Farah: That's our new benchmark
Half Luke Brooks and fullback James Tedesco walked away with all the plaudits but Wests Tigers captain Robbie Farah has challenged his entire team to make Sunday's crushing win over the Titans their new benchmark.
Displaying the type of energy and penetration that was on show in the opening 20 minutes against the Dragons in Round 1, the Tigers took full advantage of a poor Titans outfit to deliver an 80-minute performance that netted them a 42-12 victory.
In stifling heat the Tigers grabbed the momentum of the game by the scruff of the neck and refused to let it go. Upon entering the sheds after full-time Farah immediately implored his teammates to deliver that effort on a weekly basis, starting with South Sydney on Friday night.
"Last week was disappointing because we knew we were a lot better than what we dished up last week. We knew we were better than that and we came up here to prove that," Farah said.
"We were pleased with that performance but as I said to the boys in the sheds afterwards, that's the benchmark now and good teams produce that week in, week out, so that's the challenge for us.
"Everyone talks about the potential that we've got but we need to turn that into success, and we're working hard. Everyone's tipping us for the wooden spoon but within this group, we're quietly confident about the way we're going."
It shapes as a very similar challenge for Brooks and Tedesco who were electrifying in attack but at 19 and 21 years of age are still learning how to produce NRL-standard performances for 80 minutes on a weekly basis.
There's no question that Tedesco, two years on from a cruel ACL injury, is developing at such a rate that he will soon join the conversation as one of the best fullbacks in the game. His combination with Brooks after just three games together is one Farah hopes to see in black and gold for a long time to come.
"Teddy's been playing great footy for a long time now," said Farah.
"Midway through last year you could tell he had got confidence back in that knee after that long-term injury and I thought, second half of last year, that he was our best player week in, week out. He's started the year well this year and everyone knows what 'Brooksy' can do.
"There are going to be times when they don't play that well and we've got to be patient with them but there's no doubt that they're exciting kids and players that we're hoping to build this club around."
While it is easy to get carried away with the excitement two young players such as Brooks and Tedesco bring to their team, Farah and coach Mick Potter were both at pains to laud the defensive efforts of the men in the middle.
The return of front row partner Keith Galloway appeared to work wonders for Aaron Woods while Martin Taupau, James Gavet and Sauaso Sue continued to rip into their work despite the difficult conditions.
"Defensively I thought we were very, very good. We forced a lot of errors which we haven't done previously and it was just good, aggressive rugby league and it was pleasing to watch," Potter said.
"I knew our players could do what they did today but it was being able to do it for 80 minutes. We finished our sets off poorly last week and this week was a different story.
"We're always striving for perfection and I think we went a lot closer today. As a result the other team were more fatigued than us at the end of the game and the scoreline reflected that."
Centre Chris Lawrence left the field midway through the first half with tightness in his right hamstring and will have scans on Monday to determine the extent of the injury.
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