Wests Tigers coach Jason Taylor says a pair of high-scoring wins to start his club's season may have been entertaining to watch but aren't the type of performance that will help his side into the finals.
In praising his team's defensive efforts in keeping a now co-ladder-leading Parramatta to just one try in Wests Tigers' 8-0 Easter Monday loss, Taylor was far more effusive of the Tgers' efforts without the ball despite a lack of cohesion in attack.
The Tigers raced out to a 28-4 lead against the Warriors in Round 1, which became 28-26 before a late try sealed it. In Round 2 a 16-2 lead against Manly evaporated to 16-all before a late surged saw them run out 36-22 victors.
After back-to-back losses, the coach hinted those wins may have papered over a few defensive cracks and given the team a false sense of security and led to a lack of cohesion in attack with the team just expecting things to happen.
"It has been a couple of games now that we've struggled to control it and the players know what it is. We sat down after the game and they told me what the problem was, I didn't need to tell them, they knew it," Taylor said after the Eels loss.
"But because we had some really great execution in those first couple of rounds it probably has had an impact. I know it's great to watch but I didn't love the fact we won those first couple of games with really high scores for and really high scores against.
"We've got to get our defence. If we want to play in the semi-finals you've got to improve the defence.
"We finished 11th in defence last year which was a big jump up from 16th the year before and we want to go again, we need to get higher."
Taylor pointed out there were teams in the top eight in 2015 in terms of points scored that missed the finals. The Raiders actually scored the second-most points of any side but missed the top eight.
"We finished sixth in attack last year but we didn't play in the semi-finals. A lot of teams that finished in the top eight in attack who didn't play in the semi-finals. Why? Because they didn't defend well enough. We need to improve that. The last two weeks were really positive in that regard," Taylor said.
The implication may be that the supposed attacking licence his side enjoyed in the opening fortnight may be getting reeled in. Taylor said the team was excited by its defensive achievements and just needed to tighten up its execution with ball in hand and cut down on the error rate.
"It was really positive from us the way we defended [Monday] and last week as well," he said.
"There are really great signs for us, it's early in the season and what we're looking at as coaches from our teams defensively in the last two games has been really good.
"The scoreboard blew out a bit last week [against the Titans] with a couple of extra tries than we would have liked but they were on the back of a bit of luck that went the Gold Coast's way.
"We're disappointed that we've lost that game but that is a really massive positive for us the way we've defended."