Table-topping Tigers want to keep improving
With six wins on the trot, the Easts Tigers lead the SEQW Division 1 competition heading into this weekend's clash with Brother's Ipswich.
They have picked up wins over every other team in the competition and are three-points clear at the top of the ladder after seven rounds.
Last weekend they made a big statement by putting 50 points on Toowoomba, but their season has so far been defined by their ability to win tight games.
Four of their six wins have been by a converted try or less, and three weeks in a row they navigated their way to two-point wins.
Tigers coach Duane Rehua said that his side has worked hard at their fitness and their ability to compete until the very end has served them well in the first half of the season.
"We put a lot of emphasis on execution and we put a lot of emphasis on working hard for each other," he said.
"If we are there or there about at the back end of games, we know that if we stay focussed and don't panic, that we've got the conditioning to push home."
The Tigers have been the benchmark this year in terms of results, but as the competition reaches its halfway point this weekend - the ladder leaders are aware that they need to keep improving if they want to finish the season in the same position.
"We've got a pretty basic plan and structure, but they stick to it really well and they execute well," Rehua said.
"I think we need to continue to improve our defensive technique. We're not a big team, so we do rely on line speed and effort in our tackles.
"Offensively I think we can probably kick better and end our sets better. We have employed a kicking coach to help us out with that. Those are areas that we probably need to work on a bit more in coming weeks."
They are a strong unit with strong performers across the board, led by usual suspects Vanessa Foliaki and Karina Brown.
Rehua was also full of praise for utility forward Shekinah Rolland who has been outstanding off the bench in recent weeks.
"She has been going really well," he said. "She has been doing an excellent job for us and she really lifts our energy levels when she comes on."
This weekend they travel to North Ipswich Reserve to take on Brother's Ipswich in a heavyweight battle.
Brother's Ipswich have the best offensive and defensive numbers in the whole competition, but the Tigers beat them 24-22 back in Round 3, while losses to Burleigh and West Brisbane in their last two games has seen them slip to third.
Those losses make this a dangerous game for the Tigers as Brother's Ipswich will be looking for a return to form.
"All the teams are getting better as the rounds progress, so I don't think you can rely on what you did last time working this time," Rehua said.
"We've just got to try and play with a lot of energy like we have been doing. I think we will definitely need to up the ante with our defence and just vary our attack a little bit more.
"We played pretty much up the middle last time, so this time they may be waiting for it, so we might need to just change things around a little bit."
The Tigers take on Brother's Ipswich at North Ipswich Reserve on Saturday at 11.40am. On Sunday in Round 8 action Toowoomba takes on the Panthers from 2.30pm at Herb Steinohrt Oval while Souths Magpies take on Burleigh at Pizzey Park from 3.45pm.
Photo: Easts Tigers Facebook Page