St George Illawarra Dragons winger Jason Nightingale admits the team will need perform better on the field when they face the New Zealand Warriors at Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland on Sunday.
The Dragons were 20-18 winners over the Sydney Roosters to retain the ANZAC Day Cup last round to amass four wins from their opening eight fixtures this season.
Nightingale, 28, believes this standing is a fair reflection of the team’s efforts to date but believes he and his teammates still has room for improvement.
The New Zealand international, who will let his actions do the talking ahead of adding a potential further notch to Kiwis tally, firmly believes discipline should be respected as an important component of any team’s make-up on the back of recent criticism by third-parties directed at the Dragons.
“I’m always honoured to play on ANZAC Day and it is a highlight of our calendar year and the most recent game was no different,” said Nightingale.
“I thought we started really well but in the second-half we went into our shell a bit but it was great to get the result.
“I think any criticism is unwanted when its coming from a third-party.
“You can accept criticism when it comes from within and we’ve definitely been taken some constructive feedback on board to improve.
“When it comes from outside your Club then the less you read or hear about it the better.
“I think it is more a sign of where they are at compared to where we are at.
“To go out there and accuse people of lying down and not look at your own discipline is something you really need to do.
“I know we focus on our own discipline and it is one of our principles and if we give away a penalty, or put ourselves in a position to give away a penalty, the onus is on us.
“It’s not on the opposition it’s not on the referees but on the person who did the foul.
“Tim Lafai gave away a yardage penalty which hurt our team while Thompson is paying the ultimate price and feels terrible about what he did but the accountability is on him and he is going to do everything he can to train hard and get back on the field.
“It’s just different focuses for different clubs and obviously them coming out is more reflection on them than us.
“We’ve had a patchy start to our season and still haven’t been able to put 80 minutes on the field so that will be the goal for both sides, us and the Warriors, to put a full performance together.
“If that does happen for both teams then I think it’ll be a great contest in New Zealand.
“I think putting a performance on the field is the best way to ensure further international selection and hopefully I can do that on the weekend.
“When you get to my age then people have seen what you can do and what you are capable of, it’s just a matter of being in form at the time.”