Tamou: Panthers deserve to have selection axe looming
James Tamou concedes he and his Penrith teammates deserve to be in the selection firing line for a reliance on last-minute jailbreaks that threaten to turn them into finals fodder for the NRL's top sides.
Rookie coach Cameron Ciraldo threatened to wield the axe after the Panthers' underwhelming loss to Newcastle, having previously stolen wins over also-rans Manly, Canberra and the Gold Coast with a flurry of late tries in each.
The return of Kiwi international James Fisher-Harris from a shoulder injury will force at least one change for this Friday's crunch clash with the Warriors in Auckland.
Veteran prop Tamou said Penrith's recent form warranted a selection shake-up and that he took responsibility as a senior player for their habit of surrendering sizeable leads before reeling them back in.
"Every time you come off a performance like that you have to look at yourself and be accountable," Tamou said.
"We're looking to do big things here and we're chasing perfection ... [a selection shake-up] may be the case, then so be it.
"You want to put your hand up and settle the team down a bit and do your job really.
"I think we've seen over the last couple of weeks that we've just left it too late and things have happened for us. We've been lucky to score a couple of tries in quick succession and I think that's crept into our game a bit.
"As a senior bloke that's up to me and us to settle down, get back to what we need to - maybe a settler or something like that. Just getting back to simplified football and what works for us."
The shock loss to Newcastle drops Penrith out of the top four once more. In the tightest top eight in the game's history, just two wins separate front-runners Melbourne and the eighth-placed Warriors.
Having returned from an ankle injury via the bench against the Knights, Tamou has also been increasingly linked to an early exit from his $3 million, four-year deal with the Panthers over the past few months.
The former Kangaroos and NSW Origin prop has been hampered by injuries and inconsistency since arriving from the Cowboys at the end of 2016, with the 29-year-old aware of reports he has been shopped to rivals of late.
"I've heard it. I haven't spoken to anyone at the club or management," he said on Monday.
"That's obviously a wait and see what happens [situation].
"As a family man with kids, that's something I'd definitely have to address if something has to come up, if something has to arise I'd have to sort it out."