Wests Tigers coach Michael Maguire got the response he was seeking – if not the result.
After axing five members of the team that succumbed 28-23 to Gold Coast last week, including captain Benji Marshall, Maguire was pleased with the effort of his new look team in their 14-6 loss to Canberra.
The next step now is to becoming a club that consistently plays finals football is to play like the Tigers did in the first half for the full 80 minutes and do it week-in and week-out.
“We basically played the style I asked for in the first half and we just went away from what we were doing really well in the second half,” Maguire said. “I thought the effort and how the boys worked hard for each other was good.”
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“We were obviously playing against a team that has been doing the habits we formed in the first half for a long time. They are a team that have been in finals series now and they have practiced what we have done in the first half over and over.”
Maguire wouldn’t be drawn on whether he would continue to tinker with his team, or whether Marshall would be recalled.
Recalled playmaker Josh Reynolds was among the Tigers' best, along with fullback Adam Doueihi, who ran a game high 282 metres with the ball.
“I thought Josh was good and I thought the team played really well, we have just got to do it for longer periods of time,” Maguire said
“If we put that same effort in last week maybe it would have been a different result. That is what I spoke about after the game, the inconsistencies of where we are as a club, and we now need to build on that today.
“That is the expectation this week, we need to drive our standards higher and for longer periods of time. I have seen that at clubs prior to coming to Wests Tigers.
“That’s how you get to the top end of the competition, we have just got to continually go back to the things we did tonight.
“At the moment I am trying to find the consistency I asked for last week. I thought that everyone put the effort in tonight, that’s one thing I saw and that’s the response you get. You expect that off the back of a performance I thought was unacceptable last week.”
The Tigers led 4-0 at half-time but lost their way early in the second half after Raiders five-eighth Jack Wighton scored a try and former Kiwis prop Russell Packer was sin-binned.
Canberra winger Nick Cotric scored while Packer was off the field and the 2019 grand finalists hung on to secure the win.
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“We were able to build pressure and I thought defensively at times in the second half we actually put some really good defensive sets on and that comes back to the effort and working really hard for each other,” Maguire said.
“It could have swung either way and unfortunately Russ got sent off and it put a bit more pressure on us there but I saw the effort of the players and if we do that continually that is where we want to take the club.”