Coach Griffiths wants his team to show togetherness in battle

First published in Sport

By Neil Bonnar

CLIVE Griffiths says a spirit of togetherness will see Sedgley Park emerge from their current slump.

The Tigers suffered their fourth successive defeat at the weekend to slip to fourth bottom of National League One.

They have a clash at third-bottom Loughborough Students on Saturday (2.15pm kick off) which coach Griffiths describes as a 10-pointer.

Crippled by a horrific, long-lasting injury plague which is forcing several players to operate out of position, the Whitefield men went down 24-8 at home to Blaydon on Saturday.

Tigers were 5-3 ahead at half time with a try from Tom Leader, who added a penalty in the second half.

New signing, second row Thiu Barnard, who suffered a broken nose in his second game for Tigers the previous week, pulled a calf muscle on Saturday and is unlikely to be fit to face Loughborough.

Despite their staff shortage, which sees half a dozen senior men on the sidelines, Sedgley matched their third-top opponents in every department except putting the ball over the line.

Griffiths, who is alternating his time between coaching the Tigers and the Canada national side over the next month, has seen enough in his first few months with the club to believe they have all the tools to stay and compete at a good level in National League One.

But he says they have got to stick together and keep working hard, beginning with this weekend’s crunch clash.

“We’ve got the jitters at the moment,” he said. “And we’re suffering badly with injuries.

“We got another injury in the second row and we’re having to play prop forwards in the second row and we don’t have a reserve hooker.

“Saturday’s defeat was a carbon copy of the Wharfedale game (which they lost 18-16 at home two weeks earlier). We had enough chances in the first half to score.

“It was a tight game. We missed our chances and they took theirs.

“We just couldn’t put the ball over the line. We are going through a bad patch. We need to stay as strong a possible and ride the storm.

“We need to stick together, players and coaches. This game at Loughborough is a 10-pointer on Saturday. It will be massive in defining the lower reaches of the division.

“Our situation is frustrating because I haven’t seen a team this season that we could not beat. But if you don’t put the ball over the line you don’t win.”

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