Helensburgh eager to start finals footy
By Mitch Jennings - Illawarra Mercury
He's yet to see any complacency creep into his side's performance but Helensburgh coach Ryan Powell says the Tigers can't wait until week one of the play-offs to flick the finals switch.
With the minor premiership already sewn up a month out from the finals, the Tigers held off a fast-finishing Dapto outfit 20-14 at Dapto Showground on Saturday. It leaves them 12 weeks without a loss - their only defeat coming at the hands of Wests in round five - but they were certainly not at their best against a resilient Canaries outfit.
Powell denied complacency was a factor for his side but said they must start building momentum over the finals two matches of the year.
"None of us, the players or coaching staff were happy with what we did," Powell said.
"A lot of guys made mistakes, forward passes off the ruck, dropped balls off taps that we haven't been making all year and it just wasn't our way of doing things.
"I don't think it was complacency, we were up 14-0 in the first half and they had most of the ball on our try-line and we defended our try-line really well.
"A loss doesn't affect us, so if we were complacent we'd have just let them score, but the boys have got too much courage and pride in themselves to let teams beat them.
"With three minutes to go Dapto had all the running and we still held on, so we weren't by any means proud of what we did but we still did enough to win the game."
Helensburgh host second-placed Wests in a blockbuster clash at Rex Jackson Oval on Saturday ahead of a return clash with the Canaries at the same venue in the final round.
Powell said it's important his side hit their stride but the weekend game was not the way go into the finals.
"It's a good run ... we get a test against Wests then we come back at Dapto, so we're coming at second and third spot.
"We've got two home games, so we get to play in front of our home crowd where we want to play and that's a good way to prepare for a finals series."
Helensburgh looked to be doing it easy when they led 14-0 at half-time on the back of tries to Matt Riccio, Wayne Bremner and Azan Turoa.
Dapto fought back well in the second half with tries to Dylan Capaan and Nathan Jones in the space of five minutes to draw within two points in the 53rd minute.
Turoa and Troy Pieper traded tries late in the match to keep the game alive but Dapto couldn't find an equaliser.
Meanwhile, Thirroul's finals hopes hang in the balance after an upset 17-10 loss to Collegians while Wests had little trouble accounting for Corrimal 38-10.