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Wests Tigers demolish Raiders

Coach Tim Sheens claims his Wests Tigers are better placed to make a run at the finals than at any other stage since their 2005 premiership triumph after demolishing Canberra 25-4 in the nation's capital on Sunday.

The Tigers are a better, hungrier and more experienced team than they have been in the previous campaigns, according to Sheens, after the veteran mentor watched them close to within two points of eighth spot.

Unlike the past three seasons when the Tigers slipped out of the top eight in the final rounds of the competition, the Tigers are thriving in the role of the hunter.

Their third straight win ended any slim hope the Raiders had of making the top eight, while the Tigers now have a good run home with three of their next four games against teams outside the eight.

"It's within reach," Sheens said of making the NRL finals, with six regular rounds in the competition to go.

"We just cant afford to slip up. They (teams at the bottom of the eight) can because they've won those games and they're just that little bit in front.

"Getting the wobbles in the bottom eight, we know all about that, we've done it for three years.

"This time were coming from the other perspective, we're actually chasing harder than trying to consolidate."

English import Gareth Ellis was again a standout in the back row, while playmakers Benji Marshall and Tim Moltzen used their speed to good effect as they bamboozled the Raiders.

Sheens said the team's confidence was building every week, and it could get even better with prop Keith Galloway and second rower Chris Heighington due back from injury.

It was nothing but bad news for the home side, though.

Their cause wasn't helped by the fact five-eighth Terry Campese, centre Joel Monaghan, fullback Josh Dugan and forward Joel Thompson had all been hit with a virus during the week and had their first training session on Thursday.

"It was probably one of our worst (performances)," Raiders coach David Furner said.

The Tigers bombarded Canberra in the first half with Moltzen going over for his first after 12 minutes.

The Raiders appeared unlucky to have a Dugan try denied due to an obstruction, their mood not helped with Moltzen clocking up his second soon after following a 75-metre run.

Bench utility John Morris made it three unanswered tries when he scored in the 33rd minute, the early ambush all part of the Tigers' plan.

"The games they (Canberra) have won here at home they've jumped out to 14-plus leads come halftime and we knew that come halftime we needed to be in the game and it was a bonus that we were up 19-0," Farah said.

Winger Taniela Tuiaki crossed for his 16th try of the year after the break before Raiders winger Daniel Vidot saved his side the ignominy of being held scoreless with a 62nd-minute four-pointer.

Tigers veteran John Skandalis was placed on report for a late tackle on Raiders five-eighth Terry Campese in the lead up to the try.

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