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Underrated? Eisenhuth and friends out to silence doubters

Wests Tigers forward Matt Eisenhuth says it's the job of the club's pack to ensure the team is taken seriously in 2020 after not meeting their own standards last year.

"As a pack, we're probably a bit underrated," Eisenhuth told NRL.com.

"The belief within us in the group is we're a pack that can definitely match it and dominate other packs so that's going to be a personal challenge week-in, week-out for us, we have to set the platform for the rest of the team.

"We've got plenty of depth there compared to what we had last year. Russ Packer [to return from injury]. We've got the depth there in the team, we'll be out to prove a point."

Josh Aloiai echoed those comments but said he was happy to be written off by those outside the club.

"To be honest with you there's a bit of a chip on our shoulder at the moment in the forward pack," Aloiai said.

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"There's a bit of noise that we're going to struggle as a forward pack this year. That's great - we're happy. We're going to go about our work.

"I like the way our forward pack complement each other and I'm looking forward to us taking on some of the other big packs."

The club has lost last year's best forward Ryan Matterson to the Eels while Ben Matulino and Robbie Rochow have retired. Former Dragon Luciano Leilua and former Rabbitoh Zane Musgrove have joined and each has impressed teammates through the pre-season.

Matt Eisenhuth scores for Wests Tigers.
Matt Eisenhuth scores for Wests Tigers. ©Scott Davis/NRL Photos

With the likes of Tom Mikaele and Ollie Clark emerging last season and Alex Twal producing another consistent season, Eisenhuth believes the pack is "definitely maturing".

"We've got a few boys that have been there and played a full season, Tom Mikaele debuted round one last year and played basically the whole season and got better every game," he said.

Pressed on his assessment of the pack as "underrated", Eisenhuth said he felt like the team got pigeonholed after underperforming in 2019.

"There's no secret we haven't achieved what we wanted to achieve, we should have played finals footy last year or the last couple of years. We've let ourselves down," he said.

"Amongst the group, we're out to prove a point, that we're up there with those teams that will be playing finals footy at the end of the year.

"The belief among the group is high. We're aiming for finals footy and higher than that, to win the comp, that's the goal."

We've got the depth ... we'll be out to prove a point

Wests Tigers forward Matt Eisenhuth

Losing the round 25 clash against Cronulla with a finals berth on offer for the winner still stings, he added.

"Everyone remembers that feeling, how it was at the end of the year in the sheds. It wasn't how it was meant to go," he said.

"The scene was set and we didn't perform and as a consequence, we didn't play finals footy. It's a burning feeling inside. We'll be out to rectify that this year."

Wests Tigers' top five tries of 2019

Eisenhuth himself may be eased through the trials given he is coming off off-season surgery.

"I think I'll definitely go over to New Zealand and play the trial over there [on March 1 at Rotoua]," he said.

"I had some off-season surgery on my hip flexor, adductor, pelvis sort of thing. I had a whole bunch of stuff going on there but after the Chrissy break I've been back in full training so I'm sweet to go now.

"It's just up to the coaching staff if they prefer me to have another week of training or play the trial."