"They played well last week Cronulla, they’re close to full strength and they’ve got nothing to lose so they can play a free and easy game.
“They’ve got a very good, strong defensive side, arguably a stronger defensive outfit than the Cowboys, so if they jump 16-0 in front of us we’re not going to run them down.”
The Tigers will be boosted by the return of English international Gareth Ellis, who has missed the past three weeks with a groin injury.
And Sheens felt the second rower’s presence will provide his team with some added defensive steel against the Sharks’ back-row of Grant Millington, Anthony Tupou and Paul Gallen.
“We’re talking defence and that’s his forte, that really allows us to focus on our ‘D’ and allows me to play (Chris) Heighington in behind the ruck and (Liam) Fulton’s tackling and playing well so our back three are looking much stronger this week,” he said.
“We’re going to need to be because I think that’s one of their strengths too, their back three.”
here we go ….sheens getting the excuse book out before the game …The tigers have a big chance of finishing in the top 4 . playing at leichhardt …against one of the worst sides in the comp … truly …if sheens cant get his boys up for this game , then we really do not deserve a place in the top 8 … and his resignation should be on stephen humphreys desk first thing monday morning …
‘WE HAVE TO BE STRONG FROM THE START’ SAYS SHEENS
By Wayne Cousins
30/07/2010 4:58:37 PM
Wests Tigers Coach Tim Sheens has warned his players to show Cronulla Sutherland Sharks plenty of respect despite their position on the Telstra Premiership ladder when they meet at Leichhardt Oval tomorrow night.
The experienced coach says his players can’t afford to just think where the Sharks are sitting on the ladder, saying the visitors have plenty of talent and a strong forward pack that can cause some damage.
Wests Tigers sit in fourth place on the ladder but equal on 26 points with second-placed Penrith and third placed Sydney Roosters. Wests Tigers head into the game on a zero for and against points margin against the 15th placed Sharks.
“There is not much between bottom and top and it hasn’t been for a couple of years,’’ Sheens said ahead of the team’s final training session.
“I told the players that you respect the person and you respect their ability. When you look at their side with current State of Origin players from this year, I don’t see any of our players in that situation.
“The Sharks did beat the Roosters by 40 and so on. The Cowboys led us 16-0 the last time we played here (at Leichhardt)
“ The Cowboys game is a timely reminder. (Being at) Leichhardt won’t win it, its the effort that will win it. They played well last week Cronulla, they are close to full strength, and they have got nothing to lose, so they can play a free and easy game.
“They did that last week against Canberra and they threw the ball around a fair bit and played some good football.”
Sheens said his team has worked very hard on its defence this week after giving away an early lead in the loss to Manly at Bluetongue Stadium last Sunday.
“The Manly game reminded us that we still have got work to do. Defensively, in particular,’’ he said.
“ We were leading that game 8-0 with a bit of football and to be 18-8 down shows that we are not good enough if we don’t bring our defensive game.
“We have really worked hard this week to bring our defensive game to Cronulla.
“Cronulla have got a very good, strong defensive side. Arguably a stronger defensive outfit than the Cowboys so if they jump 16-0 in front of us, we are not going to run them down. We have just got to be strong right from the start with our efforts in defence.”
Sheens said the return of Gareth Ellis from injury would ensure more starch in the team’s defensive patterns.
“Gareth will certainly add some size and strength and when we talk about defence, that’s his forte really,’’ Sheens said.
“We really are focused on our defence which allows me to play Chris Heighington in behind the ruck. Liam Fulton is tackling and playing well, so our back three is looking much stronger this week.
“We are going need to be because that’s one of Cronulla’s strengths, their back three.”
Sheens admitted to being wary of former Wests Tigers players in centre Dean Collis and hooker John Morris, who take on their former club for the first time.
“When you always play your old club, there is always that little bit extra,’’ Sheens said.
“This just adds to the alarm bells from my point of view because both boys, at their best, play a good game of football.
“On top of the talent the Sharks have already got, we don’t want to see the old boys have too much of a success against us.”
in the on field interview after game, Benji admitted the team may have under estimated the sharks.
They seem to say this all the time recently….why aren’t we prepared properly? Why do we keep getting ambushed or surprised? Do the coaching staff study our opposition at all?