How difficult has it been this week trying to lift the players in the wake of the bitterly disappointing defeat at Widnes on Sunday?
There’s no doubt this is a tough time, and the Widnes defeat was extremely disappointing.
You don’t like to lose at any stage, but we’ve lost a few (four Super League games on the trot) in a period of a month and that’s hit us hard.
We’ve clearly got a lot of players down on confidence at the moment, so one of the keys is to re-build that confidence as quickly as we can.
And we also need to re-build our game and get back to doing the things that work well for us as a team. Once we do that, we know we’ll have a strong finish to the year.
And I think it’s important that no-one loses sight of the fact that we’re not the only side in the competition this season that’s been doing it tough at some stage of the year.
In fact, Wigan are the only real exception. This time last year it was Warrington, who in the end didn’t make any of the finals, so who knows what’s going to happen between now and the end of the season!
It really is a very, very strange competition at the moment, with lots of sides beating lots of sides, and everyone’s having a period that’s not great.
None of us as coaches and players like it, but it’s just the way it is right now.
To be honest, it’s left a lot of coaches scratching their heads wondering what on earth is going on!
So what needs to be improved for Monday’s home game against Hull KR?
Lots of things!
For a start, three of the four tries we conceded against Widnes came from kicks, so we’ve clearly got to work on that part of our defence.
Then there’s that game sense which we spoke about straight after Sunday’s game.
At the moment, we just don’t seem to understand the processes of rugby league and the importance of building into a game.
In Danny Brough, we’ve got the best kicker in the competition, but we’re rarely giving him the opportunity to kick the ball into the right areas and, when we do, we don’t play with enough discipline to reap the rewards.
We were doing that earlier in the year and I’m sure we’ll get to the stage where we’ll be doing it well again.
We also need every single player in the side to make a positive contribution, which is something that’s just not happening, and every week it’s different people who are coming up with the errors.
There were two notable ones against Widnes – and they came from players who were two of our best performers on the day and have also been some of our most consistent this season!
They were Broughy and Larne Patrick.
After forcing our way back from 16-0 down to 16-12 at the break, it was vital we produced an excellent opening second-half set to keep the pressure on Widnes. The one thing we didn’t want was to drop the ball.
Unfortunately, that’s exactly what Larne did.
Then, with two minutes remaining and after we’d just taken the lead for the first time, Broughy didn’t find touch with a penalty, and Widnes immediately went upfield and scored the winning try.
That just seemed to sum up how things are going for us at the moment.
But, as I said, it seems as if it’s different people every week coming up with errors.
Hopefully, it’s a trend that’ll now come to an end.
You made some positional changes against Widnes, most notably Greg Eden switching to the wing from full-back and Leroy Cudjoe moving to loose-forward. Were you comfortable with that?