Skandalis backs Brooks despite Tigers woes

·2-min read

Wests Tigers premiership player John Skandalis was as devastated as the fans that booed the NRL side off the park at halftime on Sunday.

But he says halfback Luke Brooks shouldn't be the fall guy for the side's disastrous 40 minutes against North Queensland on a day they had hoped to honour favourite son Tommy Raudonikis.

Brooks wore the no.22 jersey while the Wests legend's no.7 jersey was retired for the day and draped over a chair on the Tigers bench.

But they let in five tries to trail 28-6 at the break, eventually losing 34-30 in what was almost one of the great comebacks.

"I'm a bit devastated, like everybody was," Skandalis, who now has a corporate and sponsorship role at the club, told AAP on Tuesday.

"They're working hard but it's the slow starts ... hearing the crowd booing as you come off is never good whether you're still involved in the club or not.

"Not nice as a player, or an ex-player like me watching.

"They're devastated and rattled by what happened; it wasn't just the loss, it was what the day represented.

"They really wanted to win, not for themselves but on behalf of Tommy."

Halfback Brooks hasn't played one finals game in the eight seasons he's piloted the club.

But Skandalis is adamant he isn't to blame.

"I don't listen to guys calling for his head; he's an experienced player and you can't just go out and buy that," he said.

"It's something we've put a lot of time and effort into and I don't think he's playing all that badly.

"If everyone else does their job I reckon people are writing different stuff about Brooks."

The Tigers are now 1-4 and facing a steep task to make a top-eight case ahead of Saturday's date with South Sydney.

"It sometimes stays in the back of your head, in the papers and start of the season that's all you read is that we haven't made semis in so many years," Skandalis said.

"It does get to you a little bit when you hear it and I understand the fans want to see us at the big dance and they're hungry for it, so we just ask they keep supporting us and keep backing us.

"After a loss like that you'd be jumping out of your skin from the moment your coach gave you a spray.

"You're putting your clothes on and you're thinking about the next game already."