Tiger cubs ready for final test
If you're a Wests Tigers player who debuted for the club any time from 2012 onwards you're yet to play an NRL finals game – so after a taste of being in finals range a few Tigers youngsters are hoping the tough times are soon to be a thing of the past.
The Tigers finished the weekend in eighth place (though could slip to ninth if the Panthers beat the Roosters on Monday night) and knowing they are well in the finals mix is a huge boost to first grade stars like James Tedesco and David Nofoaluma, who each had outstanding games in the club's impressive 24-14 win over reigning premiers North Queensland on Sunday afternoon.
"I don't think I've won three in a row here before at the Tigers," Tedesco said.
"It's a really good feeling here at the club. Everyone is just excited to play with each other, you can see when we score we're all pretty excited and get around each other. It just feels like a good mood and a good vibe around the place."
Tedesco debuted in 2012 (an ill-fated game in which he ruptured an ACL after 20 minutes in his only game of the year) but in neither that season nor the three since have the Tigers been a realistic shot of September football with a few rounds to go.
"Since I started here I don't think we've been in a position where we could make the eight and having three in a row now, our confidence is sky high but we don't want to get too carried away," Tedesco said.
"We don't want to let these wins in a row get to us, we just want to come in, keep knuckling down and working hard.
"If we can get another win it will really set us up for the end of the year. We don't want to put too much pressure on ourselves but if we can just play that consistent footy like we did tonight hopefully we can sneak into the eight."
Nofoaluma – who debuted in 2013 and like Tedesco has played his entire NRL career to date at Concord – is another who is enjoying the unfamiliar sensation of knowing September beckons if the players can stay on track and win two or three of their final four games.
"We've worked really hard to be where we are; it's a good feeling," Nofoaluma told NRL.com.
"Especially for myself, coming in, debuting in 2013, it was a bit of a rough ride for the club and the team so to turn that around and perform how we are lately, it's a good feeling.
"Especially how we haven't been in this position, myself I haven't been in this position – It's just exiting times ahead."