Paul Fletcher faces a battle within
By Wayne Cousins
Wednesday 31 July 2013 4:37 PM
The biggest danger to the Wests Tigers in the run into the NSW Cup finals won’t come necessarily from the opposition but from within.
That’s the view of Wests Tigers Coach Paul Fletcher who continues to search for answers as to how such a talented team can bring themselves undone so many times.
With six rounds remaining before the finals, Wests Tigers sit in sixth place and face a real acid test against the fifth placed Newtown at Henson Park this Saturday. A week later, Wests Tigers take on competition leaders Cronulla Sharks.
“I’ve told the boys the next two games will show me whether we are pretenders or contenders,’’ Fletcher said.
“My personal opinion is we are contenders but we have fallen into a bad habit this year where we switch off in games after getting out to very strong leads.
“The worrying part is that it has happened six or seven times this season. It has become a mental thing now.
"Our last game against Wyong was a prime example. We led 30-0 early in the second half but with 15 minutes to go, we led 30-18. Our error rate combined with fatigued is not acceptable.
Fletcher said some of his players were not even showing the opposition respect because of what the scoreboard read at times.
“I was very filthy with the boys after the Wyong game. I told them that we haven’t done enough to disrespect anyone,’’ he stressed.
“If we were 19 (wins) and 1 (loss), or 18 and 2, I could understand it but we haven’t done enough to warrant being disrespectful to anybody.
“In this competition, any team can beat each other. I know some of the top teams fear us because of what we are capable of but unlike Cronulla, we don’t go on with the job.
"We are still not being ruthless and relentless. We have only showed it once or twice this season. It is so frustrating.
“My biggest fear is we have had a few chances to get into the top four and we have let ourselves down badly.
“Last year, we came from eighth position at the start of the finals to make the grand final and were beaten by the seventh placed Newtown in the end.
“I don’t think it will happen again. The teams this season are better prepared because the NRL clubs are putting more of a focus now on the NSW Cup.
“I think you will find the grand finalists will come out of the top four. If we win this weekend and Windsor lose, we go into the top four.
"If that is not enough to excite my players six weeks out from the finals, then I don’t know what is.
“The next two weeks are highly important for this time of the year.”
Saturday, August 3
Henson Park, 3pm
Paul Fletcher is a really good coach and a great guy. He knows how to get the most out of the modern day footballer. His a players coach…they want to play for him and he gets the best out of the players by building them up.
That’s a matter of opinion. Let’s see how the team performs over the next 3 or 4 weeks. Still may not make the play offs.