THE time for talk is over.
Timana Tahu says it’s time for the Knights to show the sort of passion and commitment that became a hallmark of the club.
Last week’s loss to the Gold Coast was described by Tahu as disappointing and embarrassing. It was a performance that he said was not worthy of the city’s reputation.
“Newcastle was built on tough people and we’re not showing that at the moment,” Tahu said at training yesterday. “The only way we can do it is put it into action at the end of the day.”
Legendary Knights halfback Andrew Johns recently criticised his former club for playing without determination. And Tahu says it’s been a common opinion. “It’s not just him – everyone is saying it. Family, friends, your mentors, the old boys . . . ” he said.
“We have a lot of old boys who come around the dressing sheds after the game. Michael Hagan and Marc Glanville came out to dinner with us and they said the same thing.
“I think we do talk about it a lot but we don’t put it out there on the field.”
And everyone at the club, right through to the head coach, is aware it’s happening.
“Wayne (Bennett) and the coaches hear about what we talk about in the papers and what we say on TV. But it’s just not happening.
“At the end of the day it comes down to the individual and how they perform on Sunday.”
And the Broncos present one of the greatest challenges to teams on the road, particularly one struggling for self-confidence.
“It’s been a hard week and the sessions have been really tough,” Tahu said.
“It was disappointing, it was embarrassing the way we played against the Titans.
“We know everyone is looking for effort and the only way to do it is by working hard on the training paddock and turning up for games.
“It’s been hard but we’ve got a test against Brisbane.”
“No one can do any more,” he said. “Wayne can’t train us any harder.’’
It’s obvious that Bennett is unimpressed with the team’s performance and that players feel very much on notice.
“We can’t get told by everyone else that one person is playing a good game and everyone else is playing crap.
“Everyone is in the same boat. It comes down to effort, and that is the plan for this week - to go out there and play as hard as we can.”
Asked whether new boy Dane Gagai was a possible shock call-up into the 17 for the clash with Brisbane, Tahu responded: ‘‘I don’t know – I don’t know what Wayne is thinking. Wayne is filthy and he’s willing to drop players.’’
Tahu, one of the club’s star signings for the 2012 season, refuses to blame the team’s sub-par performances on the pressures associated with high expectations following the involvement of Nathan Tinkler and coach Bennett.
“We’ve got everything we want. So we have no excuses,’’ he said.
“We have the best facilities. I remember when I started playing here we were at the university getting bitten by mosquitoes, sandflies and horseflies while we were training on a cow paddock.
“Everything was so basic. Now we have everything. Back in the day when we had nothing, the only thing to do was to claw your way and fight through things.
“That was the way I was brought up through this club. Everything is put out to us and . . . we have the best coaches and the best trainers, we have a billion-dollar man who owns the club – so we have everything going for us.
“But at the end of the day it comes down to us and how we perform on the field and that effort [we put in].”