SHEENS: ‘OUR WORST SECOND HALF SINCE I’VE BEEN HERE’
By Wayne Cousins
24/04/2010 11:11:19 PM
Dejected and frustrated, Wests Tigers Coach Tim Sheens tonight walked into the post match press conference to answer questions over his side’s mistake riddled loss to the Penrith Panthers at CUA Stadium.
Moments beforehand, Sheens expressed his feelings to his players deep inside the team bunker. The loss leaves Wests Tigers with four wins from the first seven matches.
Sheens wasted little time in summing up the performance when asked his first question.
“I think that was our worst second half, from the point of view of our attack, our completions and pressure mounting on the opposition, that we’ve had since I have been here,’’ said Sheens, who has been in the Wests Tigers colours since 2003.
“I think we were nine from 18 and I think a couple of those nines we were lucky. We are just not completing the sets and building pressure. We are trying to play from our own end all of the time. The amount of pressure our offence is putting on our defence is high.
“It is a credit to the boys that they hung in. We could have had 50 put past us. We can’t keep doing that week in, week out. The last month in particular, we have had a couple of wins in the Canberra and the Cowboys games, and then the two losses. Our tackle count is just going higher and higher.
“To the credit of the boys, and to Steve Folkes and the conditioning crew, they are hanging in there. We have got a few injuries and we are not going to make excuses but there were so many fundamental errors there tonight in the second half that just became frustrating. Every ball we are getting we played out of our own end.”
Sheens spoke at half-time about needing to play the big Penrith forwards in their own quarter in order to make them work harder. It didn’t happen, much to the coaching staff’s frustration.
“We needed a good go forward and a good kicking game. We came out there and we didn’t complete our first four sets. We were always under the pump then.
“I thought we had a real dig in the first half and given it is always hard here for us, we were in the game
“I am just disappointed that we went out in the second half and got ourselves in quick sand and we couldn’t get out.
“We just required back to back completed sets, that’s all we needed. When we did, we got a line drop out and we scored when Benji put Chris Lawrence over on a repeat set.
“We got down the other end and put some pressure on them. It is simple stuff.
“We thrashed it all out (in the dressing room) and our minds are already on next week.”
Equally disappointed was captain iand hooker Robbie Farah, who played through the pain of a torn ligament in his left elbow. Farah said it came down to each individual’s effort.
“We are making simple mistakes that you expect from a park football team – silly offloads, not getting up and playing the ball properly, forcing the pass,’’ he said.
“At the moment, we are rolling our sleeves up and working hard in defence but in attack, we are looking for the easy option instead of getting into the grind and playing five tackles, kick chase, kick chase, and wait for them to make a mistake.
“I thought we were on tonight. We were in the end game at half-time, so energy wasn’t an issue.
“It is just simple mistakes. Our completion in the second half was poor. You are not going to win footy games when you do that, especially in an away game.
“It was not only mistakes but discipline as well. Too many penalties that piggy backed them down in our end. Those big guys become dangerous when they are attacking our tryline. They are not so dangerous when they are coming off their own tryline. You give them ball in your own half and they are too hard to hold out.”
Sheens also defended rookie half-back Blake Lazarus, who was playing just his second NRL game. He may have had the seven jersey on but Lazarus spent the majority of the game at full-back, shifting Beau Ryan back to the wing. Marshall and utility Daniel Fitzhenry spent plenty of time in the halves.
“It was a bit of a hole losing Tim Moltzen and it has been tough on Blake Lazarus too when his forwards don’t lay a platform,’’ Sheens stated.
“If you don’t lay a platform and you turn the ball over and all you are doing is defending, it is pretty hard for the kid. That happened last week and in happened in the second half tonight.”
Lazarus may retain the half-back role for the clash against the Sydney Roosters at Campbelltown Sports Stadium on Sunday, May 2. The other option is to bring Robert Lui back in after he started the season in the seven jersey. Lui has missed the past few weeks with an ankle injury.
“Lui is tipped to return next week but with the bye the week after, I am not sure whether he will be ready,’’ Sheens said.
“He has got to have a full week’s training. If he runs for a full week, he will then be considered but he has missed a bit of footy too, so we will wait and see what happens there.”