Makos keen to make amends
Short turnarounds have been a contentious issue at times in the National Provincial Championship, but in the Tasman Makos' case, they're relishing an opportunity for atonement.
Tasman's second-half brain fade against Otago in Dunedin on Sunday resulted in a shock 32-13 championship defeat. Now, with tomorrow's clash against premiership team Waikato looming just four days later at Hamilton's Waikato Stadium, Tasman captain Andrew Goodman said the players were determined to make amends.
"All the boys are pretty keen to get back out there and right a few of the wrongs from Sunday's game," said Goodman.
"Hopefully, we'll see a shift in attitude and the boys perform well on Thursday night. There's nothing wrong with our game plan or what we're trying to do, it's just a matter of making sure we've got the attitude at the breakdown and with our [ball] carries as well."
Analysing defeats aren't much fun, but are nonetheless critical to any team's development and Goodman said it was their poor execution at the breakdowns that allowed Otago to snatch the game away from them in the second half of Sunday's game.
"I think it was just mainly that breakdown that killed us. [Otago] really dominated at ruck time, so we couldn't get our game going and we didn't really challenge their ball enough and they were able to play with the tempo that we wanted to play with.
"Our attitude was something that we were pretty disappointed with. We'd talked about it all week leading up to the Otago game, that the game was going to be won at the breakdown. But we just got outpassioned there on Sunday and that's the disappointing thing, so hopefully the boys really bring it on Thursday night."
With three wins and three losses in the can, Goodman said the team was still on course for a home semifinal, provided they addressed their obvious shortcomings over the next four games and starting with tomorrow's match against a desperate Waikato team.
With only two wins from six outings, Waikato are sharing the bottom of the premiership table with Hawke's Bay, although just ahead on points differential. That makes them a dangerous opponent.
"This is a massive game for our season, so we're putting a lot of emphasis on it. If we win this, we've got two home games remaining [against Bay of Plenty and North Harbour] and anything can happen, so we're really looking forward to trying to secure a home semifinal.
"We're two teams pretty keen for a win, so it should be a pretty heated affair I'd say and it'll just come down to who can get that attitude right and get the game plan right."
Goodman said the team certainly wasn't in panic mode.
"We just have to stick to what we believe and if we can get that attitude right, as I said, it's going to help us go a long way.
"Obviously the boys are disappointed with the result and the way we played on Sunday, myself included.
"I was disappointed with the way I played so, yeah, all the boys are just really looking forward to Thursday and just righting a few wrongs and getting that win that will help us in our quest to win that championship."
Coaches Kieran Keane and Leon MacDonald have given the players every opportunity to make amends by naming the same lineup that started the Otago game, with prop Reuben Northover called into the squad as cover.
TASMAN MAKOS: Tom Marshall, Peter Betham, Kieron Fonotia, Andrew Goodman (captain), Robbie Malneek, Hayden Cripps, Jeremy Su'a, Jordan Taufua, Shane Christie, Tevita Koloamatangi, Joe Wheeler, Filipo Levi, Campbell Johnstone, Quentin MacDonald, Tim Perry. Reserves: Francis Smith, Sam Prattley, Riki Hoeata, Vernon Fredericks, Gary Redmond, Steve Alfeld, Albert Nikoro.
WAIKATO: Tim Mikkelson, Declan O'Donnell, Save Tokula, Jackson Willison, Joe Webber, Piers Francis, Brendon Leonard, Alex Bradley (captain), Zak Hohneck, Rory Grice, Sam Kilgour, Chris Middleton, Ben May, Vance Elliott, Latu Talakai. Reserves: Kalem Chan Boon, Ted Tauroa, Anthony Wise, Jono Armstrong, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Sam Christie, Trent Renata.
Where: Waikato Stadium, Hamilton When: Tomorrow, 7.35pm Referee: Garratt Williamson (Wellington) Head-to-head: Played 5, Tasman 2, Waikato 3 Last time: July 29, 2011 (Hamilton) Waikato 35 Tasman 6 TAB head-to-head odds: Waikato $1.40, Tasman $2.80