There was a sense of familiarity about losing a match in the final seconds. Even more so when we consider the poor play that led to the opposition’s final possession. It was a reminder that a month isn’t such a long time in the NRL.
Everything about that performance against the Tigers was horribly disjointed. But let’s start with what can or can’t be controlled.
There are things in sport that you cannot control. Injuries, the bounce of the ball, referee decisions and the mentality of your opposition are mostly out of your control. However, you have absolute control of your own attitude, willingness and preparation. From the stands, I did not like what I saw.
There was something missing and it began in our willingness to work through the middle.
Our identity as a team is based on our forwards. That’s not to say that we don’t have very talented backs, but they play outstandingly well when our forwards hit in behind the ruck and create second phase.
Were our forwards to blame? Were our playmakers far too quick to shift from the middle to out wide?
I suspect there was equal blame to be shared around.
Was there something wrong with our preparation?
Our play on the field looked as disjointed and confusing as the team selection. I dont envy the coaches’ job in trying to cover all the injuries, but the composition of our 17 looked a little like moving deck chairs on the Titanic.
And unfortunately our team sunk.
When the siren sounded I stood and watched the reaction from our boys.
They dropped to their knees with their hands either on their head or hitting the ground. I’m convinced our players care, they care deeply and so I won’t lay the boot in anymore.
They knew the crowd was disappointed and realised they had let themselves down. Watching Nathan Brown throw his mouth guard in disgust as the field goal went over told me what I needed to know in that moment.
It was a terrible loss, and the boys played dumb, poorly-disciplined footy. They won’t hide from it, and they can’t if they want to take that next step.
I’ll back them to do so and it begins this week.
We venture up to Newcastle, which will be as tough as it always is for us.
The Knights will be desperate to get their season back on track. I hope to see us utilise our strengths. If we do that, our shifts will be more dangerous and our halves will have more holes to run into.
I want to see us run harder than the opposition and tackle more intently. No game in the NRL is guaranteed but the core ingredients for our victory will be composure and the re-emergence of our identity.
If that happens we will right the ship and in the long run, we need that even more than the two competition points.