Pressure will win games

Blown away: A second half surge by the Storm left the Panthers trailing 20-14 at full-time last Saturday.THE Melbourne Storm swept up a 20-14 victory over the Panthers Toyota Cup side last weekend but the forecast remains treacherous as Penrith coach Garth Brennan and his troops prepare to weather the competition’s two front runners.
Nanjing Night Net

What were your thoughts at full-time on Saturday afternoon?

Obviously disappointed but the boys are certainly competing very hard. We’ve lost a couple the last few weeks — we lost one by one point and two by six points — but we’ve certainly been in the game on each occasion.

The boys were leading 14-4 at half-time. How did things fall apart?

We didn’t really have good effective set ends. Our kicking was very poor, we didn’t build any pressure on them and it probably took its toll in the end. I don’t like to blame the referees, I haven’t done that all year, but calls that were questionable and the 50-50 calls we just didn’t get. It didn’t cost us the game but it doesn’t help.

Was there much difference between the team’s first and second half performance?

Yes and no. I just think the Storm lifted a cog in the second half and we didn’t. It’s tough preparation; up at five in the morning, airport, flight to Melbourne to play a game and in the back of their heads they know they’ve got to get back on a bus, a plane and a bus again back to Sydney on the same day. It’s very hard for young guys to stay mentally focused with a challenge like that.

Last week you spoke a lot about poor attitude, did you see any improvement?

Yeah, the boys are going out there, ripping in and having a go and that’s all I can ask. If we can build a bit of continuity with new players in the side, and with a bit of luck as far as players staying healthy, a win is not that far away.

Were there any stand-out individual performances against the Storm?Young Nick Walker, playing outside back in his second game of the year, and second-rower Tom Eisenhuth were both very good.

How tough are these next two weeks going to be? You’ve got the Canberra Raiders, who are placed second, followed by the New Zealand Warriors, who are placed first.

They’re the two benchmarks and it’s certainly going to be tough but we haven’t been getting flogged or beat by dud football teams. We’re still the best defensive side in the competition after 22 rounds, which is a good sign as far as attitude goes.

What do you need to do to shut the Raiders down?

Build some pressure, complete sets, get to a good kick at the end and defend strongly. They’re the best attacking team in the competition against the best defence so we’ll see who wins out.

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