Besieged coach Michael Potter says he hopes he is judged on what he was able to achieve before Wests Tigers were engulfed and decimated by injury and intrigue.
The joint venture, which has been fighting off speculation about a player-led insurrection for a fortnight, was crushed 64-6 by North Queensland at 1300SMILES Stadium and can make the finals only in extraordinary circumstances.
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The North Queensland Cowboys tore the injury-ravaged Tigers apart to surge into the NRL top four on Saturday night.
Potter’s future in the job will be decided post season and there are fears it won’t matter what players do or don’t think about him if the current run of three consecutive losses continues.
“I’m judged on results, year, and I’d like for that to be the case,” said Potter, when asked about suggestions he should be judged on his performance before the drama hit.
“I think the club as a whole, over the last couple of years, has come a long way and I think we’re moving forward. Tonight was a massive setback but yeah, that would be nice.
“I don’t think we could have any lower feeling than the one we’ve got at the present time.
“It’s a results driven business. I understand that. Tonight, no-one was good enough.”
Potter and captain Robbie Farah were reunited at the post-match media conference after the hooker – who was reported to be unhappy with the coach’s leadership – was excused from the duty last Sunday.
Each said they were unsure if the internal ructions had played a part in the club’s second worst loss, after a 64-0 defeat to Melbourne in 2001.
“I’m not sure if that’s played any part or it’s played a big part,” said Potter. “That’s the unknown.
“I don’t know if that’s the reason but it’s about us playing football on the night, making our tackles, not throwing some silly passes, not dropping the ball.”
Farah, who conducted a highly-publicised television interview on Thursday in which he was critical of club CEO Grant Mayer and made 57 tackles against the Cowboys, added: “It’s hard to say.
“We prepared well all week, we were confident coming up here. We’re pretty embarrassed. The only people who can get us out of it is ourselves. We’ve just got to stick together and we well.
“We’re going to cop it and we deserve it after that performance. The scoreline hurts, the performance hurts, it was a pretty important game considering our position on the ladder.
“I guess we’re still a small chance. We’ve got to win four from four to give ourselves a hope. The for and against doesn’t help.
“There were just simple errors out there, one-on-one misses, just schoolboy errors.”
Potter said the loss was “by far our worst performance of the season. The first half was bad and it didn’t get any better.
“It was unacceptable. We’ve got to take responsibility for it. The players are in there and they’re distraught. They’re very upset.”
Potter said his halftime talk was one that “I haven’t given before. I don’t think too many of the players had been in that situation.
“It was more about having some pride and pulling themselves out of it in that second half. The scoreboard became irrelevant really.
“Unfortunately, everything they tried turned sour.
"It's a tough one for the fans to take and I'm sure they're feeling it like we are."