Sheens wants more focus from Tigers
June 5, 2011 - 12:49PM
Wests Tigers coach Tim Sheens has called on his players to start competing for a full 80 minutes, as they look to preserve their place in the NRL top eight against Newcastle on Monday.
The Tigers, who sit in eighth spot, welcome back star backrower Gareth Ellis and winger Lote Tuqiri from injury for the clash at Leichhardt Oval.
They go into the game on the back of a strong second-half display against runaway ladder leaders St George Illawarra, despite going down 24-18 last Sunday to the premiers at Kogarah.
However, Sheens played down the significance of his side’s performance after halftime against the Dragons and said they needed to improve to beat the Knights.
“We had a good second half against Souths and lost, as well, but we need a good first half,” Sheens said.
“They had people backing up from Origin and built up a good lead, so I am not taking much out of the second half against St George. We are capable of much better.”
The Tigers’ form this season has been patchy as they look to improve on last year’s third-place finish on the ladder and reaching the preliminary final.
However, Sheens claimed the team were in better shape than a year ago.
“This time last year, we lost four in a row. We haven’t done that this season. We have been a bit up and down because we’re winning and losing,” Sheens said.
"I would rather be winning every now and then than having to win four or five in a row, so there are some elements of being better but, by the same token, we would like to be a little further in front.
"But without making excuses, we have had our fair share of injuries to key people, and missing the likes of Tuqiri, (Chris) Lawrence, (Todd) Payten and Ellis.
“It hasn’t been easy for us, especially for our young forwards, but overall I think we are ticking along nicely.”
Sheens would wait until kick-off on Monday before making a decision on whether to include Wade McKinnon after the fullback injured a hamstring in the warm-up against the Dragons.
Tim Moltzen will move to fullback if he fails to recover, with utility back Mitch Brown also an option.
The Knights are without halfback Jarrod Mullen, who is recovering from a torn pectoral.
Skipper Kurt Gidley will start at No.7.