Their season has been one of ups and downs, but hard hitting performances and form building is needed in the coming weeks for the West Tigers are to secure an NRL Top 8 finals berth.

The NRL Top 8 Finals are only 5 weeks away and the intensity levels have lifted within the West Tigers ranks, with players putting in extra work at training and trying to take a stronger focus and enthusiasm level into their games. As their Monday night win shows, it must be working – stars Brett Hodgson and Benji Marshall just getting on the park lifted their belief.

Coach Tim Sheens likes to keep his cards close to his chest; and when approached for comment on current form and chances to conquer the NRL again in 2007 – Sheens replied with “I dont make those kind of predictions.” “Its like predicting he second half of next weeks game, you have to get there first.”

“There are so many factors that can make or break a season these days” said Sheens, “From injuries, video and live officials through to home crowds and favorable bounces of the ball” Sheens explained.

Wests Tigers captain Brett Hodgson isn’t quite as reserved as Sheens. After returning on Monday night, Hodgson was amazed at the confidence in the side and feels the team is good enough in terms of talent and depth to again challenge for the NRL premiership in 2007.

Wests Tigers still have their defensive issues, as they have done since 2005 – however their attack is once again looking razor sharp and if it remains at its peak, they can beat any NRL side in the right conditions. The Tigers always get asked about their smaller forward pack, with Sheens commenting “It’s our skill and speed that win us the games.” “We have intelligence at hooker (Robbie Farah) and with Benji Marshall and Brett Hodgson back we have creativity in important areas.”

With the Tigers having to contend with tough losses to Manly and the NZ Warriors – the big win over the Cowboys has really injected some good vibes into the side. Brett Hodgson and Tim Sheens both commenting on how relaxed the side still remains. “The focus is there, but we are reasonably relaxed” said Sheens.

A pretty good frame of mind to be in, as 5 critical weeks approach and following that the NRL Top 8 finals series explodes into action. The upcoming Round 24 match looks especially juicy for NRL fans – as the Wests Tigers take on the South Sydney Rabbitohs; with agile attacking skills meeting rock solid defence.

Stay tuned to NRL News for all the latest Rugby League chat – from real people who follow the game.

Danny Weidler Report: Souths Bonding Session and Penrith In-Fighting.

NRL Rugby League journalist Danny Weidler tonight spoke on the Channel 9 Footy Show about bonding being done by the South Sydney Rabbitohs. Owner Russell Crowe setup a surprise function for the Souths players inviting former greats from the Souths fold – to come in, tell some stories and mingle with the current Souths players. Souths players also had some uncomfy moments where they had to say why they ‘love’ other players in the team. Very interesting, and possibly powerful considering the task the Rabbits face to make the NRL Top 8 Finals.

The video also talks about the problems over at the Penrith Panthers that continue to arise. Former Penrith Panther Martin Lang having a sledge at Panthers CEO Glen Matthews. Martin Lang suggests Penrith Panthers CEO Glen Matthews is more akin to a ‘Panthers Fan’ than a CEO. Lang posted the sledge on the Panthers Forums for everyone to see. More information on the video below – click the triangle in the centre to instantly play the video.

More News Later today from NRL News Rugby League

By ricky

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