Monday, 30 April 2012

In order to succeed, we must first believe that we can...

Hornets 6 - Doncaster 38

Voltaire said: "Faith consists in believing when it is beyond the power of reason to believe". As such, faith can be a fragile thing.

No matter how deeply ingrained your beliefs, it sometimes takes the slightest of knocks to make you question why we're all here at all. But while we all have doubts sometimes, we have to go back to the fundaments of who we are as individuals and as a collective to find the reasons we ever came to believe in the first place.

It's hard to find reassurance from a game like this, as Hornets started slowly and faded away. Second best team by a considerable distance and looking less than the sum of its parts, Hornets fumbled, flapped and frustrated as Doncaster got to grips with the challenging conditions, kept it tight and simple and took their chances - most of which came from Paul Cooke kicks which, in the slippery conditions, caused repeated havoc in a lackadaisical Hornets defence.

The first came after 12 minutes and had a hint of the freak-show about it: Cooke looked to fluff his attampted grubber, the ball ricocheted into the in-goal and Kelly was most alert to dive in and score.

To their credit, Hornets had the bulk of the next 20 minutes, camped close to the Doncaster line but unable to capitalise on multiple repeat sets, once again lacking the killer pass or kick to unlock the visitors' defence.

In contrast, having ridden out the storm, Doncaster took the ball upfield twice in three minutes and came back with tries - Cooke scooting through some poor tackling, Kelly off a short-pass four tackles after the kick-off.

Half time 16-nil.

Hornets began the second half with noticeably more purpose. With just two minutes gone Chris Baines burrowed in from a metre. Paul Crook added the two against a swirling wind and it looked like the catalyst Hornets had been looking for.

Indeed, they produced the game's one scintillating passage of fluid football as Paul Crook fed Danny Davies into space, he fed a neat ball wide to Tony Stewart who sucked in the cover to pop the ball back inside for Phil Wood who uncharacteristically fumbled with a clear run to the posts begging.

It was the let-off Doncaster needed and the confidence crushing blow that sent Hornets back into their shell. Needless to say, Doncaster marched straight back downfield with the resulting possession, where Waterman ghosted through a static defence to touch-down a Cooke kick.

So impressed were they by the simplicity of its execution, they repeated the feat four minutes later and - at 26-6 -  Hornets were left desperately pursuing a fast-departing bonus. In vain.

Playing unspectacular, but effective percentage football off the back of yards gained through a string of needless penalties, Doncaster re-ran the now familiar kick-chase-try plan, this time Ely was the provider and Kesik the recipient.

And there was just enough time remaining for Fawcett to blast a hole in a now shattered Hornets defence and round Paul O'Connor to wrap up the scoring. Beautifully executed, but hard to watch.

Undoubtedly, Hornets are looking low on confidence at the moment and Stanky is clearly unhappy with his lot. In the RL press this morning he's quoted as saying: "A few people need to look at themselves and I'm not just talking about the playing side either. The club needs to decide what kind of direction it wants to go in, because from my point of view I'm doing everything I can. I'm massively considering my future at the moment because some things need to change."

Whatever change is required, everyone needs to pull in the same direction. We have the bulk of the squad that performed so admirably last season, with additions that should make us stronger. But the last couple of weeks have seen results that would knock the confidence of the best of teams.

In a situation where everyone involved needs a bit of self-belief, we have to believe that Hornets can do much better than this. So let's all take a step back, take a deep breath and keep the faith. Because without that, what do any of us have?