Elliott takes heat for meek Panthers - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Elliott takes heat for meek Panthers

By Tom Wald 12/07/2008 01:37:33 PM Comments (0)

Penrith coach Matthew Elliott has blamed himself for his NRL side's meek showing against a Kurt Gidley-inspired Newcastle at CUA Stadium on Friday night.

The Panthers let slip a golden opportunity to shore up a spot in the eight in the 30-18 loss to the injury-plagued Knights at the foot of the mountains.

Elliott said he had to take responsibility for his team's lack of intensity ahead of Saturday's away clash against a Gold Coast side that has learnt how to win without Scott Prince.

"I have to look at the stuff I did as a coach and look at our program because there is definitely something wrong with what we did in our (short) week, I definitely did something wrong," he said.

Elliott said he could accept that some players could be off their game in any given match but not the entire side.

"When your whole team is down I have to accept responsibility that something in our preparation was not right," he said.

"I thought considering the changes they had and being down on personnel, I thought they came and played a really good game of footy and had a great plan.

"When your attitude is better than the opposition, your plan inevitably works."

The Knights outmuscled the Panthers pack just five days after Penrith's encouraging win over Parramatta.

Brian Smith's men also made a focus of testing out Penrith rookies Wade Graham and Lachlan Coote with some heavy hits during the game.

Their performances were still solid behind a beaten pack even if Coote fell a little too easily for a Gidley dummy that led to Newcastle's first try.

"I thought our young players were pretty good tonight," said Elliott in a sign that he will keep faith in the youngsters for the clash with the Titans."

Meanwhile, the Knights have breathed life into their season with coach Brian Smith delighted for them to have kept in sight of the top eight.

"This game keeps us in the pack, we are not far away," he said after his side snapped a three-game losing streak.

"I don't mean it is any guarantee, we have some terrific games coming up, we have some big games and it starts next week with Cronulla (at Toyota Stadium)."

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