A number of Wests Tigers players have spoken or posted about the damaging mental effects of a disastrous season in the wake of the club’s record-breaking 72-6 loss to the Sydney Roosters.
There were ugly scenes following the loss as players for the joint-venture were subject to abuse from their own fans after a season of constant disappointment.
Even Fa’amanu Brown, who joined the club this year having not played in the NRL since 2019, shared an emotional social media post after the game.
“Last weekend made me realise how hard this game it to play,” Brown said.
“Not just the physical side but the mental side too.
“It was my first time in a long time I felt like there were cracks in my wellbeing and mindset. People screaming at you ‘you suck!’, voices in my own head doubting my ability, comments saying you’re useless.
“I cried that night because I let myself and my loved ones down. I think sometimes people forget that athletes are humans as well.”
Injured half Jackson Hastings had to watch the game from home as he recovers from a broken leg, but could see the toll that a long season is taking on the team.
“We’re getting beat every week – and in the media – then obviously sitting at the bottom of the ladder trying to avoid the spoon,” Hastings told Fox Sports.
“Yes, it hurts me and the fans and the people watching, but (knowing) the actual impact it has when you’re on the field and how demoralising it is, it’s pretty hard to watch.”
Hastings revealed that the extent of the squad’s pain was clear to see when he attended training on Monday.
“Going in, seeing people really upset really hurt me,” Hastings said.
“I’d rather experience that on the field knowing I felt the pain my teammates are feeling rather than sitting at home.
“Our fans are demanding success and they deserve it, they’ve broken the membership record this year, for a team that’s coming dead last. It’s an impressive effort.
“That doesn’t take away from the fact we need to be better as a club and start putting in some good performances.”