His team is in danger of falling to a fifth straight loss of the season, but Wests Tigers coach Jason Taylor insists he’s not overly-concerned about their lowly position on the NRL ladder.
The 13th-placed Tigers haven’t won a game since their 38-14 victory over Canterbury in Round 8 and now face the daunting prospect of taking on defending premiers South Sydney on Friday night.
This time last year the joint venture club had a 7-6 record and were inside the top eight under the guidance of then-coach Mick Potter, however Taylor is adamant his team is on an upward trend.
“It’s about what we’re developing here and we’re not overly-concerned about where we are right now on the ladder because we know we’re heading in the right direction in general,” he said on Thursday.
The first-year Tigers coach also insists he is more focused on his team improving their performances on a weekly basis rather than which rung they occupy on the table.
“We’ve been up and down. That’s what’s been the disappointing part for us,” he said.
“Look, personnel has been a bit of a factor. Obviously we’ve missed Robbie (Farah) over the last few weeks.
“But still, over the course of the season, we’re improving.”
Pressed on whether this week’s game against the Rabbitohs was a must-win clash, he said: “No. I said at the start it’s not about the result. It’s about our performances. We’re working really hard to improve our performances.”
Taylor also declared Chris Lawrence’s days as the club’s premier centre are all but over with the return of strike centre pairing David Nofoaluma and Tim Simona from injury.
Lawrence broke a year-long tryscoring drought with a double from the second row in last week’s 27-20 defeat to Gold Coast.
“The only reason I’m hesitant is because we may see him back in the centres again due to injuries or the like,” Taylor said.
“But provided everyone stays healthy, I thought his game last week was really special and his attitude around the move and other things which have placed their pressure on Chris this year has been really great.”
STATS THAT MATTER
– The Rabbitohs force the second most dropouts of any team this season (2.3 per game) and they have been successful at converting their chances into points. Seven of their 46 tries have come in the set immediately following a dropout, the most of any team this season.
– Half of the Rabbitohs tries conceded this season have come from the set after conceding a penalty (20 of 40), the highest percentage of any team in the competition. The good news for Souths is that the Tigers have scored just eight tries from the set after receiving a penalty, the fewest in the competition.
– The Tigers easily concede the most metres of any team this season, and this will come up against a Rabbitohs team which has conceded the equal least metres of any team. The Rabbitohs are also conceding the fewest offloads this season (just seven per game).