An angry Dave Woods has put his Gateshead Thunder side to the sword after a defeat at London Skolars in which they were "just poor," writes RICHARD NEALE.
Despite warning his players the struggling Skolars could prove a dangerous side, Thunder turned out last week and lost 28-20, with only full-back Neil Thorman putting in enough effort to save him from Woods' wrath.
Woods was not scared to show his disgust at the players who simply did not turn up, and he demanded more from them all on Sunday.
"I tried to get what I had said about the Skolars through to them and it obviously just didn't sink in. Everything we did - our execution, our passing our respect for the opposition, all the mistakes - was just poor," he said.
"We'd started to gather a little bit of momentum but that one poor performance has left everyone very disappointed. They obviously just thought they could turn up and get the points, which is something you can't do in rugby league. It was something I just wasn't expecting."
The manner of the defeat is something Woods could have done without, with a trip to second-placed Barrow facing his side on Sunday. And he has challenged the side to come up with the goods this weekend.
"I think the blokes need to regroup and show me last week was just a one-off," said a manager who is looking to bring in two new players in the near future to bolster the squad and make sure there is competition for places.
"The wet weather means it's even more important to keep hold of the ball - though we couldn't even keep hold of it in the dry last week - and we need to kick well, using the conditions to drag them out of their areas. Last week's mistakes were mostly about concentration, so I want us to go out there and concentrate better as well as being enthusiastic."
Woods will also be looking to Thorman to keep up his good performances and lead by example. The full-back has come into his own recently with the good forwards play by the team allowing him to be more of an attacking force.
He ran in two tries to keep Thunder in the contest for the whole afternoon against London and was the only player Woods was happy with, adding: "He didn't deserve to be on the losing side last week." And the coach is also hoping another Thorman can be an inspiration to the team with Wallsend-born Chris Thorman making another foray into Tony Smith's latest Great Britain squad to face France at Headingley.
The former Wallsend Eagles star has been in top form for Huddersfield in the Super League this term, despite changing roles from his usual stand-off position to fill in at full-back for the Giants.
"Chris has been playing really great rugby for Huddersfield and he deserves his chance, he should be an inspiration for everyone playing rugby league in the North-East," said Woods. "It shows the players where they can get to if they put the hours and effort in."