History suggests Tigers may rise
AS THEY seek a 2005-style NRL premiership boilover, the Wests Tigers are embracing the challenge laid down to them by coach Ivan Cleary to write their own history.
You can’t help but see similarities between Tim Sheen’s ’05 Tigers, who pulled off one of the biggest upsets in the league’s history, and Cleary’s class of 2018.
In 2005, the Tigers were $81 with the TAB at the start of the season, had missed the finals in each of the joint venture’s first five years and Benji Marshall had the No.6 on his back.
This year, they were $67 before round one, had been absent from the past six finals series and Marshall was once again back in his old jersey.
While a lot of water has flowed under the bridge since 2005, the two sides are united by a lack of expectation.
“It’s hard to compare, the game’s changed,” Marshall said.
“Ivan’s said it from the start of pre-season, there’s no expectation on us to do anything.
“We get to create our own culture, decide where we wanted to be on the table and play however we wanted to play.
“With a lot of new faces being signed, you don’t know how that’s going to go. The guys he did sign, he brought in experience and guys who wanted to compete and win and that’s rubbing off.”
At 5-1 and in the top four, the Tigers are one of the good news stories of the season.
BACK IN TOWN: The Tigers’ Benji Marshall.