Incoming Widnes coach John Kear says it looked like the side had forgotten how to win in the recent defeat to York.
In the early part of the season, bookmakers including Bet 22, had Widnes as high as third favourites for promotion – but they are now on a run of 11 defeats in 12 games.
After leading for virtually the whole match, from Danny Craven’s try inside two minutes, the Vikings went down 16-14 to James Ford’s side with a late Matty Marsh try.
Due to take charge at the DCBL Stadium, Kear told the Love Rugby League podcast about the first things he’ll look to do in the job.
He said: “The tough things are to sit down with each player and point out exactly what I want. I think what people tend to do when things aren’t going so well is complicate things more and look for deeper answers.
“Often the best thing to do is strip it bare and make it very simple indeed, make the roles easier to understand so people can execute those roles. Straight away, I’ve watched every game except two, and it looked against York in a great position to beat them but it looked like they had forgotten how to win. A bit of lack of composure and naivety and players you wouldn’t expect to make those decisions.
“York didn’t play very well but what they did, they showed resilience and belief they could win. Instilling that confidence and self-belief, it takes some doing, but what I’m going to do is go in there and make it as simple as possible so that we can build gradually over the rest of this season.”
Kear’s appointment was announced earlier this month, following the departure of Simon Finnigan back in April.
His international commitments with Wales, who played in France last weekend, plus the promise of a holiday with his wife meant a delayed start.
He added: “You’ve got to have positive things in your life and you’ve got to have projects in your life that you want to buy into and work towards. I just like being busy and I like being involved and thankfully I’ve got another opportunity with that as a head coach of a great club with Widnes.
“I’ve been really fortunate. It’s been nice people have contacted me about roles, I had a player agent ask if I wanted to go in to that side, I had a rugby union club and a couple of rugby league clubs but the one that really appealed was Widnes.
“The facilities there are excellent, there’s a great fanbase.
“I honestly do believe they’ve underachieved this year and I like to think that I can get the best out of individuals and a group as well.
“And that will obviously be my immediate aim and from that in the off-season it’s to grow that playing group and improve it through recruitment and retention.
“It’s a fair old task. It’s a task I’m going to relish and I hope that the club see the fruits of my labour this year but more importantly in 2023 because that’s when you’re really going to have to put your best foot forward both on and of the field to play at the highest level you possibly can.”