Leichhardt loss still burns for Tigers
Wests Tigers players are hoping their second game at Leichhardt for 2015 will allow them to claw back some pride after an embarrassing capitulation to Canberra in Round 7.
In that game the home side exploded out of the blocks at their spiritual home ground, racing out to a 22-0 lead against a shell-shocked Raiders outfit.
But from that point the Tigers faded badly, the Raiders chanced their arm, earned two tries before half time to keep themselves in the contest then marched home 30-22 on the back of a second half shutout.
The 11th-placed Tigers host the 13th-placed Titans on Friday night with each side sitting on a precarious 4-7 win/loss record, with one bye.
Curtis Sironen hasn't forgotten that Round 7 collapse and will be looking to make amends against a Titans side he said would present a tough challenge after the Tigers got away with a one-point win over Gold Coast in Round 1.
"We were disappointing here earlier in the year, we got out to a big lead and got run down by the Raiders so that's still fresh in most of the boys' minds," Sironen said at Leichhardt on Monday.
"We don't want a repeat of that. It's just about getting out there and training well in the next couple of days and hopefully get a big crowd.
"Whenever we play at Leichhardt or Campbelltown we're a bit harder on ourselves, and after a loss especially. We love playing in front of our home fans. You never want to get beaten at home. At the start of the year we sort of look to see where those games are and we really get pumped up for them."
Halfback Luke Brooks was also hoping for a better effort than the last match at Leichhardt.
"Last time we played here we started off well but didn't finish it so hopefully we can put in a better performance for all the fans that come out here and make it a good place to play at," Brooks said.
"Hopefully all the fans come out, we probably haven't been playing our best footy but hopefully they can still come out and give us a leg up."
The Tigers got home 19-18 at Cbus Super Stadium in Round 1 on the back of a Pat Richards field goal and Sironen said he was expecting another tight affair.
"We played them Round 1 in a tight game and lucky for Patty Richards we got them by one point so we're not taking them lightly," Sironen said.
"They played pretty good the other night [in a six-point loss to the Rabbitohs in Round 12] and have a few boys in good form too. We're going to go out there and do everything possible to give ourselves a result. We're not desperate yet but we want to win these next couple of games so we're not chasing wins at the back end of the year."
Brooks added the Titans had been unlucky not to get the result on Friday night against Souths.
"They're still playing good footy, they probably could have taken the game against the Rabbitohs to extra time," Brooks said.
"Their defence was pretty good as well so it's going to be a tough game. Last time we played them we only beat them by one point and that was a tough game for us."
Both players refused to blame the absence of skipper and hooker Robbie Farah for the side being held to zero in an 8-0 loss to North Queensland before the bye, with back-row utility Dene Halatau standing in in the No.9 jersey in his club captaincy debut.
Each of Sironen and Brooks was also looking forward to welcoming back first-choice props Aaron Woods (Origin) and Keith Galloway (shoulder).
"I think we just lost our way a bit; it's hard to put a finger on what it was" Sironen said.
"It's never positive having two of your best players out and your two leaders. We get Woodsy back and Keith Galloway back this week so that will be a positive. We just need to fill Robbie's void a bit better and everyone needs to step up for that."
Brooks said Farah's absence may have been a factor but the attack needs to be better regardless.
"Deano did a good job filling in so I don't think having Robbie out, we can't use that as an excuse. We've just got to keep working on that.
"Our main goal at the moment is our defence, we've got to keep improving that and I think we've gone a long way towards doing that, only conceding eight points against the Cowboys and hopefully off the back of that our attack will come."
Sironen added having the two starting front rowers back would aid the attack by creating more space for the playmakers.
"Everyone, including myself, we all need to step up and like I said it helps we've got our two starting front rowers back for a bit of go forward and makes it a bit easier trying to score points when you know your forwards are going forward," he said.
"We'll see how we go and if we can keep defending like we did the other week I think we'll be happy."