Pan­thers try to pick up the pieces

Shell- shocked team must re­group for Eels on Fri­day

Townsville Bulletin - - Bizfi Nd -

MICHAEL Jen­nings felt his late in­clu­sion was a dis­trac­tion. Lachlan Coote reck­ons it was his worst game in the NRL. Petero Civon­iceva ex­pects an­other flog­ging if a sim­i­lar per­for­mance is dished out against Par­ra­matta. And coach Matthew El­liott is sud­denly the new $ 4 favourite with book­mak­ers to face the axe.

Pen­rith play­ers were yes­ter­day count­ing the cost of a hor­ror 80 min­utes against New­cas­tle that has al­ready left fans at the foot of the moun­tains won­der­ing if their club can be a le­git­i­mate NRL force.

The Pan­thers were belted 42-8 against New­cas­tle a day ear­lier, and ev­ery player had their own ver­sion on why things went hor­ri­bly wrong.

Ac­cord­ing to Fox Sports Stats, Pen­rith are ter­ri­ble in their firstround clashes, hav­ing won just two of their 11 open­ers. On four of those o c c a s i o ns , t he Pan­thers were flogged by 40 points or more.

Skip­per Civon­iceva said his side had three train­ing ses­sions to pick them­selves up and try to avoid a h i d i n g a g a i n s t f i e r c e r i v a l s Par­ra­matta on Fri­day.

‘‘ That was a huge les­son for what hap­pens when you want to play like that – what you saw was the end re­sult,’’ he said. ‘‘ If we don’t get our act to­gether soon, that will hap­pen [ again]. It’s all about tak­ing own­er­ship, and we now only have a cou­ple of days to do that and make sure these train­ing ses­sions are good ones.

‘‘ Sun­day brought back mem­o­ries of some of the Bris­bane Bron­cos days when we had a cou­ple of lean years and started badly. ’’

Half­back Luke Walsh said the team’s fi­nal two train­ing ses­sions had been per­fect, and they had even be­gun fairly against the Knights.

‘‘ But af­ter 10 min­utes she all went down­hill from there,’’ Walsh said.

‘‘ Ev­ery­body’s attitude was off, and we didn’t hold the ball..’’

Su­per­star Jen­nings, who over­came a ham­string in­jury and was a late ad­di­tion, said his call-up may have im­pacted on some of the team’s fo­cus.

‘‘ I guess we came in with the wrong attitude, I felt like I was a dis­trac­tion com­ing in late,’’ Jen­nings said.

J e n n i n g s , w h o l a s t m o n t h f a mousl y d e c l a r e d h e ‘ ‘ h a t e d Par­ra­matta, not the play­ers, but the team they rep­re­sent’’, said he would have no added in­cen­tive to turn things around.

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