Jason Taylor’s former mentor and current Sydney Roosters opposite Trent Robinson believe the Wests Tigers coach is setting his side up for success despite their lowly position on the NRL ladder.
Ahead of Friday’s round 20 match between the sides, the Tigers are anchored to the bottom of the premiership ladder with the Roosters sitting snugly in the top four.
Taylor has had to repeatedly defend his record since joining the Tigers as the start of the season, as they have lurched from one loss to the next.
But Robinson, who counted Taylor as his deputy when he coached the Roosters to the 2013 premiership, said the former Parramatta and South Sydney coach is right to be taking a long-term approach.
“They are on their path and I think they are on the right path,” “Robinson said of the Tigers on Thursday.
“I don’t think they are always getting the wins at the moment but you can see some stuff there where they are understanding about how footy needs to be played and if they stick at it the wins will come for them.
“Sometimes you can look at a table and see teams that are midway through and will stagnate there, and you will see some teams down the bottom that are trying to build something they will eventually get some growth out of and I think Wests Tigers is one of those teams.”
Taylor has insisted it will take time to rebuild the battling joint venture, an approach Robinson said was the right one to take.
“I think it is a credit to Wests Tigers, the long-term view they have taken,” Robinson said.
“It has been a tough situation as far as the injuries they have had and their salary cap situation and I think the board and JT are taking a long term view.
“They have got a really young side, and JT is a really great coach he knows how to coach footy.”
Taylor admitted his side are struggling for confidence at the moment, but said he didn’t think the Tigers were developing a losing culture.
“Confidence is something that we’re working hard to stay on top of. It can be fragile and we’re working hard on that,” Taylor said.
“Regardless of the ups and downs that are part of the NRL, we’re continuing to improve every week.
“We made some big steps forward as a team last week in the way we played in attack and we are looking forward to more of that tomorrow night.
“We’re talking about hanging tough and staying strong through periods in the game where it’s going against us.
“The disappointing thing is we haven’t been close to that sort of 80 minute performance.”
Dene Halatau continues to fill in at hooker for the Tigers as skipper Robbie Farah battles a hand injury, with centre David Nofoaluma a welcome return for the home side at ANZ Stadium.
NSW back-rower Boyd Cordner returns for the Roosters.
* The Roosters have completely dominated recent clashes with the Wests Tigers, winning 10 of 11 since 2010, including six straight since 2012 – by an average margin of 30 points with the Roosters scoring more than 40 points on four occasions.
* The Tigers crashed to a fourth straight loss last week, on the back of their worst defensive performance of the season and now sit in outright last on the competition ladder. They have let in a whopping 135 points over their past four matches
* The Roosters are conceding just 2.1 tries, 12 points and 3.2 linebreaks per game, the best of any team and are the only team not to have lost by double figures this season, with all six losses by eight points or less.