Wests Tigers Head Coach Ivan Cleary had plenty of positives for his side as they prepare to take on the Parramatta Eels in their traditional Easter Monday clash at ANZ Stadium tomorrow afternoon.
Heading to the match with one defeat in 2018 following last week's controversial Golden Point game, Cleary said the way in which his side were building to start the year was a pleasing sign for the coaching staff — as was the pending inclusion of Benji Marshall in Monday's team to face the Eels.
Marshall was under some doubt after picking up an ankle injury in the loss to Brisbane, but Cleary had positive news on the five-eighth — confirming he was set to start the match tomorrow.
“Benji’s right,” Cleary told reporters at today’s press conference.
“We probably got lucky that it was a 10-day turnaround from our last game — it was one of those injuries that blew up at the time but he’s okay after a bit of time which is good news for us."
"I think these three games have given us an understanding of where our strengths lie and the areas we need to improve at. Being competitive for the first three games against good sides means the guys are feeling pretty good with where we’re at, but obviously there’s a long way to go and a lot of improving to do.
"It’s a good foundation we have, but the trick is to keep turning up each week and bringing that and that’s what we’ll be focusing on this week," he added.
The start to the season for Wests Tigers could not be in greater contrast to that of the Eels, who not only head in tomorrow's game down on troops but also confidence after a winless start through three games.
However, Cleary was adamant the signs were there for Parramatta in last week's loss to the Sharks, and that a blockbuster crowd at ANZ Stadium would spur them on to an improved performance tomorrow.
"They started Round 1 like a house on fire and then kind of just lost their way a little," he said.
"I thought last week against the Sharks was a tight one and it’s going to be a tough game for us.
"But if we can play to how we expect, then we know we can limit what they can do. If we can tighten up our skill and execution areas, we’ll be even closer to delivering the type of performance we want to."
See what Ivan Cleary had to say in full about tomorrow's game in the video above!