7 hours ago
'Smacked Bum' did the trick -
Wests Tigers on field leader, Scott Prince, has credited a "good old-fashioned smack on the bum" from semifinal opponent Brisbane as the catalyst to his NRL club's surge into the playoffs.
The Broncos dealt the Tigers a footballing lesson in round 15, cruising to a 30-6 halftime lead before running out 40-22 victors.
The crushing loss left the Tigers wallowing in 12th spot on the ladder and at long-odds of contesting the big matches in September.
Yet from that point the Tigers strung together eight consecutive wins to notch their maiden semi-final appearance - and now have the opportunity to gain revenge by eliminating the Broncos from the play-off race on Sunday.
Prince said the stinging loss to the Broncos actually did the Tigers a favour.
"They did, they just gave us a good old-fashioned smack on the bum and we really needed that," Prince said.
"We thought we were travelling alright before we went up to Suncorp.
"The coach (Tim Sheens) the weeks after that used to write some stuff on the board, you know Broncos 30-6 at halftime.
"Whenever we were getting too far ahead of ourselves it really brought us back to earth."
Tigers prop John Skandalis said the players weren't allowed to forget the loss.
"In that eight-match winning streak, the coach brought up that game every week and said this is what can happen if we didn't turn up," he said.
"We know what we have ahead of us.
"(The Broncos) are in a form slump but hopefully they won't turn it around against us."
In-form fullback Brett Hodgson, who yesterday, announced he had extended his contract with the Tigers for another two years until the end of the 2008 NRL season, said the team yesterday reviewed the video of the Broncos match.
"We're reminded of the fact they were leading us 30-0 after about 20 minutes ..." Hodgson said.
"We had a good look at it on Monday. It was very disappointing that game and we are going to have to play well or they can potentially do something like that again.
"We've had a good look at them and they are solid all over the park, it's going to be a good tough game."
Sheens said his team had improved since it last played the Broncos, but would need to reproduce last week's stunning form against North Queensland to reverse the result.
"We had our chances and they took theirs and put 30 points on us," Sheens said of the Brisbane match.
"We've only beaten them once in 11 hit-outs so we know we are in for a big, tough game.
"(Darren) Lockyer took us apart in that first 30 minutes. His speed of game, his kicking, his running and his passing game cut us to pieces."