Rugby League


Wests Tigers coach Jason Taylor knows heat is on at joint venture club

Wests Tigers coach Jason Taylor knows time is ticking at Concord. 

No other coach in the NRL is under more pressure than the one holding the clipboard at Tigerland, whose protracted off-season power struggle with Robbie Farah put him under more scrutiny after his side's 15th-placed finish in 2015.

But while their relationship has seemingly been mended, a slow start to the new season will again turn up the heat on the former South Sydney coach, with axed Penrith coach Ivan Cleary already linked with the club.

The good news is that six of the Tigers' first eight opponents missed the finals last season, giving Taylor's side a real opportunity to bolt out of the gates.

But Taylor on Tuesday was impervious to external pressures.

"Every team wants to start the season well and we're no different," Taylor said.


"It doesn't matter what people are predicting. This is the NRL. You need to be doing well. If you're not, you're coming in for criticism and if you are, then you get a chance to sleep at night for a few weeks.

"That's how it works."

When young halves Luke Brooks and Mitchell Moses approached Taylor about unshackling their attack midway through last season, the Tigers went on to win three of their final six games.

Taylor makes no apologies for trying to build a foundation for a halves combination that flourished too easily in the under-20s, however is now open to his playmakers further spreading their wings.

"In my opinion, you can't get out there and play whatever you see in the NRL and not have some understanding about people's roles and where they need to be. The game's too fast," he said.

"So we started very structured in that regard to get them to understand what we wanted from them.

"And then as the season went, we learnt more about the players and what their strong suits were, and then we made adjustments around that. Over the course of this pre-season we've done more of that."

Despite the Tigers finishing just one spot above wooden-spooners Newcastle last season, Taylor was adamant they had made strides in both attack and defence.

And now he's expecting more in 2016.

"We went from 16th in defence to 11th, and 14th in attack to sixth. That's progress," he said.

"What we want is more of that. People who think that we didn't make progress last year are missing the point.

"There's no doubt we didn't make progress on the competition table, but when you look at those results, and if we keep at it, that'll show itself on the ladder. There's no doubt about it."