Penrith Panthers prop James Tamou has confessed he and his teammates fully deserve to be facing the axe at this week’s selection table.
Due to their woeful performance against the Newcastle Knights last weekend, rookie coach Cameron Ciraldo has threatened to shake things up regarding his team of 17 for their crucial clash against the Warriors this Friday.
After previously stealing wins against Canberra, Manly and the Gold Coast, the Panthers couldn’t manage a come from behind win to beat the Knights, suggesting the wheels might be starting to fall off.
James Fisher-Harris is set to make his comeback from a shoulder injury this weekend which will force at least one change to the side, but the question remains, how many more will there be?
Penrith’s recent form is starting to become a concern for stand-in coach Ciraldo, with Tamou saying he needs to take more responsibility being a senior player.
“Every time you come off a performance like that you have to look at yourself and be accountable,” Tamou told nrl.com.
“We’re looking to do big things here and we’re chasing perfection … [a selection shake-up] may be the case, then so be it.
“You want to put your hand up and settle the team down a bit and do your job really.
“I think we’ve seen over the last couple of weeks that we’ve just left it too late and things have happened for us. We’ve been lucky to score a couple of tries in quick succession and I think that’s crept into our game a bit.
“As a senior bloke that’s up to me and us to settle down, get back to what we need to – maybe a settler or something like that. Just getting back to simplified football and what works for us.”
The unwarranted loss to Newcastle means Penrith once again drop out of the top four with every game becoming vital is what is the closest top eight in the history of the game.
Only two wins separate the first placed Melbourne Storm and the eighth placed New Zealand Warriors, with every result impacting the make-up of finals positions.
Making his return from an ankle injury last weekend, Tamou is another player who has been linked to an early exit from his four-year contract with the Panthers.
The prop has been plagued with injuries since arriving at the foot of the mountains in 2017 and explains he is aware of all the contract chatter.
“I’ve heard it. I haven’t spoken to anyone at the club or management,” Tamou said.
“That’s obviously a wait and see what happens [situation].
“As a family man with kids, that’s something I’d definitely have to address if something has to come up, if something has to arise I’d have to sort it out.”