Nines to provide glimpse of Tiger tactics
Fans can expect a glimpse of the new-look Wests Tigers at this weekend's Auckland Nines, with the club to employ some of what it has been working on for its 2015 NRL campaign in the reduced format.
Wests Tigers Auckland Nines captain Chris Lawrence believes fans will see the direction the club is heading in some of the things they do at the tournament.
"We've focused more on the start of the NRL season but a lot of the drills and things we've been doing throughout the pre-season can be directly put into the Nines," Lawrence told NRL.com at a fan day in Auckland on the eve of the second Nines tournament.
"A lot of the things we're trying to achieve through the NRL season we'll try to put into place this weekend as well.
"I'm very confident [we'll be a threat this weekend] – obviously you need a bit of luck but you never know what can happen.
"There's going to be a bit of trial and error with what you do, so if we stick to what we've been doing through the pre-season we'll get a few wins."
Lawrence also predicted sides would learn from last year, with a bigger focus on defence after the Cowboys won the inaugural tournament off a strong defensive display.
"Sides will adapt, particularly in their defence, so the fast outside backs aren't always the way to go, it's those big back-rowers with footwork who can bust the line, not so much run around that are the most dangerous ones," he said.
Lawrence was also humbled to be able to captain the club, which he said was a nod towards his now-senior status at Concord.
"Being able to have the captaincy is a huge honour, in whatever format you get to captain your club it's always a huge honour. Obviously we've had a few guys lead the club in the last few years and I've always felt in the last few years I've been part of that leadership group and now to get that recognition is a huge honour," he said.
He was also relieved to have a rare full pre-season under his belt with no injury interruptions, after having his 2014 pre-season ruined by surgery.
"It's good for a change [to have a full pre-season], I'm one of the fortunate ones that didn't have to have off-season surgery this year and was able to train most of the pre-season so hopefully it means I can have a strong start to the year."