Tim Grant says the time for excuses is over for the Wests Tigers
MAY 20, 2017 6:55AM
NO more excuses. That’s the mantra ex-NSW prop Tim Grant believes the Wests Tigers must adopt, saying his besieged NRL club can no longer claim they are distracted by contract dramas.
The Tigers’ nightmare season somehow got worse as the joint venture was thumped 36-0 by Brisbane at a wet Suncorp Stadium on Friday night. They lost halfback Luke Brooks (hamstring) before kick-off, ensuring they had a new-look halves pairing following the sudden release of star pivot Mitchell Moses to Parramatta. Not much else went right as the second-last Tigers slumped to a six tries to nil loss.
Tigers coach Ivan Cleary admitted months of contract speculation about their star players was finally taking its toll on the field. But Tigers prop Grant claimed all the contract dramas were over following Moses’ Eels defection and would no longer be used as the reason for a poor performance.
“What impacts performance is uncertainty and most of that has been put to bed now,” Grant said.
“Everyone knows where everyone is going, so to keep going on about that is an excuse. “In my eyes that is probably over now. Hopefully that gives fans some peace of mind too.” Grant said the new mantra would work if they stuck together. “Training is the best place to be because we are all together,” he said. “It’s when you go home and people ask you what is happening that’s when the pressure is on and the mind starts wandering.” Cleary hoped the heavy loss to Brisbane marked their low point and they could now start rebuilding and is looking forward to next week’s bye. “Our club has had a lot of turmoil, a lot of speculation, a lot of scrutiny,” Cleary said. “It is coming out in our performance. “Change is coming but at the moment it is just trying to manage how we get through it. “We are in a bit of a hole at the moment. It’s probably a good time to get a week off.” Grant said their comeback plan was simply train well as a group and he expects Brooks to be back soon. “If it was a Sunday game he would have been right, but you don’t take a risk with your main playmaker,” Grant said.
There was plenty of battered pride but NSW prop Aaron Woods said his suspect hamstring pulled up well from Wests Tigers’ 36-0 NRL loss to Brisbane. And the Tigers have backed James Tedesco to retain the Blues No. 1 jersey when the NSW team is named on Monday night, despite a frustrating match against the Broncos. Incumbent NSW front-rower Woods returned from the injury that forced him to miss the trans-Tasman Test in Brisbane’s six-tries-to-nil rout at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night. The Tigers captain ensured some anxious moments for Blues coach Laurie Daley when he received extensive treatment on his hamstring at halftime and started the second stanza on the bench. After making a second half return to the field, Woods claimed he had emerged from his injury comeback unscathed.
“It was good to get the game under the belt, it was just frustrating the way we played,” Woods said.
“The hamstring is all right. I didn’t really worry about it too much during the game.” It would be a big relief for Daley who is expected to rely on Woods to lead the NSW pack in Paul Gallen’s absence.
Former Blues skipper Gallen retired from representative football at the end of last year and is not expecting a recall despite playing in the recent NSW City- Country clash. Canterbury’s David Klemmer and Cronulla X-factor Andrew Fifita are believed to be vying for the prop vacancy created by Gallen. Woods combined with Gallen to help NSW win the third Origin clash last year. Former Blues prop Tim Grant said Tigers teammate Woods deserved to keep his Origin spot despite his injury-affected lead-up.
“For sure, he is one of the pillars of the NSW team,” he said. Tedesco is also expected to feature in Daley’s team despite a night to forget against Brisbane.
The Tigers fullback couldn’t take a trick, having three tries disallowed and copping a second half sin bin stint for a professional foul. Brisbane scored two tries while Tedesco was sidelined. Tigers coach Ivan Cleary believed Tedesco had done enough to hold out the challenge of rivals Jarryd Hayne of Gold Coast, Penrith’s Matt Moylan and North Queensland No. 1 Lachlan Coote. “I thought every time he touched the ball (against Brisbane) he looked dangerous,” Cleary said. “I would expect him to be picked for sure.” Grant described Tedesco as “the best fullback that NSW have to offer”.