What They Said: McDermott and O’Brien
13/02/2020 by Aiden McNicholas
Head Coach Brian McDermott and fullback Gareth O’Brien spoke with Sky Sports following the Wolfpack’s tough loss to Wigan at DW Stadium, with both disappointed in a second half that saw the Warriors pile on the points late.
Despite a third consecutive loss to being their season however, McDermott is confident that Toronto are on the right path as they look to build lasting success in the top division.
“In many respects, I’m pleased with where we are at the moment. We’re competing, we’re fighting for each other, we’re improving week on week. We’ve got to play well and it’s got to be sustainable. So getting a win that’s not sustainable is probably not important just yet. But getting the performance and playing so we get wins through a sustainable structure, in particular a strong kicking game, that would be one of them, that’s my focus next week.”
McDermott repeatedly referenced his team’s kicking prowess the the aftermath of a mistake from skipper Josh McCrone that saw the Warriors go the length of the field to score a crucial try that turned the game’s momentum on its head. Adding to McCrone’s frustration at the error would be that just seconds before he made a try-saving highlight reel tackle that was then rendered futile almost instantly. McDermott mentioned pre-game that Wigan will always punish errors when playing at home and he was proved right on Thursday night.
“We ended up ultimately losing the game which just came down to one or two moments there. I don’t rate our kicking game at the moment. If you’re going to play like we do, you’re going to have to finish at least with some control. But credit to Wigan. One thing I will say, and I said to the players beforehand, as soon as you ease off the gas here for whatever reason, they’ll come back at you. And they did.”
The third round fixture was O’Brien’s return to the side after being unable to find a place in the team across the opening fortnight and he was keen to impress from the outset. The fullback looked strong under the high ball throughout and made several promising runs in attack, including a brilliant effort to set up Bodene Thompson’s try to begin the second half.
“It’s good (to be back), it’s a good game to be in. Wigan away is always a tough game. Disappointed with the result but good to be back in the side, I enjoyed it. We’re improving week-in, week-out. We showed glimpses of what we can do in that game, we were in it for a large part of it. We’ll come in on Monday and look at what we need to get better at and just work hard.”
McDermott will already be looking forward to getting his squad back out on the training track this week as he ponders several positives he sees within the Club.
“I’m watching us play and I like how we play. I like what we do, I like our attitude and a couple of moments there was a whole host of momentum against us and we seem to be able to get back in the game through a number of things. One of them being about playing for each other and showing up for each other.”
That squad unity will be extremely important to the Wolfpack as they prepare to tackle Warrington Wolves at Halliwell Jones Stadium next Friday night. With a 29 week regular season stretching ahead, Toronto have time to find their feet at the Super League level but they won’t want to wait much longer before opening their account in 2020 with a maiden victory.