Panthers raise bar, but miss the first jump
For an accurate description on how much the Panthers expect of themselves this year, you only have to hear what the normally conservative captain had to say after their 32-8 loss against the Tigers in their first trial match of the year.
The Panthers were shut out 14-0 in the first half and finished the game conceding six tries to two.
"We trained all off-season [and] for a performance like that, it's pretty disappointing," an upset Kingston told reporters after the game.
"In trials, you're not keen on points. But effort, hunger, and want are a couple of things you want to see and we didn't see them [on Saturday night]."
Missing a host of front-liners in Dean Whare, Jamal Idris, David Simmons, Jamie Soward, Peter Wallace, Brent Kite, Elijah Taylor, Lewis Brown, Nigel Plum and Sika Manu, the Panthers failed to score in the first half and were outplayed by an energetic Tigers outfit missing only Robbie Farah, Liam Fulton and Keith Galloway.
"There's a couple of excuses there. It's hot and things like that, but we won't use any of them because the guys we put on the park should do a job for us," Kingston continued.
"The bar's been raised over the last couple of years. We expect better from the boys. We're looking for a few guys to put their hand up because there is competition for spots. Yes, it's a trial and it's not do-or-die. It's not the be all and end all. But we were looking for a better performance."
Coach Ivan Cleary was a bit more subdued, and admitted that the trial "answered a few questions" about his squad.
"That's pretty much summing up what trials are about," he said. "You find out what you don't know. A few questions were answered there for us tonight. But in the end it was a hit out and the guys have that first game under their belt. But we were outplayed tonight."
One player that stood out was Sharks buy Tyrone Peachey, and Cleary predicted the talented ball-player would get better when surrounded by a stronger line-up.
"It's a good thing to play his first game for us. Obviously [it will be] a little bit different when we get a stronger side together," Cleary said.
"Obviously the boys are sitting in there feeling like we've got a bit of work to do, but that's the way it goes. It's good to get the first one out of the way and we'll move on from there."