Tigers refocus after Campbelltown getaway
Wests Tigers players are hoping a bye-week camp in Campbelltown to refocus on what they need to be doing will provide the tonic to get their season back on track against the Titans at Leichhardt Oval on Friday night.
After winning three of their first five games the Tigers have won just one of six since, and a calamitous capitulation to Canberra in Round 7 in their only previous Leichhardt appearance – going down 30-22 after having led 22-0 after 25 minutes – was the hardest to take.
Despite their stuttering form and three straight losses coming into this week, the Round 12 bye pushes them up to 11th on the NRL Telstra Premiership ladder on 10 competition points, just a win behind the eighth-placed Panthers in a lower-mid-table logjam.
Halfback Luke Brooks said the bye came at a good time and the getaway to Campbelltown was useful to go through a few things that needed some attention.
"It was good to get a bye and have a few days off over the weekend so hopefully the boys are refreshed going into this week's game," Brooks told NRL.com at Leichhardt Oval on Monday.
"We had a camp at the start of [last] week, just spent a bit of time together and worked on a few things that needed to be worked on and I think it was good for us.
"It was a bit of training during the day and we had a few discussions at night about where we're at as a team and what we need to work on.
"It was about sticking to what we're being coached, everyone sticking together. We've had a few losses now in a row so as long as the team sticks together we'll hopefully be right coming out the back of that."
Back-rower Curtis Sironen said that with the body feeling a bit banged up after a couple of tough losses it was good to get a couple of days off the legs.
"We had a bit of a training camp in Campbelltown most of last week so we stayed out there and did three or four days of training then had the weekend off to watch a bit of footy," he said.
"It was trying to freshen everyone up. We did do a bit of training but it was more about seeing where we're at at this point of the year and what sort of goals we want to work towards.
"It was just about staying positive and making sure everyone's on board with what we were at the start of the year.
"We just looked at things like where we were at this point last year compared to now, what happened last year from this point onwards and how our defence is going, what we need to work on. Just the little things that every club would be doing."
The comparison to last year wouldn't have made exceptional reading: after 12 rounds in 2014 the club was just a win off the competition leaders, with seven wins and five losses. They fell away in the second half of the year to finish 13th.
But having taken stock, Sironen believes the outlook was far from doom and gloom.
"The more we look at it, it's not too negative as long as we can keep working on those little things we've lacked I think we'll be all right," he said.
With much of the squad (and especially the young playmaking combination of James Tedesco, Luke Brooks and Mitch Moses) still relatively inexperienced at NRL level there is plenty of room for improvement.
"A lot of us are still under 50 games in first grade, we're still all building together," he said.
"JT [coach Jason Taylor] is working towards us learning how to win in the NRL as well as playing footy.
"We do have a structure we want to implement and then we want to give guys like Brooksy, Teddy and Mitch free rein to go play some footy. It's just about finding that balance and we're still working towards that."