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Coaching Insider: Round 1
Wests Tigers Head Coach Ivan Cleary says it's important his side start to find their way in 2018 with a strong performance against the Sydney Roosters tomorrow.
Cleary was honest in his assessment of the season opener for all teams and the problems that can come with that, but said it was key for his side to get the ball rolling as early as possible.
"We just want to get started — it's as simple as that," Cleary said of his side's focus this week.
"I don't think anyone can expect their absolute best performance in Round 1 but there's some areas we expect to be good in and they're the ones we're focussing on mainly.
"Just getting out and getting stuck in and enjoying it will be the focus for us.
"It's been a long preparation for this game. It hasn't been just the two weeks [since our last trial] but the last four months of pre-season and there's so much excitement for Round 1 of the competition.
"It's only natural to feel that — the boys feel it and the staff feel it.
"Everyone is pretty excited about getting started tomorrow," he continued.
"There's probably more questions than answers at the moment and some of those answers we'll find out tomorrow. It's going to take time; it's a completely new team here in many respects so we're not expecting it to be perfect tomorrow but we've prepared well and I expect us to be very competitive."
Wests Tigers will field six club debutants as well as the returning Benji Marshall in a new-look side for tomorrow's game, while the Roosters too will see a number of new faces as Premiership winner Cooper Cronk and former Wests Tigers fullback James Tedesco link up with the boys from Bondi.
"It's good to have Benji back. It's good to see him genuinely happy," Cleary enthused.
"It's really good to see someone who has done so much for the club really want to come back and love the club — it's definitely a positive for us to have and for the squad.
"Every team is still trying to find their way early in the season whether they have had changes or not.
"The Roosters have obviously had some big changes around key players so a bit like us they'll be trying to find their way through that and just navigate your way through those first few rounds."
Wests Tigers will kick off against the Sydney Roosters at ANZ Stadium tomorrow with kickoff at 4:30pm.