2018 PREVIEW 🔍 Perennial underachievers? Our fifteenth preview is here. Andrew Ferguson assesses whe...
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Wests Tigers coach Tim Sheens says his side cannot make the finals unless Parramatta defeat Brisbane on Sunday.
Sheens has ruled out the Tigers making an audacious point-scoring spree against wooden spoon favourites Newcastle on Friday in a bid to overtake any side above them in the top eight on points differential.
Theoretically, the Tigers could finish level on 26 competition points with the Bulldogs (+53), Parramatta (+46) and South Sydney (+23) if those three sides lose this weekend, and Brisbane (+81) if the premiers win.
But Sheens concedes the Tigers, with a negative 18 points differential following last Sunday's loss to the Rabbitohs, cannot overtake any other team on for and against this weekend and will rest their hopes on the Eels beating Brisbane at Parramatta Stadium.
Meanwhile in the Hunter, Newcastle boss Steve Burraston says the club is not under any pressure to sack coach Brian Smith, despite the Knights facing their second wooden spoon in three years.
Burraston says Smith has performed "quite good" under extraordinary circumstances in 2007, including the retirement of star Andrew Johns and the horrific injury toll which also claimed Danny Buderus and young gun Jarrod Mullen.
There is speculation a group of high profile Newcastle supporters, known as the White Knights and including businessmen John Singleton and Jack Newton, had met this week to discuss making moves to have Smith ousted from the club.
But club senior executive officer Burraston, a financial member of the White Knights, says he's been assured by the group's chairman Dick Maclean no moves are being made to interfere with the running of the club.