OLD Crossleyans captain James Wainwright is demanding a squeaky-clean, focused performance from his side at home to Percy Park tomorrow (2.15).
The Broomfield men’s relegation problems in North One East intensified last Saturday when they suffered a seventh successive defeat, going down 27-19 away to fellow strugglers Gateshead.
Wainwright has no doubt about where the blame for the latest setback lies - the team’s ill-discipline.
No 8 Ryan Hammond, just back from suspension, was red carded with half an hour left for an alleged head butt and player-coach Chris Jones was sin-binned for protesting against the decision.
Although Crocs actually managed a try while down to 13 players, numbers eventually told after the sides had been level with 10 minutes left.
Wainwright said: “It was another game we have chucked away.
“It was not just one or two individuals on Saturday, it was the whole team. The penalty count was 16-9 against us and a lot of players got done for back chat.
“Some of it comes from frustration when you are struggling and things are not going your way but it is still unacceptable.
“They are stupid penalties to give away. If you are in the referee’s ear all the time and get his back up, then the 50-50 decisions are not likely to go your way.”
Winger Wainwright said Crocs were having to target an increasing number of matches as ones they had to win, starting with tomorrow’s game against a Park side who have lost only four games out of 15 this season.
Hammond will miss tomorrow’s game and Crocs may consider an appeal against his dismissal once a copy of the referee’s report arrives.
Manny Riaz is available again and takes Hammond’s place tomorrow while Richard Wheale makes what Crocs feel is a significant return at hooker.
The former skipper is back after an ankle operation and Wainwright hopes the long-serving player’s presence can help lift the side, not just with his ability around the park and in the scrums but with his leadership of the pack.
While Wheale may not get through 80 minutes, Bodge Sembi can make an impact off the bench, where he is joined by James Kavanagh and the other Chris Jones.
The backs are unchanged and makeshift back rower Chris Seymour, shortly to go on holiday, is out with a neck injury.
Wainwright said: “We need to concentrate on playing rugby.”