The Wests Tigers admit they will be playing for the rugby league future of coach Mick Potter against premiers the Sydney Roosters.
A straight-talking Wests Tigers side say they are playing for under-siege NRL coach Mick Potter’s career against premiers the Sydney Roosters at Leichhardt Oval on Saturday night.
Backroom manoeuvrings already had Potter under pressure, however his tenure is balanced on a knife edge following last weekend’s 64-6 hiding at the hands of North Queensland in Townsville.
Back-rower Dene Halatau was frank in his appraisal that the the coach and playing group both faced the axe should they put in another insipid performance this weekend.
However, he refused to accept that the result was a foregone conclusion, emphasising the game would come down to attitude.
“We’re playing for our season and for (Potter’s) job,” he said.
“If we get the result and we do get in the finals, it’s going to do him no harm at all. Going into the finals with a bit of momentum would be ideal.”
The 12th-placed Tigers are a mathematical chance of qualifying for the top eight but only if they win all four remaining and other results run their way.
Halfback Luke Brooks is considered an outside chance to return from a shoulder injury against the Roosters.
He has returned to training but has not resumed contact work.
Stand-in half Curtis Sironen said Brooks had shown plenty of enthusiasm on the training paddock and did not look far off a return.
Brooks will need to pass a physical test if he is to play this week and is considered more likely to make a comeback next week.
The No.7’s absence, along with injuries to James Tedesco (knee) and Braith Anasta (bicep), means the side again will be missing three quarters of their spine.
Centre Chris Lawrence, who will play his 150th match against the Roosters, said injuries and the youthful nature of the squad had contributed to the team’s recent poor form.
“We’ve got an inexperienced side and we made too many mistakes early (against the Cowboys) and had guys dropping their heads and playing a side that, once they’re on a roll, they’re pretty hard to stop,” he said.
“It just felt like the harder we tried and the more we tried to do, the deeper we dug ourselves in a hole.”