Oliver Gildart says the Wests Tigers players are not lacking in confidence as they attempt to pick up their first win of the season against the Warriors on Friday night.
The 2022 NRL campaign may only be two games old but the pressure is already on. It has been a rough week for the Tigers and they are desperately in need of a pick-me-up.
Two points against the Warriors at Campbelltown Stadium would be just that. And according to Gildart there is no shortage of confidence in the camp.
The former Wigan Warriors star is new to the Tigers fold but has spoken glowingly of the team spirit. If that is the case they need to start showing it on the pitch.
There were signs of the togetherness during the 10-point loss against Melbourne Storm in round one. But it was nowhere to be seen a week later against the Knights.
Wests Tigers under fire
The lack of effort on display even forced Tigers legend Benji Marshall to lambast the players. Gildart accepts that the performance was not good enough but says confidence is not the issue.
“We have a lot of confidence,” He told the Tigers website. “We trained well in pre-season and we know what we are capable of. We took positives out of round one against Melbourne. But we didn’t back it up which is disappointing.”
Gildart also said it is far too early to judge and the players need to stick together.
“It is a long season you win games and lose games,” he added. “We have to stay together as a team and keep working hard week in, week out.”
Gildart only arrived at the Tigers in the off-season but has quickly found out how passionate the Tigers fans are. They have not played finals footy since 2010 and are desperate to get back in the eight.
Just to add to the Tigers issues over the last week. As well as the pressure being firmly on Michael Maguire, question marks over the future of Luke Brooks have appeared once again.
Tamou return boost for Tigers
Also Daine Laurie and James Roberts hit the headlines for gambling in a local pub the night before the Newcastle game. Had they performed and got the result the day after it would have been overlooked. But the 26-4 loss and the poor performance has the fans seething.
They now need to bounce back against the Warriors. Maguire is boosted by the return of co-captain James Tamou who was a late omission from the Knights game.
Jacob Liddle will also play his first game of the season following a knee injury. But there is no Jackson Hastings who serves a three-match suspension. Kelma Tuilagi is another absentee through concussion.
For the Warriors captain Addin Fonua-Blake should play despite a hand issue. Ash Taylor has been dropped from the squad and will be replaced in the halves by Kodi Nikorima.
Like the Tigers, the Warriors have also lost their opening two games. They went down 20-18 against the Titans last week and also need a response.