They’ve had 75 points put on in them in the last fortnight and are sitting dead last, but Jason Taylor says there’s not much between his Wests Tigers and the NRL’s heavyweights.
The axing of Newcastle coach Rick Stone and Manly mentor Geoff Toovey, along with threatened changes to their under-performing rosters, has turned the spotlight more closely on Taylor and his team who are a miserable 5-13 for the season.
In the first year of a three-year deal and in what many wrote off as a development season, Taylor’s job is not under that sort of pressure.
But the scorelines against Brisbane (42-16) and Sydney Roosters (33-8) in the last two weeks make uncomfortable reading going into Friday’s clash with another powerhouse – Melbourne.
Taylor empathised with Stone and Toovey on Thursday, noting the often limited span for coaching stints.
“It is tough. That side of the game is very tough to handle, it’s really hard on those coaches and their families, that’s for sure,” Taylor said.
“We all know it’s part of it when we go into it. You’ve got to expect it.”
However he was not prepared to discuss whether any of his players were under pressure to keep their jobs for next season should results not improve in the final six rounds.
“I am brushing that question,” said Taylor.
He saw plenty to like in his players’ efforts against Brisbane and the Roosters.
“We’ve been pretty good for a lot of the games in the last two weeks against some of the better teams in the competition,” Taylor said.
“We just want more of that and 80 minutes is what we’re after.”
The Tigers will have the services of captain and hooker Robbie Farah against the Storm but that will be offset by the loss of New Zealand Test back-rower Martin Taupau due to suspension.
Taylor described this week’s opponents Melbourne as a model team and one whose style he was trying to replicate.
“They’re a very disciplined team and they’ve played a very similar style for a long time in regards to how they make the opposition work for everything,” Taylor said.
“Every time we’ll be coming from deep in our half and we’ve got to get ready for that battle.
“And that’s a style we’ve been working on all year.
“We’ve made some progress but we want to keep improving there.
“It’s a great challenge in regards to a team that plays a grand final-winning type of football.”