The Wests Tigers apologised to fans and forebears after a humiliating 50-10 NRL heritage round thrashing by South Sydney at the SCG on Sunday.
The Tigers’ season began full of promise when they won four of their first five games but that start is now in tatters after four straight losses, the latest by a record margin to the Rabbitohs.
Tim Sheens’ side have slipped out of the eight after an insipid performance against Souths, who out-enthused the woeful Tigers, and captain Robbie Farah said he couldn’t recall a worse performance in his time at the club.
“As a playing group we’re pretty embarrassed,” Farah said. “As captain I’d like to apologise on behalf of the players to the fans, to the players in the past that have put this jersey on.
“It’s pretty embarrassing but in saying that we’ll stick together as a group and we’ll work hard.
“We’ll bounce back, it’s still early.”
Sheens, who recently extended his contract at the club for another year, joined his skipper in saying sorry to Tigers fans, who are still waiting for another finals appearance after the fairytale 2005 premiership.
“We’re all putting our hands up, me included – coaching staff, playing staff – we owe the club better than that,” Sheens said.
“There’s been some distractions with me being away and some of the boys playing rep footy too, there have been some issues with injury, but we’re not here to offer any excuses.
“The players and I have just had a long discussion about it and so this week can’t come quick enough.”
A rare shocker from superstar five-eighth Benji Marshall compounded the Tigers’ woes but Sheens said little more could have been expected from the Kiwi captain.
“He’s been a bit disappointed in his performances and therefore had tried to limit issues in his game, no flick passes and things like that,” the coach said.
“You look at our go-forward and stopping their go-forward.
“You can’t ask your outside people to win you the game if you’re not winning it in the middle.” Elsewhere, refereeing controversies dominated round 10, with coaches demanding improvements from whistle-blowers.
Sydney Roosters coach Brian Smith, who was on the end of some revenge from former club Newcastle in a 34-18 loss on Saturday, said reverting to a dominant referee had not worked.
Victorious Warriors coach Ivan Cleary, whose side snapped a three-match losing streak in a 24-12 win over North Queensland, and his Cowboys opposite Neil Henry questioned the performance of English referee Ashley Klein before Cronulla’s Ricky Stuart joined the chorus after his side was whacked 34-14 by Penrith on Sunday.
“I know I have been treated with disrespect and that is what is happening with the interpretations of our game,” Stuart said.
“We ain’t getting the calls. Sometimes I just feel it is easier for the Sharks not to get it because they are not meant to win.
“Ten thousand people can’t be wrong, we can get a penalty on a 50-50.”
St George Illawarra took sole ownership of the ladder lead once again with Friday’s 19-6 win over Canterbury, with the Panthers moving to second on points differential.
Brisbane continued their recent resurgence with a 28-6 thrashing of third-placed Gold Coast on Friday night, with centre Israel Folau starring.
Buoyed by their independent directors launching court action against the NRL’s penalties for rorting the salary cap, Melbourne downed Canberra 17-6 as Raiders fans booed them and held money out towards the Storm players.