MELBOURNE players are confused and mystified at their poor starts to matches and are relying on home ground advantage to banish the trend that threatens their premiership defence.
Captain Cameron Smith said after Friday night’s 20-10 defeat to South Sydney the players had to decide what they wanted to do with the rest of the season and needed to fix their opening engagements if they hoped to progress past this Saturday’s preliminary semi-final against Newcastle.
Coach Craig Bellamy’s exhortations on the issue appear to have fallen upon deaf ears.
“Craig’s been onto us about our bad starts for a while now,” says prop Jesse Bromwich.
“There’s one week where we have a good one, then another week where we have a bad start. We’re not too sure what the problem is but hopefully we fix it this week and have a good start.
“(Against Souths), poor completions at the start really cost us at the end.
One consolation for the world champs is that the performance was an improvement on the previous away game, a 28-8 belting by Manly.
Bromwich said: “It probably was a bit better. We probably played good for 60 minutes. The first 20 really cost us. At the start, we didn’t feel too bad but we just let it go for some reason.”
But while there is concern at AAMI Park, there’s no panic.
“I think we should be pretty good,” the New Zealand Test prop said.
“We’ve played a bit of finals now so we know what to do this week: go to training, fix it, train hard, work hard and come back next week and hopefully put in a good performance.
“I think it looks good on the records, having a home game, so it must be pretty good for the team. It will be good to get one at home.”
Filed for: RUGBY LEAGUE WEEK