Team Northumbria playcaller Marc Steutel vented his frustration after his side fell short against a strong Loughborough outfit – losing vital ground in the Division One title race.
In TN’s first tie of the weekend, Steutel’s side ran out 12-point winners against Bradford Dragons as they dispatched their West Yorkshire opponents 80-68.
However, despite that win, Steutel was disappointed with his side’s performance over the two games.
“We got exposed,” said Steutel, in the wake of an 86-77 loss to Loughborough.
“I think over the two games we played pretty similar but Loughborough exploited our errors.
“There were mental lapses and breakdowns on our part.
“We weren’t able to finish plays which was frustrating because it was something we’d talked all week about.
“Loughborough played exactly how we knew they were going to play.
“They dictated tempo at the start of the game and we weren’t mentally strong enough to make plays.
“We need to do a better job ourselves.
“It was a complete mental breakdown out there.
“We didn’t rotate well enough or rebound well enough and offensively our decision making at times was poor.”
And while Steutel admitted that he was struggling to find positives from this weekend he did highlight Jack Preston’s performance.
“It’s a weird one,” added Steutel.
“I feel we’re a team of individuals right now and I’m not sure where our togetherness is as a side.
“I thought Jack Preston did exactly what he was supposed to do in both games.
“He’s a bit on an unsung hero for us and does things that maybe a lot of people don’t see.
“I think he was our most consistent player on both sides of the ball.”
Despite the deflation of the Loughborough result, Steutel has challenged his side to raise their game ahead of a congested fixture list.
“We have to look at the performance against Loughborough and say why did we get broken down here defensively or why couldn’t we finish a play here on both sides of the ball,” he added.
“We’re a team that’s based around consistent, smart, and tough defence.
“Right now I think that’s a lot of words that we’re not living and breathing.
“So moving forward, we must be better because we’ve potentially got a lot of games coming our way in the next 20 days.”
Report by Oscar Haley