Wests Tigers centre Chris Lawrence said he and his teammates were well aware that their brilliant start to the season was in danger of unravelling if they do not eliminate the mistakes that plagued their last start against a fired-up Souths.
The Wests Tigers, who take on a desperate-to-win Canberra Raiders at Campbelltown on Saturday, enjoyed a superb start to 2014 with ''statement'' victories over South Sydney in round 2, the vastly improved Parramatta Eels, Manly and the Titans. However, their last start 32-10 defeat to the Rabbitohs exposed aspects that Lawrence said he and his peers needed to eradicate.
"Mistakes, too many simple errors," he explained of what went wrong against Souths. "I was guilty of them, as were some other senior players.
"They were simple errors that put us under pressure, and when you put yourself under pressure early in a match, it's very hard to come back – especially when you're in the situation where you're missing guys around the ruck like Robbie Farah and Aaron Woods [who were on State of Origin duty].
Lawrence, a former Australian representative, said he was pleased with his overall form and even tempted fate when he said it had so far been a welcome injury-free run. However, when pushed about those errors against Souths, Lawrence said they came from good intentions.
"With the senior guys out I was just guilty of trying too hard," he said. "You can't overplay your hand and that can lead to mistakes. I found the further we fell behind on the scoreboard, the harder I tried to push things when they weren't happening.
"We had a good start as a team but in this middle stage of the season we've been a bit inconsistent. We're going into the match against Canberra knowing it's a must-win match because the top eight is starting to split and we want to be on the top end rather than the bottom."
While Canberra's season has had its frustrations, Lawrence said he was well aware of their history to spring an upset.
"Their season is on the brink but, in saying that, they're certainly not out of it," he said. "I remember a few years back when we were in the finals Canberra made a run of eight or 10 wins in a row and made it.
"They're a danger and while we accept that, we're focused on ourselves and making sure we get our own game right."
Wests Tigers forward Keith Galloway was equally adamant that it was time his team not only stopped the slide and capitalised on their start but needed to be wary of the for and against.
"You have to make the eight to have a successful season," he said. "The for and against is massive, you can't allow scorelines to run away and you need to stop tries because there'll probably be a situation where teams miss out on a spot [in the eight] because of the for and against."