Wests slow out of the blocks

TOUGH TROT: Western Suburbs winger Michael Hendry. Picture: Jonathan CarrollWests 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 asingle win next to their name.

Since 2010 they have been either unbeaten or3-1 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-yearcoach Matt Lantry said.

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

Lantry said it feelslike 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 betweentop 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 winlessopposition (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 thisweekend off as a chance to regroup.“It gives us an opportunity to just takestock a little bit.”

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

FLICK PASSES:First XII players left dancing in the dark

PHOTOS:Butcher Boys start to settle on combinations