GREAT article from Phil Gould……he absolutely nails it.
The whole article can be summarised as “we are SOFT”. Hopefully this gets read by every player in the team.
Scary thing is though that these exact same problems have been there for years. Maybe they just can’t change?
Sheens has a problem: Tigers short on ticker when the going gets tough
Wests Tigers need to toughen up. The talent of their individual players is unquestioned.
Their skill and flair rivals that of any team in the NRL competition.
With ball in hand they are creative and extremely dangerous from anywhere on the field. However - and it is a very big however - they do not possess the necessary grit or mental toughness I would expect from a professional football team.
Football is more than tricky passes, sneaky kicks, trick shots and entertaining the crowd. For a start, you have to spend half of every game without the ball, so you need to learn to enjoy your time in defence and make it work for you.
The Tigers have developed this annoying habit of only wanting to compete when the going is easy. When the run of play or luck goes against them, they leak points like a park team, and only become interested again when they get the ball back in good field position and can go back to attacking football.
Yesterday they dominated possession in the early stages and ran the Roosters ragged with some wonderful attacking football. They led 12-0 after 20 minutes and the score could’ve been so much more had they not met some determined Roosters’ defence.
As is the case with most games, flow of possession changes and as soon as the Tigers were called upon to do some tackling they lost interest in the game. In the next 40 minutes they conceded 38 unanswered points and the match was over. The most unbelievable part of this period was the fact they did not improve one iota following a half-time chat with coach Tim Sheens.
At this point they only trailed by eight and most anticipated their poor end to the first half would inspire a stirring second-half revival. When they returned from the dressing rooms they were worse.
They were bunched in attack. They ran sideways with the ball, offering up easy tackles for the hungry Roosters’ defence. In defence they applied no pressure whatsoever.
A sign a team has lost touch with the contest is when it does not harass opposition kickers on their tackle-five options. Sheens only needs to replay vision of Roosters halfback Mitchell Pearce running 10 metres uncontested before getting away a long clearing kick.
Even allowing for uncomfortably hot weather at the SFS yesterday, too many Tigers gave up on each other when the blowtorch was applied.
They allowed the score to get away from them before rallying with a few late tries. The final result will show they were beaten 44-32. Had they shown some grit and hung in during the tough periods, they only had to save a couple of tries to give themselves a chance of victory.
However, I don’t want to take any credit away from the performance of the Roosters.
They showed great resolve to keep themselves in the match when the Tigers were running hot. When they got the chance to play some attacking football of their own they were not only clinical, they were devastatingly ruthless.
Their forwards toiled away admirably in the steamy conditions - none better than back-rower Nate Myles, who looks fitter and hungrier.
I like the look of new boy Aiden Guerra. He scored two tries running off passes from playmakers Todd Carney and Braith Anasta. He has great anticipation, an awareness of where to run and brilliant timing when coming on to the ball.
The Roosters’ attack is well organised and well directed by Pearce. They can attack both sides of field. The best part of their offence is they are scoring tries through creativity in their passing game and not just relying on the kick-and-hope mentality of recent years.
Their defence is enthusiastic and well schooled. They will be hard to beat in any game they play.
The Tigers, on the other hand, are only hard to beat when they have the ball. That’s not enough to make it in this competition.
Spot on 100% correctamondo.
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Some will use the excuse that the short turn around, and the heat were factors and perhaps they were. The fact is though that we showed similar signs in round one. Until it improves it’s hard to label us a contender really. More like pretender.