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Commitment pleases Lam despite loss to Sharks

Published: 7:52AM Saturday April 14, 2012 Source: Fairfax

The performance, execution and finishing wasn't there from the Blues in their 29-23 loss to the Sharks last night, but their beleaguered coach Pat Lam was at least pleased with the commitment they put in.

It was yet another game where blown chances and sloppy intercept tries proved costly and if it hadn't been for the painfully high number of errors they would have picked up their second win of the season.

Instead they continue to scrape along the bottom of the points table with just one measly win to their name, against the Bulls.

"I put a massive pressure on the boys to front, as far as attitude, body language, fight for every inch of the game and stick to the structure,' Lam said after the game.

"We had so many opportunities to win that game and win it well by halftime.

"Unfortunately there were two intercept tries when we should be going the other way, when you're low on confidence things go against you and it's certainly frustrating not only for myself, but the players involved and out fans.

"We were 15-3 down and we worked our way back, we talked about it at halftime, we knew the reason why they're called the Sharks, because they feed of your mistakes and unfortunately we were making them.

"In the second half we took the lead and wanted to build on that and unfortunately there was a try there [to Tim Whitehead] that the officials have admitted wasn't right and you've got to live with that.

"But ultimately, we shouldn't have been in that position in the first place, there are some individuals in the changing room who are pretty upset, pretty hurt because they know those decision affected us.

"There's a question mark around that try, but it's our fault for the two intercept passes."

The try in question came when Whitehead fumbled the ball and although he recovered it, Hadleigh Parkes touched the ball between Whitehead's grabs, meaning it should a been ruled a Sharks knock on, but referee Steve Walsh got the call run and the Sharks got the try which proved to be the match winner.

However, the Blues should have had the game sown up before then.

"Even in the first half there were tries we could have walked in if guys didn't panic or throw their hands out at the last minute," said Lam.

"The game plan gives us those opportunities but it's terribly frustrating and the guys who make those mistakes are really hurting, the first thing they say to me is to apologise.

"Rugby is a team game, you can do a lot of the work, our set piece was good, we had good gain line and we'd put them under pressure, but then we'd just release it. If one guy doesn't make the right decision, we all pay the price for it and that's why a lot of guys are upset."

Asked if this defeat definitely spelled a definite end to the Blues chances of making the playoffs, Lam admitted as much but said the team needed to battle on.

"We know that we've got to keep working day to day, the obvious [answer] is yes, we're running out of games," he said.

"We've got to get back to work and built on the attitude, effort and work rate."