Wests Tigers coach Jason Taylor has defended his troops by labelling their 8-0 loss to the Cowboys and the situation they are currently facing "not as bad as it looks".
Despite falling to their seventh loss in nine games against a Cowboys team who were missing Origin quartet Johnathan Thurston, Michael Morgan, James Tamou and Matt Scott, Taylor defended the path the Tigers were currently travelling.
Despite making 51 tackles less than their opponents, Taylor said the Tigers' defensive patterns have put a strain on their attack.
"We can't go the other way around either, we can't say let's throw the ball around and hope to get some points and we know that when we tire we'll let some in but hopefully we've scored enough," Taylor said.
"That's been the motto at Wests Tigers for a long time, they're the facts. But it hasn't worked since 2005 and we're about changing that. We are heading down the path of changing and regardless of the team we played, we conceded one try and our defence was probably the best it's been all season.
"We have some challenges ahead for us, we have to be head down, bum up and working really hard, but it's not as bad as it looks is my message to our boys. We made some improvements, we have a simple goal this season and we did well in regards to that goal. Albeit the result in the end wasn't good enough."
In what was ultimately a scrappy performance from both teams on Saturday night, Taylor acknowledged the game as tough rather than dour and said the Cowboys' lone-try in the 77th minute through Antonio Winterstein was a shining light in an otherwise disappointing evening where the club celebrated 10 years since winning the grand final in 2005.
"We're working really hard to change the way this team plays because we're coming from a long way behind, in regards to matching it with the best teams in the competition and one try against us was a major positive for us," Taylor said.
"That's what we're working towards, that's the path we're on. We're on the path to toughening up as a team and you say dour but you could easily say tough – we toughed it out better than what we have done in most of our games this season.
"Last year we were dead last in defence and the only reason we weren't bottom of the ladder overall was because there was some attacking ability in this team. You can't come last and be anywhere near the top eight so we're on the path to changing the way we play.
"Is that going to happen this year where we can get ourselves into the top eight? I'm not sure but we're on that path and the plan is to stick to it."
Taylor was unsure of how severe the ankle injury to Tim Simona was, after the centre failed to return after halftime in his first game back since injuring the same ankle in the Pacific Test three weeks ago.
"We're not sure, we were hopeful he'd come back out after half-time but he didn't," Taylor said. "Tim obviously had an ankle injury recently, it's the same ankle and a similar injury but not exactly the same in that his ankle twisted the other way."