Wests Tigers Coach Michael Maguire said his team's focus for the 2020 season — and Sunday's game — hasn't changed despite a couple of disappointing results over the past fortnight.
Having gone down in a tight tussle to the ladder-leading Parramatta Eels in Round 11, Wests Tigers were upset the following week by the New Zealand Warriors before handily beaten last weekend by the Newcastle Knights — leaving them in 10th position and desperately needing two points to continue their finals push.
Maguire was adamant that, despite the performance last week and external noise surrounding the club, the focus and resilience of the side has remained strong.
"We set a goal at the start of the season about where we wanted to get to and that hasn’t changed," Maguire enthused. "We need to make sure we turn up with a positive mindset about what we want to do, and I know this group can do it.
“The resilience and working really hard for each other — we’ve shown that and they’re the type of things we need to do every week.
"How we get out and do that and build a bit of momentum is what the game is about.
“We have to expect anything because the Bulldogs they will throw anything at you – that is what they do. We need to be ready to perform in the way we want.
"We have a game plan that we want to execute.
NRL.com preview Bulldogs clash
"But we all understand it’s what we do within the 80 minutes that we get judged on," he added. “The squad have been putting in some strong weeks over the last few weeks so we need to make sure we do that within the 80 minutes now.
"I am confident with the way the boys have prepared for games and this week for us in doing a few things differently. It’s about applying ourselves [now] and what we do with our practice on the field and going out to get the result.”
Maguire confirmed that Jacob Liddle would start his first game in over 12 months having recovered from an extensive knee injury suffered last year.
"It's great to see him back," Maguire enthused.
"I'm looking forward to seeing him probe around the ruck, make strong tackles and do all the simple things really well.
“I know the team are really looking forward to having him out there. We get to see all the things they go through and Jacob's got a smile on his face which is great to see.”
Match: Wests Tigers v Bulldogs
Round 14 -
Venue: Bankwest Stadium, Sydney