Whilst it is no guarantee for any team to make a Grand Final let alone win it I am strongly of the opinion that if the Tigers are to repeat season 2005 then they need to finish 1st or 2nd in the normal season of 2012.
The Storm and the Gulls are both sitting back nice and comfortable with a week off to settle the bumps and bruises after playing a home game 1st semi-final (though the Gulls may disagree) and had the luxury last week of knowing that a surprise loss would not see them exit early!On top of that a win first up would see them have another home game in week three of the finals (which has occurred) with a win then taking them into the grand Final.
In summary the Tigers have to have a fair shake of the sauce bottle when it comes to injuries in 2012 and jump out of the blocks like Usain Bolt and maintain a consistency to finish top two (2), and then we will be a long way there to repeating 2005! Like I said at the start, a top two finish is no guarantee to play in the big one (just ask the Dogs & Dragons in 2009) but gee it can certainly assist.
I look forward to season 2012 and my honourable mentions from the playing roster of 2011is as follows:
Bravery Award: Robbie Farah for playing all season (not missing a game) with a troublesome & restrictive groin injury
Rising Star Award: A no brainer for me in Aaron Woods
Most Consistent Award: Blake Ayshford. With Laurie Lawrence out for most of the season this bloke stood out and in my opinion was outstanding week in and week out
Player of the Year: I have in the past been one of his harshest critics but Benji Marshall finally put his freakish talents on show over 80 minutes each game (rather than 5-10 minutes)for all to see specifically in the back end of the season where the Tiggers won 9 in a row
Player of the Semis: Liam Fulton- 93+ Kg of pure guts, determination and heart.
Surprise Player of the Year: For me it was Matt Utai where at the season start I thought he would be a dud buy but whilst he had his game mistakes his relentless charges from dummy half and go forward were inspiring
Next Superstar/Representative Player (SOO & Tests)- Aaron Woods who at 20-21 years of age already has the size, skills and commitment to be a huge success.
Once again the Tigers provided supporters like myself with regular visits to the Heart Specialist but all that aside they give value for the money you pay at the turnstiles! I look forward to seeing them do it all again in 2012.