FRIENDOR FOE: Tim Sheens, now adored by Wests Tigers fans, but he was once coach of the Raiders, who knocked over the Balmain T
FRIENDOR FOE: Tim Sheens, now adored by Wests Tigers fans, but he was once coach of the Raiders, who knocked over the Balmain T

Tim?s a Tigertown hero



I CAN'T help but cast my memory back to the 1989 NRL grand final, when my then beloved Balmain Tigers were beaten in extra time by the Tim Sheens-coached Canberra Raiders.

How the wheel turns, with Sheens now the hero of Tigertown after their amazing season culminated in the 30-16 win on Sunday night.

It was the win that up until the past few weeks no-one saw coming, with the Tigers still 150-1 to win the premiership as late as June.

Their win reminds me a lot of the Panthers a few years ago ? a young side that took no prisoners and wasn't intimidated by any of their big-name opponents and coached by a very experienced coach that let his talented youngsters do what they do best, play football.

I may be a hard task master, but to me the game didn't live up to what I thought it would.

There were still the moments of individual brilliance and physical forward confrontations but the Cowboys never really put too much pressure on the Tigers defence, preferring to pass the ball from one side line to the other without going forward and committing the Tigers defence.

The Tigers, on the other hand, looked good around the ruck and made good yards and got good field position through Scott Prince's kicking game, which was backed up through a great kick chase that really nullified the attacking powers of Bowen, Sing and Williams.

Being at the game you really get to feel the atmosphere and having been to the past three deciders, I reckon this was the loudest, with the sea of black and gold and the diehard Cowboy supporters making for a great night.

For me, one of the highlights of the day was when the Blackhawk helicopter landed on the field prior to the game to deliver the premiership trophy, then took off and hovered over the field and did a complete circle as if to acknowledge the crowd.

The crowd went nuts when the armed soldiers jumped out of the chopper followed by a couple of others carrying the trophy.

I thought it was significant that real heroes graced the field before the players ripped in.

The Tigers are living proof that no matter what anyone else thinks, a group of people with a common goal and an unwavering belief can achieve anything.

They played the game the way it should be played, gaining legions of new fans.

After a season like we have just had, who dares predict how 2006 will pan out?

The only thing is, everyone's a chance.



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