Wests Tigers hardman Martin Taupau say he and his NRL teammates have drawn a line in the sand after being being battered from pillar to post over the past month.
The Tigers snared their first win since late April with a 34-6 demolition of premiers South Sydney on Friday night at ANZ Stadium.
While Luke Brooks and James Tedesco were at their electrifying best, it was man of the match Taupau who led the way, chewing up 133 metres from 13 runs, making 21 tackles, busting 11 tackles, notching up two line breaks and capping his night with two tries.
It was Taupau’s best performance since he starred for New Zealand in April in their trans-Tasman Test win against Australia.
The manner in which he swatted away Rabbitohs fullback Alex Johnston as he crossed for his first try summed up his night, with his aggression laying the platform for the win.
Taupau said the playing group had gritted their teeth after winning just two of their previous seven matches and, during the week, declared enough was enough.
“It’s been pretty difficult for us the last few weeks,” Taupau said.
“We were sick of losing and it was a different vibe during the week at training and there was a lot of energy on the field during warm up and we brought that onto the field.
“We came away with the win so we’ll build on that.”
Coach Jason Taylor said Taupau had been the catalyst behind the Tigers’ drought-breaking victory.
“Marty’s really stepped up for us the last couple of weeks,” he said.
“He had a strong start to the season and we all dipped a little bit but, the last couple of weeks, Marty’s really stepped back up to the plate and made a big difference in the way we’ve played and our attitude.
“Tonight, he led the way. He wanted to lead the way tonight before the game and he did that.”