Coach Michael Maguire has taken aim at his team's leadership after a 50-20 loss to Cronulla at Rockhampton all but ended Wests Tigers' NRL top eight hopes.
The first NRL game held at Rockhampton looked set for a barnstorming finish when the Tigers cut the deficit to 34-20 with 14 minutes left.
In the end, the Tigers conceded 50 points to Cronulla for the first time, snapping their two game winning run to be stuck in 13th spot
They are one win outside the top eight but have a woeful -162 points differential and next take on title fancies Penrith.
The Tigers have not played finals since 2011.
Yet Maguire is still daring to dream.
Asked about their finals hopes, Maguire said: “The competition is still wide open.
“Anything can happen, as you know in the NRL. We have to turn up and be ready to go (against Penrith).”
But Maguire conceded the Tigers required a dramatic turnaround, challenging his leaders to step up.
“We have a number of players there that at times during the game just ebbed and flowed and they needed to get the job done, it is as simple as that,” he said.
“The ruck was too quick, line speed was non-existent at times.
“We put ourselves on the back foot, but we could have fixed that really easily and took control of the game.
“The leaders of their team (Cronulla) got a hold on things and we needed to be better in that department.”
Tigers playmaker Adam Doueihi came off in the final 10 minutes with a knee complaint but Maguire played down concerns.
Doueihi had a 47th minute try disallowed for a scrum infringement with the Tigers trailing 22-4 after the bunker ruled Kelma Tuilagi held on to Cronulla's Teig Wilton for too long.
“I think every front-rower in the game is holding on to someone at some stage but they decided to look at that one,” Maguire said.
“But we needed to stay at it. Unfortunately our defence today was what let us down.”Internet Explorer Channel Network