Relax, don't panic, says Tigers skipper - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Relax, don't panic, says Tigers skipper

By Sam Lienert 15/04/2009 06:16:57 PM Comments (0)

Richmond captain Chris Newman has called for calm over the Tigers' horror start to the AFL season, urging critics to "take a deep breath and just relax" and players to do likewise.

After a win-less first three rounds, the MCG clash this Sunday with last season's wooden spooners Melbourne looms as crunch time for the future of embattled coach Terry Wallace.

But while speculation is swirling that a loss could spell the end for Wallace - yet to lead the club to the finals in the fifth and final year of his contract - Newman said there was no panic from within.

"We're three rounds in, I don't want to get carried away, I think everyone should just take a deep breath and just relax a little bit," Newman said on Wednesday, adding that individual players should also not be judged on three rounds.

"They're in the same boat, it's round three, players can't be on death row after round three.

"This is a team effort, we're 0-3 at the moment just because the team's not performing, it's as simple as that."

He said his role as skipper was to ensure the players stayed calm and did not absorb the sense from outside the club that Sunday is crunch day.

"As you keep losing the pressure does grow, there's no doubt about that to be quite honest," Newman said.

"But if you go out there and you freeze up and you let all the external pressures get to you, then we're not going to play as freely as we'd like to and it's going to really impact the result.

"So we're trying to clear that and just take it as another game."

Newman acknowledged the Tigers' skill level had been below par so far this season and their performance level disturbingly uneven, but said the main problem was inside their heads.

"The four-quarter efforts aren't there, so it has to be mental," he said.

"It's definitely not fitness, we feel as though we're as fit as any other team in the competition.

"It just takes the players to realise that we need to take the game on a little bit more and play with confidence and that's when we play at our best."

He added there was no sense that the players held Wallace's future in their hands this weekend.

Newman was also confident the Tigers, who have made just two finals series since 1982 - the last eight years ago - still had the pride, the passion and the ability to break the drought in 2009.

"I haven't played finals football yet, I want to play finals football, I want to be in a successful team," Newman said.

"I want to be captain of a successful club at Richmond, so of course everyone wants success around here and we've got a lot of pride.

"We're not going out there intentionally trying to lose and we're disappointed in our efforts.

"If you see the boys in the rooms after the games, we're scratching our heads saying `this isn't us'.

"We've got a lot of pride, there's no doubt, and we're going to play with a lot of passion this week."

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