Newcastle Rugby League: Western Suburbs in unfamiliar territory after slow start to 2018 season

TOUGH TROT: Western Suburbs winger Michael Hendry. Picture: Jonathan Carroll
TOUGH TROT: Western Suburbs winger Michael Hendry. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Wests find themselves in unfamiliar territory after the opening four rounds following the powerhouse club’s slowest start to a Newcastle Rugby League season in recent memory. 

The Rosellas, minor premiers all-but once since 2013 and grand finalists five times out of the last seven, are equal last on the competition ladder with just a single win next to their name.

Since 2010 they have been either unbeaten or 3-1 at the same stage of their campaign, outside split results in 2015 before going onto claim pole position. 

“It has been a tough start, I won’t deny that fact,” Wests second-year coach Matt Lantry said.

“It’s uncharacteristic of any Wests side, but I think you’ve got to credit the competition.”

Lantry said it feels like one of the most even first-grade playing fields in some time, with all teams having registered a victory and no-one still undefeated which leaves just four competition points between top and bottom of the table.  

He said Wests’ issues include key injuries, featuring new halfback Jordan Worboys (ankle), three times in a row meeting previously winless opposition (Lakes, Cessnock, Souths) “desperate” to make amends and adjusting to new combinations after losing almost half of last year’s grand-final squad.  

Lantry said the Rosellas would use this weekend off as a chance to regroup. “It gives us an opportunity to just take stock a little bit.” 

The mentor didn’t rule out signing any new recruits before the June 30 deadline.