Wasteful Tigers lament missed opportunity for finals footy
Watching Sunday afternoon footy on the Gold Coast cut the Wests Tigers' playing group deep.
Following their disappointing 16-4 loss to the Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium on Friday, Ivan Cleary's men knew they had blown a golden chance to slide towards the top eight after the Warriors were comprehensively beaten 36-12 by the Titans at Cbus Super Stadium.
A win at Homebush versus struggling Canterbury would have seen the Tigers just two points adrift of where they want to be.
"We missed out on a great opportunity with the Warriors losing," winger Corey Thompson said.
"It has been a positive season but as a playing group we set a goal to make the finals.
"We have a great team, we just have to win these last few games and if we do we should finish in the top eight."
Thompson admitted his team were stunned by the Bulldogs' energy.
"We prepared to win, but we couldn't stop them," he said.
"They have a great team on paper and even though they have had a disappointing year, they can beat a lot of teams in this competition."
Newcastle entertain the Tigers this Friday night, and Thompson knows the hosts will be desperate to bounce back after they were beaten at the death 20-18 last start by the Cowboys.
"The Knights had a tough loss up in Townsville so they are going to come out firing," he said.
"It's going to be hard, but we just need to win the game."
Thompson said shutting down electric fullback Kalyn Ponga will be vital at McDonald Jones Stadium.
"We played against him (Ponga) up in Tamworth earlier in the year and he started the game on fire," Thompson said.
"He's a great player and we need to make sure he doesn't get too much time with the ball."