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Belief is growing amongst Wests Tigers players ahead of Saturday’s crucial game against Cronulla — according to coach Michael Maguire.

With an opportunity to close in on a top eight finish, Maguire has liked what he’s seen across his playing group as they prepare for the job ahead.

“The belief within the team is definitely growing. It’s enjoyable to watch the players come together,” Maguire said.

“I have a lot of talent in this team and the boys are playing their part. They’re enjoying playing with each other and there’s a lot of belief.”

Sitting one win outside a finals position with three matches remaining, Maguire understands the Round 23 match against the Sharks is an important moment in the season.

“There’s always an opportunity to fire at this time of the year,” the coach said.

“We’ve been through times that we’ve played well and times that we’ve needed to be better, but we’ve all come together and need to utilise that.

NRL.com preview Sharks clash

“We’ve got to make sure now that we capture the moment, and the results will sort themselves out.

“We can only live in the now and make sure we nail this week because it won’t mean much if we don’t.

“The past couple of weeks we’ve shown some good patches and the boys have spoken about what we need to do — I’m looking forward to seeing a strong performance.”

Wests Tigers will be looking for three straight wins when they face the Sharks on Saturday afternoon, and although Maguire understands his team still needs plenty of improvement, he’s confident they can get the job done this time around.

“There’s a lot of momentum that comes with winning,” he said.

“We’re at the business end now and there’s an opportunity in front of us, but we need to make sure we’re focused on the now.

“Our boys are starting to understand what’s needed to play first grade, but now it’s about the pressure game.”

The Round 23 match was originally scheduled to be played at Scully Park in Tamworth, however a relocation to Queensland due to COVID-19 has seen the fixture shifted to Browne Park in Rockhampton.

It will be the first ever NRL match played at the venue — giving the Rockhampton locals an opportunity to watch live first grade footy.

“We were meant to be playing in Tamworth, but I’ve got no doubt we’ll get back there at some stage because we really enjoy getting out to the country,” Maguire said.

We stay working

“We’re off to Rocky now and it’ll be great to get a crowd there. It’s always nice to play in front of fans. Our players really get a kick out of it.

“Fingers crossed we’ll get some Wests Tigers fans up there.”

Maguire confirmed a couple of experienced players will miss the trip to Rockhampton through injury.

“Unfortunately, [James Roberts] won’t be playing this week. We pushed him but he won’t be in the team,” the coach confirmed.

“He’s been in good spirits and he’s shown plenty of leadership in camp. He’s spoken openly around what needs to happen this weekend.

“[James Tamou] won’t be playing. He’s been struggling with a minor injury.”

Moses Mbye discusses decision to leave Wests Tigers

Maguire responded to media about reports the club is interested in signing English enforcer Luke Thompson from the Bulldogs.

“We seemed to get linked to most players which is nice,” he said.

“A player of that calibre is someone we’d look at, but where that will find itself, time will tell. We’re focused on what we’re doing right now.

“The organisation will look at opportunities when they come about, but our focus is on tomorrow’s game.”