Leading 18-10 at half-time against a quality Newcastle side and with fifth position up for grabs on a congested competition ladder, Wests Tigers conceded 28 unanswered points to be beaten 38-18, leaving Fletcher a very disappointed coach.
In the first half, we carried out the plan we wanted to execute and at 18-10, we were in complete control, Fletcher said.
I got this gut feeling at half-time that the players didnt seem right. On the way back to the coachs box, I thought we needed a bit of luck or an error from the kick-off to spark us. It didnt come. On our first set in the second half, we turned the ball over on play two.
All of a sudden the bad habits we started the season with were starting to creep back in. It just looked like for the first time in a side Ive been involved with as a Head Coach that the care factor went out the window.
They just seemed to not want to get dirty, not get back into the grind, or get into an arm wrestle. It was like football jerseys in the first half, dinner suits in the second.
I asked the players what happened after the game. Hardly anyone spoke. I dont know if they were dumbfounded or were in shock as to what went wrong. I just dont understand how you can be so good for the first 40 minutes and then so poor in the second half.
We were a better team in the first half with three converted tries. It showed on the scoreboard. We just seemed to be treading water in the second half. It got out to 26-18 and it all seemed a bit too hard for us.
There was no one willing to put their hand up to inspire. It was like a team of followers with no leaders. There were no positives from the second half. We didnt do anything constructive. It was the worst 40 minutes we have played this year.
The loss leaves Wests Tigers in seventh place on 18 competition points heading into this Saturdays match against Mounties at Campbelltown Sports Stadium at 3pm.
Mounties are coming off a good win and will be hungry again. We need to get some desire and show more resilience, Fletcher said.
We showed that in the previous two games when we were very good against bigger name teams and Played above ourselves to beat the Bulldogs and the Auckland Vulcans. I told the players how proud I was of them for those performances. There was nothing to be proud of yesterday. They let themselves down badly.