Tigers to embark on camp to end woes
The Wests Tigers will embark on a two-day camp during the week of the bye next week in order to put the horror two-month period of turmoil at the club behind them and try to salvage something from the 2017 season before it slips away completely.
Still licking their wounds after a 36-0 thumping by the Broncos on Friday night that puts them in danger of sitting last by the end of Round 11, Tigers players and coach Ivan Cleary are hoping that it marks the low point of their period of upheaval that has seen Cleary replace Jason Taylor and star five-eighth Mitchell Moses allowed to this week leave for Parramatta.
Speculation regarding the futures of Moses, Luke Brooks, Aaron Woods and James Tedesco has been the dominant point of discussion around the Tigers all season but the departure of Moses and finalisation of deals taking Woods and Tedesco elsewhere in 2018 should allow the club to move forward with greater clarity.
Veteran front-rower Tim Grant conceded that the events of the past two months have taken their toll on the playing group but any reference to that as a reason for losing from this point forward is merely an excuse.
"What impacts performance is uncertainty and most of that is put to bed now," Grant said.
"Everyone knows where everyone is sort of going and who is coming in so to keep going on about that is probably an excuse.
"In my eyes that's over now and it's given the fans some peace of mind as well. Instead of worrying about who we're losing they're getting excited about who we're going to gain which is a positive for them.
"But it's just an excuse if we keep bringing that up. We've got to find a way. It's been positive rocking up to training and finding a way to enjoy what we're doing and that's the only way out.
"To be honest training is the best place for us to be because we're all together. When you go home and people are asking you what's happening and that sort of stuff, that's when the pressure is on and your mind starts wandering.
"But when we're at training everyone's in the same boat and having a laugh and having a good time so the best place for us to be now is at training and all together and working hard."
Cleary remained philosophical in the wake of the heavy defeat, lamenting the four times his side crossed the Broncos' line without being given a single point to show for it and the bounces of the ball that seemed to constantly evade his players' hands.
After six games in charge Cleary said that the club's first bye had come at just the right time and hoped that they could get enough work done to set them up for a positive run in the second half of the season.
"We've just got to stick together and keep working because that's really the only option," Cleary said.
"The boys have done it thus far but we've just got to keep working at it and all of a sudden the harder you work the luckier you get.
"We're just lacking that confidence and synergy where things take care of themselves but we've just got to keep working at it.
"We did have a lot of things go against us tonight but that's just the position we're in. These type of situations happen, we're just in a bit of a hole at the moment.
"It's probably a good time to have a week off."
Captain Aaron Woods made a successful return from a hamstring injury that will almost certainly secure his position in the New South Wales team for Origin I but admitted that the team must become mentally tougher to be able to stay competitive in games.
"When things go bad they get worse so we've got to be a bit more mentally tougher as a team and we've got to push through those situations," Woods said.
"The first 15 [minutes] was really good but we let a few soft tries in and they were back to back and just our errors where we gave them the ball. A side like Brisbane you just can't do that, they'll punish you every time.
"It's a lesson we've got to learn and we've got to learn it very quickly."