Unbeaten Tigers on a Coal League mission

Helensburgh back-rower Chris Lewis says the Tigers are enjoying the view from the top of the ladder, with the side aiming to maintain its perfect start to the season when they play Wests on Saturday. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

Helensburgh back-rower Chris Lewis says the Tigers are enjoying the view from the top of the ladder, with the side aiming to maintain its perfect start to the season when they play Wests on Saturday. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

COAL LEAGUE 

The days of playing the underdog card are over for the Helensburgh Tigers.

Grand finalists last year, the Tigers are setting the pace atop the table in 2014.

After losing last year's final in extra time, the Burgh are on a mission to capture the club's first premiership in 21 years.

"It's funny because when I think of a benchmark team I always think of Wests and Collies, but I guess we've gotta be a benchmark team, considering we were in the grand final last year and were very close to winning it," Tigers back-rower Chris Lewis said.

"The boys really do want one, especially a couple of the older boys and our captain [Steve McCallum]. He's been with the club when it went through a poor patch of form, and now we've got a good team going and he's looking to get a premiership."

The unbeaten Tigers aim to maintain their perfect start when they travel to Parrish Park for Saturday's battle with Wests.

Helensburgh thrashed Corrimal 50-8 last week, while Wests lost to titleholders Collegians.

"Whenever you travel to Wests, it's always a tough game. We're looking forward to it," Lewis said.

"They've lost a couple of good players through injury but I'm told they played very well against Collies, so they'll be really strong competition. It's just a solid team all over. A big forward pack, good outside backs. There's no holes in them. They've got a good defensive side of the game, a good wrestle, and it's tough to score points against them."

The Tigers have been solid if unspectacular, though they are understandably cautious about peaking too early.

"We've played some up and down footy, but we've got out of it with two wins and a draw," Lewis said.

"We probably cost ourselves one against Thirroul, but other than that we've played pretty good in patches and we're looking all right. We're looking good for a solid run this year."

Lewis said the Tigers had adapted well under coach Ryan Powell after Ben Haran stepped aside at the end of last season.

"Powelly's a good coach," he said.

"He knows his stuff and makes it a good atmosphere at training."

Corrimal are chasing their first win in Saturday's home game against joint leaders Thirroul, while Dapto also hope to chalk up their maiden victory in their away game against Collies.

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