Wests Tigers five-eighth Braith Anasta took over much of the long kicking duties last week. Copyright: NRL Photos/Robb Cox.

Seven tackles make Tigers over-thinkers

Listen up all you halfbacks out there, because we're about to solve this seven-tackle conundrum once and for all, just in time for Members Round

Think about this: If you think you're over-thinking things out there, then we think that you are.

Did that make sense? Did you get it? Still thinking about it? Or are you still metaphorically standing on that 20m line or wherever else you kicked it dead from, wondering how the hell the other team is now in your red zone?

It doesn't matter if you're shrivelling like Braith Anasta or teething like Luke Brooks, the Tigers have just figured out that the new rules aren't designed to make you the next Russian chess-master.

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In case you missed the pre-season memo, according to the brains trust at Concord seven tackles means you're going to have to start looking at what's in front of you instead of what's in that playbook of yours.

In other words: Plaaaaay ball!

"It [the new rules] does affect your kicking game. I think at the start of the season [more so] because you are thinking about not putting it dead, because you get seven tackles," Anasta said, having emphatically learnt that lesson last weekend.

"There's no doubt myself and Brooksy spoke about it after the game, we just need to eliminate the thought process there. Stick to our usual game plan and not worry too much about the new rules in terms of kicking it dead, because it can put you off your kicking game. I think it did that to us to a certain degree on the weekend."

Normally composed Tigers coach Mick Potter was livid with his team's last-tackle options in their 44-24 drubbing at the previously toothless Dragons.

They had raced out to a 12-0 lead, only to let the opposition back into the game with a comedy of try attempts that mainly resulted in the other team getting a free ride up the field.

"Because of the new rules, you need to get your fifth-tackle options right because you've got to try and get that ball back and you can't give away easy possession," Anasta said.

"That's what we did too often. In particular the second half, I don't think we had one good fifth-tackle option. Myself, Robbie [Farah] and [Luke] Brooksy, we've been working hard on that already this week. It wasn't acceptable and we'll make sure it's better this weekend."

Anasta, 32, treated last week's deflating loss like the 15-year pro from Old Bar that he is.

"We thought it was a hell of a lot worse after the game than what it really was," he said, insisting that many of their problems were "fixable".

"We put pressure on ourselves. There's no doubt that we gave too many penalties away and our fifth-tackle options were poor. We put too much pressure on our defence really and we couldn't hold out any longer.

"It's fixable. We've worked hard on our fifth-tackle options this week and obviously with the new rule changes, we've got to get used to the defence and making sure we don't give teams piggy-backs and it just puts pressure on your defence and you lose momentum in games.

"That's what happened to us when we got to the lead, we got a few penalties against us and momentum completely shifted."

The trick will be to teach his teenaged halfback that lesson too, because chances are he's over-thinking the fact that he's not supposed to think about what happened seven days ago.

"Brooksy's gonna learn every game. We've got to help him and we probably didn't help him enough on the weekend, in particular myself, especially with our kicking game," Anasta said.

"You gotta get confidence in first-grade. It's only one performance away and one week away.

"That's all we've pretty much said [to him]: 'Don't dwell on it mate, come out and have a big game this week, have a blinder, have a good kicking game, score a try or two, set up a couple and all of a sudden you're back to where you were and you're on top of the world'.

"Things change very quickly."

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