Wounded Tigers show some pride
At this stage, embattled Wests Tigers Mick Potter will take anything he can get.
Even if it's just 38 minutes of decent football that doesn't make you want to rip the eyeballs out of your sockets and toss them into the nearest wastebasket.
In the end on Thursday night it was a 30-10 cakewalk for a Bulldogs side that dozed off after half an hour. But the problem was that – for the past two weeks, at least – these Tigers were even letting sleepwalkers through their defensive walls and coming away with more meat pies than your local supermarket.
So when they not only managed to lull their opponents to sleep for 38 minutes, but outscored them 10-6, you go ahead and take what you can get.
"They've got a lot of pride, the players," Potter said post-game.
"I thought they gave a good account of themselves in the second half. I know the other team took a couple off, but you play what's in front of you. We never at any stage slackened off.
"I'm proud of what they did. I don't want them to make errors, and we made far too many. You can't let [that happen against] a top team, for us to concede so many errors. It just cruels you."
But still, for a coach whose credentials sensationally came into question during a public spat between his captain and a former player a month ago, his team never waved the white flag.
At least not last night.
"Yeah, that was a positive. We defended our line, I thought, well at times in that second half," he said.
"But they found us vulnerable on an edge there in that first half. To concede points the way we did was disappointing, but I was really pleased with our blokes' effort.
"They never gave up. I know the game got away from us early, but our blokes kept trying and that's pleasing from my perspective."
Skipper Robbie Farah echoed his coach's sentiments, but remained flustered with a left edge that leaked all four tries in the first half.
"We've obviously been disappointed and embarrassed in the performances of the last couple of weeks. 24-0 down in the first half, it probably could've ended up a similar scoreline. I guess the pleasing thing was we showed a bit of pride in the second half," he said.
"But in saying that, it's still not good enough. The errors that we came up with – I think seven in both halves – a lot of them were first or second tackle. And our left edge conceded four tries in the first half and the game was gone. Our execution's got to be better."
Halfback Luke Brooks failed to finish the game after limping off with a hamstring injury following his runaway 90-minute try in the 51st minute.
While it is not considered to be a major tear, there's a chance the second-year pro could miss the final two games of the season.
Couple that with Keith Galloway missing the match with a shoulder problem, the club's bulging casualty ward will have reached a staggering 11 players.
"We were going okay in the early part of the season. We've deteriorated as just before Origin, we started to get hit. It's gotten worse and worse. I think we're in double figures again now," Potter said.
"So it's unfortunate, but it gives some young guys an opportunity to play. They keep trying. They're loving the opportunity to play NRL. It's just disappointing for the team where you'd like to have thought if we had held together, we could've pushed for a top eight spot."