Round 3 NSW Cup Preview

Following an impressive start to the season from halfback Josh Drinkwater, Wests Tigers coach Paul Fletcher is hoping for more of the same from his no.7 ahead of Saturday’s clash with the Bulldogs.

Drinkwater has led his side to consecutive victories in the opening two rounds of the VB NSW Cup and his coach has been thrilled with his form.

“I’ve been really impressed with Josh. He’s been great for us in the halves and he’s doing a great job keeping the boys in our structure. His kicking game has been exceptional in the first two matches,” Fletcher said.

After a narrow first-round defeat at the hands of last year’s premiers, Penrith, Canterbury produced another solid display last weekend against the Warriors to claim their first win of the season.

The Bulldogs boast a host of NRL players in their side and Fletcher is fully aware of the dangers they possess right across the park.

“They were unlucky to get beaten by Penrith in round one and last week against the Warriors they were very good. They’ve got a strong team there with good go forward and some craftiness in their halves, so it’s not going to be an easy task,” he said.

Fletcher’s theory behind winning games in the early stages of the season is playing simple footy.  For most of his side’s opening victories, the Tigers have been disciplined with ball in hand.

They’ve been impressive without being spectacular and it’s this formula that has the Tigers sitting atop the ladder alongside the Panthers and Mounties.

“I think the first six weeks is basically about who completes the best because everyone is trying to work out their timing and getting into the competition. I find that the first six weeks is all about having a low error rate and defending well,” Fletcher said.

Despite sitting at the top of the VB NSW Cup ladder, Fletcher admits there is still plenty of room for improvement ahead of Saturday’s clash at Leichhardt Oval. 

“When we led 18-12 at half-time last week, the first 10-15 minutes of the second half we went away from our game plan and started dropping balls in our own half and ultimately paid the price,” he said.

“If you give any team in this competition back-to-back sets they are going to hurt you. Luckily it didn’t cost us the match.”

West Tigers v Canterbury: Leichhardt Oval, Saturday 21 March, 3.00pm

This article first appeared on www.nswrl.com.au