Water Cooler: Tigers 'don't have it upstairs'

They have come under fire for failing to shut out a game that they had in their keeping, but Balmain greats Wayne Pearce and Benny Elias believe Wests Tigers must keep attacking if they are to challenge the big guns come September.<br><br>The Tigers lost the unlosable game against South Sydney on Saturday night, throwing away a 28-12 lead with 30 minutes remaining to go down 34-30 in golden-point extra time.<br><br>The Footy Show co-host and NRL.com columnist Peter Sterling yesterday accused Tim Sheens’ men of getting carried away with fancy football and failing to shut up shop, but Elias and Pearce both disagreed when grilled about where the Tigers went wrong.<br><br>Instead, Elias said that the side lacked the mental strength to challenge the top sides and pinpointed a decision by Benji Marshall to take a shot at goal in the 60th minute as evidence of their flaws.<br><br><a href="http://www.nrl.com/gameAnalyser/tabId/10910/default.aspx?seasonID=240?seasonid=240&amp;roundid=858&amp;fixtureid=50020102204&amp;videoquality=1&amp;type=penaltygoal&amp;period=2&amp;time=1506" target="_blank">CLICK HERE to see Marshall's crucial decision to take the two points.</a><br><br>“They should have kept attacking,” Elias said today. “That incident when Benji kicked the goal to give us a 12-point lead – we had them choked.<br><br>“We had them completely gone and we went for two points instead of choking them.<br><br>“A professional side would have gone for the try.<br><br>“Souths had 11 first grade players out, we were supposed to win and we were winning by a healthy margin but we didn’t go for the jugular.<br><br>“I shook my head when they made that decision and if they don’t learn from it they can forget about this season.”<br><br>The Tigers are renowned as one of the NRL’s most exhilarating attacking teams and their ability to create points has helped them get out of jail on a number of occasions this season.<br><br><a href="http://www.nrl.com/gameAnalyser/tabId/10910/default.aspx?seasonID=240?seasonid=240&amp;roundid=855&amp;fixtureid=50020101908&amp;videoquality=1&amp;type=try&amp;period=2&amp;time=864" target="_blank">CLICK HERE to see Marshall combine with Lote Tuqiri to get the Tigers out of trouble in Round 19.</a><br><br><a href="http://www.nrl.com/gameAnalyser/tabId/10910/default.aspx?seasonID=240?seasonid=240&amp;roundid=840&amp;fixtureid=50020100406&amp;videoquality=1&amp;type=try&amp;period=1&amp;time=2446" target="_blank">CLICK HERE to Marshall spark something from nothing against the Raiders in Round 4.</a><br><br>But their strength can also be their weakness.<br><br>Despite scoring 30 points against Souths on Saturday night, they were guilty of bombing a number of other tryscoring opportunities and paid the price as the Rabbitohs roared back into the game in the final 20 minutes.<br><br><a href="http://www.nrl.com/gameAnalyser/tabId/10910/default.aspx?seasonID=240?seasonid=240&amp;roundid=858&amp;fixtureid=50020102204&amp;videoquality=1&amp;type=handlingerror&amp;period=2&amp;time=1676" target="_blank">CLICK HERE to see a golden opportunity gone begging after Marshall chipped and regathered past the Rabbitohs' defensive line.</a><br><br>However, Pearce rejected claims that the Tigers should rein in their attacking style – insisting defence alone was the side’s problem.<br><br>“I don’t agree that they should have shut down – I think it was more of a defensive issue than anything with their attack,” he said. “Defensively they lost their mettle. <br><br>“They weren’t getting off the line quickly and weren’t competing in the play-the-ball and Souths got a roll-on on the back of that.”<br><br>Pearce acknowledged that the Tigers often pushed their limits too far but said it would be counterproductive for them to move away from their strengths.<br><br>“They do tend to overplay their hand sometimes – at times they don’t know when to fold ’em and just take the tackle, work the set out and get a repeat set,” he continued. <br><br>“They push passes that aren’t on, but that’s the difficulty with a team like that – you can’t take it completely away from them because then you go into a mode where all you do is hit the ball up like the Dragons do.<br><br>“It’s an issue but if you keep attacking and at the same time are punishing with your defence then you still should be able to shut the game down. <br><br>“Souths were the ones that had to play catch-up footy so if your defence is still moving up, you’re going to force errors. <br><br>“You can either go into conservative mode – which is not really the Tigers’ style – or you can fire up in defence.”<br><br><a href="http://www.nrl.com/gameAnalyser/tabId/10910/default.aspx?seasonID=240?seasonid=240&amp;roundid=858&amp;fixtureid=50020102204&amp;videoquality=1&amp;type=try&amp;period=2&amp;time=2704" target="_blank">CLICK HERE to see John Sutton slice through some weak defence in the 77th minute.</a><br><br>Elias said it was crucial that the Tigers learnt from last week’s loss.<br><br>“If anybody has watched the Tigers’ last two or three games and think that they are premiership pretenders right now, they are kidding,” Elias said.<br><br>“The senior players really need to look back at what was bad, dismal, pathetic and disappointing about that game and learn from it.<br><br>“They need to rectify it and they’ve got six days to do so. The talent is there, the ability and the coaching staff – it’s all there.<br><br>“But it’s not about the physical side of things or fitness, it’s about really thinking about what went wrong and why.<br><br>“At the end of the day, when you’re ahead by 10 points and you’re playing the South Sydney reserve grade team you need to send a message that you’re confident and arrogant enough to go for the try.<br><br>“It might be a bit harsh but sometimes you’ve got to be honest to achieve a positive and if they can take something positive away then they can be a good side.”