OFF: Timothy Payne runs with the ball for Wests against Isis earlier this season.
OFF: Timothy Payne runs with the ball for Wests against Isis earlier this season. Paul Donaldson BUN230717RUG8

Wests ready to take chance in the finals

LEAGUE: There was nobody more nervous than Wests coach Nathan Tanner on Sunday afternoon at Salter Oval.

Tanner watched Eastern Suburbs take on the Wallaroos in the knowledge a win by the Magpies would see the Panthers miss the finals.

A 34-22 win on Saturday against the Isis Devils put them one point ahead of Easts ahead of the final game of the regular season.

Tanner then viewed his side qualify for the finals after the Roos won 24-10 and ended Easts season.

"I was glad the game was over,” he conceded afterwards.

"I was sitting in the stands and it wasn't really over until the final few minutes.

"It was nerve wracking.”

Tanner said the side was now excited to take its spot in the finals after fighting all season with player availability.

"I'm glad we've got the opportunity,” he said.

"We've struggled all year for numbers and haven't had a full strength squad since round two.”

That was evident on Saturday against the Devils with 13 players in action.

"It was a tough game to win,” Tanner said.

"Isis had a fair side on the park and in its final home game gave it to us and had a strong bench.

"It was good to see out the match.”

But Tanner now expects a different Wests side now it is in the finals.

"We'll be at full strength for the first week,” he said.

"(Ilaiasi) Pongi came back this week and we expect Hayden Tanner to also be back.

"Now we have the quality to really give the finals a shake.”

Wests will take on The Waves in an elimination final on August 19 after they lost to Hervey Bay in the other game on Saturday night.

The 38-24 victory gave the Seagulls its third straight minor premiership.

The side will now have the first week off in the finals.



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