AN understrength Panthers Toyota Cup side trailed 22-0 after 24 minutes but fought back to level the scores before a Wests Tigers field goal silenced them to a 23-22 defeat. While the result was heartbreaking, coach Garth Brennan says he'd never been prouder of the team.
What were your thoughts on full-time?
I was very proud of the effort the boys put in. The proudest all year. The Tigers got the jump on us and we were rocked with injuries. We lost three players before half-time even came around. So to play with 14 men and get back into the game and even have an opportunity to win against a quality opposition like the Tigers, I was proud of the effort.
How did the players respond to the loss?
There were tired boys and tears in the shed but that's pleasing to see. It meant one, they cared and two, they had a red hot dig.
Why do you think the Tigers ran riot early in the game?
I think we panicked a bit. Coming off a big loss against South Sydney, I think they were scared the same thing would happen. But once they relaxed, forgot about the scoreboard and clock and went about their business, they got back into the game.
Do you think the result would have been different if you weren't rocked with injuries?
I think the final score might have been in our favour.
Which players impressed you with their individual performance?
I thought young Chris Knight had his best game of the year so far and Jake Galvin was a late inclusion who really grabbed the opportunity with two hands. They were two standouts.
You were also without a few players who were competing at the Australian Schoolboys Championships. Did any of them make the Australian Schoolboys team?Matt Lodge, Chris Smith and Halauafa Lavaka — and hopefully you might see them turn out for us this weekend.
The side meet the Sydney Roosters at Centrebet Stadium on Sunday. After a loss on either side of the bye, does the game become an important one to win?
I suppose it does but if you look at all the top teams — Melbourne in the NRL have lost a couple in a row — a lot of teams go through a little slump.