Abu Dhabi Wildcats Coach Tony Robinson Questions the Winning Menality of His Struggling side
After getting trashed 40-0 in their last game to the Dubai Barracudas, the road gets no easier for Abu Dhabi as they host the Dubai Stallions Friday at Zayed Sports City.
In the aftermath of arguably the worst loss in the team’s three-year-plus history, Robinson revealed he had players quit rather than deal with the first-year coach’s level of expectations.
“With the exception of coach [Cedric] Tanksley, I don’t think before that these guys were given an honest expectation of the sport or an honest expectation of what the commitment level will be like,” Robinson said.
“I don’t think they understand what it takes to be a winning team just yet.
“It’s a process and it’s going to take some time. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not mailing this season in, but I’m already looking forward to next season and some of the things we’ll do differently moving forward.
”To make matters worse, starting quarterback and leader Perry Blackburn is out for the season to an injury he suffered against the Barracudas.
In his absence, the Wildcats went with Saber Belghith under centre, but Robinson could use running back Vivaldi Tulysse at the position “if push comes to shove”.
While Abu Dhabi are massively struggling, Stallions coach Anthony Daniels is ready for a bounce-back effort.
“Any time a team loses like that, they try harder to come back from it,” Daniels said. “I think they’ll put more effort into getting ready for this week’s game, so we’ll try to do the same thing on our end also.”
One factor the Wildcats have in their favour is they’ll play their first home game in the nation’s capital.
There’s no illusion of a home-field advantage based on overwhelming fan support, but Robinson foresees a boost mentally.
“I’ve seen a difference in the guys in practice knowing they get to play at home and once it’s over, they don’t have an hour-and-a-half drive back home,” Robinson said.
“They’re really excited about it.”
JAY ASSER - SPORT 360