Club legend Benji Marshall labelled the Wests Tigers’ effort as below NRL standard after an insipid 26-4 loss to Newcastle at McDonald Jones Stadium.
In one of their worst performances in recent seasons, the Tigers suffered from a woeful completion rate and let in five tries against a Newcastle side missing stars Kalyn Ponga and David Klemmer.
It left the merged club second-last on the ladder after two rounds despite showing far more fight against Melbourne in the opening week.
“(It was) really terrible,” Marshall told Fox League.
“The completion rate was below 60 per cent. You can’t win any game like that.
“From an effort point of view it wasn’t there. It wasn’t good enough for first grade standard.
“I dare say (Michael Maguire) might be making changes for next weekend.”
Asked about Marshall’s comments after the match, under-pressure coach Maguire didn’t entirely disagree.
“There’s probably areas of that,” he said.
“Everyone has their opinion. We will have a look at how we played and what we’ll do.”
The Tigers completed at just 61 per cent and ran almost 400 less metres than the Knights, with their only try coming through Ken Maumalo in the final five minutes.
In a first-half horror show, Jackson Hastings was put on report for a dangerous lifting tackle, while Tyrone Peachey was sin-binned for a blatant professional foul.
David Nofoaluma dropped a Laurie pass in their own in-goal, while a break through the middle was stunted when a Peachey pass hit the ground.
Stefano Utoikamanu also bombed a certain second-half try when he spilled the ball over the line
“It was disappointing,” Maguire said.
“We put it on ourselves. The defence side of things was probably lacking at the start and crept into our game.
“It rolled into poor completions and you put pressure on yourself.
“There were areas in our effort that could have been better for sure. You have to turn up committed every time you turn up at a rugby league game.”
Newcastle have no such issues after their triumphant return to McDonald Jones Stadium following eight months away from home.
Adam Clune set up two tries while halves partner Jake Clifford also scored one of his own and had a hand in two others.
Clifford’s first was a solo effort in the third minute when he grubber-kicked for himself to score, while Tyson Frizell’s pick-up of a Clune kick at ankle-height for their next try was all class.
Bradman Best, Dane Gagai and Dom Young also all bagged tries off handy lead-up work from their halves, with a knee injury to Lachlan Fitzgibbon their only concern.
It marked the second straight match the Knights have kept their opposition to one try.
“I always thought coming here we needed to make sure we invested in our defence,” coach Adam O’Brien said.
“That’s your character.
“We have worked really hard the last couple of years on our character.
“We’re only two games in but we have defended really well.”