Penrith prop James Tamou admits both he and senior forward Trent Merrin need to lift their performances if the Panthers are to be taken as serious premiership contenders after another great escape over Canberra on Sunday.
The emergence of Penrith's young gun Viliame Kikau and the team's overall game plan has shied away from the pair's usual dominance in the middle, sparking speculation they could be on the outer at the club.
Tamou (77 metres) and Merrin (63 metres) played their part in Sunday's win over the Raiders but experienced forward Tamou wanted to contribute more.
"I don't know where the criticism is coming from but you never know in this game with any player, it's been going on a while with people lacking a bit, including myself," Tamou told NRL.com before Monday's news that the club was parting ways with coach Anthony Griffin.
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"It's about us reacting and doing our job. We both know we have a lot more we can offer, it's just about putting it into practice.
"I'm happy to play on the back of the young guys and let them shine through but it doesn't mean that we have to be less effective.
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"If it means to win games, I know I've got a job to do and that's going through the middle and doing our work.
"It's our time now to put the emphasis on now and react to do our job better."
The Panthers face the Titans on Saturday as they look to push towards a top-four finish.
Tamou said it would be naïve of his team to not look into their slow starts of the past fortnight that have forced them to chase their heels on both occasions.
"A lot of positives but a lot to work on," Tamou said.
"It's a good thing where you get the two points and still look at the game knowing we've got a lot of improvement left.
"Sometimes you can win games and think nothing of it. We're getting there but are playing outside our structure sometimes, we don't want to go away from that but we are losing track of where we are on the field."
Penrith dominated the clash between the two sides earlier in the season at Panthers Stadium but their record against the Titans at CBUS Super Stadium is patchy – a win-loss-win-loss pattern since 2008.
"You can never think you're coming across a team, especially below the eight, and think they can't do a job on you," Tamou said.
"It's scarier with these teams because you don't know what they'll throw at you.
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"We've probably been guilty at being a little complacent but have managed to get ourselves out of it.
"We can't do that against the top sides in the competition and expect to get away with it."
Tamou is expecting to overcome a knock to the ankle in the side's win over the Raiders.