Both coaches are under the blowtorch, but Wests Tigers coach Jason Taylor has welcomed the sort of heat forecast for Saturday’s NRL clash with the Warriors.
With temperatures expected to nudge the late 30s at Campbelltown Stadium in south-west Sydney, Taylor on Friday ruled out requesting drinks breaks, believing his team could handle it better than their Auckland-based opponents.
“I just hope that it remains that way and we don’t get a late change, because I’d like to think that that’s going to play in our favour,” Taylor said.
“There’s a lot of work to be done before we get a result, based on how hot it is, and we haven’t talked about that as a team for a second.
“(But) it’d be nice if it’s nice and hot for us.”
Both Taylor and Warriors counterpart Andrew McFadden are pressure to find success early in 2016 after their teams’ poor seasons in 2015.
McFadden’s Warriors were bolstered by arguably the best recruitment drive of the summer, netting stars Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Issac Luke in key positions, while wily veteran Jeff Robson and prop James Gavet were also crafty additions.
Still, Taylor insisted mercurial Warriors playmaker Shaun Johnson remained the key threat, one to be negated by shutting down his forward pack.
“For me, Shaun Johnson is still the number one danger, he’s so talented. And then having Tuivasa-Sheck and Luke around him, it adds another dimension,” he said.
“But it’ll be what happens in the middle. Their forwards are strong and we need to hold them. If we don’t do that, then those guys on the edges will be too hard to handle.”
After a disastrous 2016 where the joint venture won just eight games and finished equal last, a winning start on Saturday would be a big fillip for Taylor.
But the former point-scoring wizard insisted he wasn’t concerned by the heat on his job.
“I just want the guys to play well,” he said.
“We want to win in round one, and we’ll want to win in round two, and we’ll want to win in round three.
“(Pressure is) just part of this game.
“We’ve had a great pre-season and we’re all upbeat about the season and we’re looking forward to it starting.”