Cooper: No Singling Anyone Out
St George Illawarra Dragons prop Mike Cooper admits the team will intend to rectify recent field performances when they face the Gold Coast Titans at Cbus Super Stadium, Robina on Saturday.
The Red-and-Whites are in the midst of a two-game losing streak from their previous two fixtures, against the North Queensland Cowboys (Round 5) and Brisbane Broncos (Round 6) respectively, and let-in 62 unanswered points whilst being held scoreless in the process.
The Dragons have only scored six tries in total this season but Cooper admits that no single player should be blamed for this statistic.
The England international confides that morale is presently down within the ranks but has confidence both he and his teammates have what it takes to turn the tide around.
The forward believes that the team needs to take a more relaxed approach when competing and to not overthink things such as trying to score which he notes is causing errors and exacerbating the situation.
“It’s been a hard week with two pretty poor performances to say the least but we’ve had a couple of days-off to freshen-up before starting to get things right,” said Cooper.
“There is no problem with the effort we are putting in as that can be seen - the problem is we’re giving penalties away, dropping the ball and kicking the ball out on the full.
“None of those things ae doing us any favours and especially playing against two quality sides these past two weeks.
“Full credit to both the m both, they took their opportunities and you can see the game got blown-out towards the end and that’s down to our own mistakes.
“We need to start correcting these mistakes and I can understand where the fans are coming from.
“As a team we need to relax as we’re putting too much pressure on ourselves and trying to overplay our hand which is causing us to drop ball.
“We need to get back to that tough, grinding football that made the Dragons get to the top of the league for a while last year.
“It’s not just about Gareth Widdop or Benji Marshall but instead about the entire 17 players who take to the field - you need to analyse the errors split across the field.
“For instance, if it’s not them kicking the ball out on the full then it’s me giving away a penalty, so it is all 17 players who take to the field that are accountable.
“You need to be accountable for your performance and judged by your last performance, which in this case wasn’t good enough.”