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After three straight losses, Wests Tigers Head Coach Ivan Cleary said the focus for his side was on achieving their internal targets this Thursday against the Cowboys.

Ahead of the club's first home game at Leichhardt Oval this season, Cleary said that it was crucial his side didn't read too much in to the strong start to the year and returned to the style that saw them start the year so well — not worried about the external noise and simply focused on what they can produce.

"We've probably just been our own worst enemy in the last two weeks," he said.

"Our ball control, errors and penalties have contributed to our performances in a negative way.

"Lots of coaches talk about that, and while it was something we were really good at at the start of the year, last week we didn't really give ourselves a chance or an opportunity to win.

"We did have a fair bit of success early in the season, and what comes with that is external influences and distractions. People start talking guys up when that didn't happen at the start of the year, but that's all just part of how it works out. It's part of the evolution of the season and part of the learning.

Packer confident in injury return

"I think it's really important that our reference points are internal," Cleary added.

"That's easy to say and sometimes harder to do, and the fact is it was pretty easy in the year to do that.

"But as the season progresses there's a bit more external pressure, so for us it's about trying to wind it back and get the guys to concentrate on what we believe and what we value as a team.

"And if we can do that well, the results will flow."

The big inclusion for Cleary this week is that of co-captain Russell Packer, whose leadership style is a blessing for the team to have on board this week, according to the Head Coach.

"Russell is a natural leader and certainly a leader in our team," Cleary enthused.

"We've got a number of leaders and they're all slightly different; Russell is one of those guys who can actually articulate what he's feeling and that's a little bit different to some of the other guys.

"I think the guys like playing with him because he has that presence and I think it's definitely a lift for us."

See what Ivan Cleary had to say in full about this week's game in the video above!


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Wests Tigers respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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