Wests Tigers players have declared they want to spoil Canberra’s NRL finals charge, eyeing sweet revenge six years in the making at Leichhardt Oval.
The Tigers have spent this week resigned to the fact they are about to claim the joint-venture’s maiden wooden spoon, needing a miracle to overtake Gold Coast for 15th place.
The club is also certain to finish with its worst-ever win-loss record, having picked up just four victories in a season marred by coach Michael Maguire’s axing.
But players insist there is still plenty to play for on Sunday.
Canberra will likely need a win to qualify for the finals in eighth place, presuming Brisbane take victory over St George Illawarra on Saturday.
That would set up a similar situation to the 2016 season, when the Tigers needed a win over the Raiders at Leichhardt on the final day of the season to play finals.
Ultimately they were thrashed 52-10 as their long finals drought continued, with the day best remembered for departing veteran Robbie Farah sitting on the scoreboard drinking afterwards, having been left out of the team.
Winger Starford To’a revealed on Wednesday that match had been spoken about briefly this week, as the Tigers look to get one back on Canberra.
“It would be nice for us to try and spoil the party,” To’a said.
“I’ve heard about (that 2016 game) on Monday. I think it was for the Tigers to get to the finals and they lost.
“I think that’ll be on the back of the boys’ minds. I think we’re talking about that, repaying the favour.”
Vice-captain Adam Doueihi also made no secret of what was on his mind when asked what the club had to play for.
“To make them not make the finals,” Doueihi said.
“It’s our last game at home. It has been a very disappointing season from a club’s perspective.
“There is still a lot to play for with a number of guys off-contract or wanting contracts.
“You don’t want to finish your season on a loss and the Raiders have a lot to play for, so we want to spoil their party, that’s for sure.”
Meanwhile Tigers players are unsure if they will be farewelling off-contract captain James Tamou, desperate to send him out on a win as he fights for another contract next year.
A call on whether that contract will be at the Tigers may be made as soon as this week, given the club would likely want to farewell the 300-game veteran on Sunday if he is not to be there in 2023.