Sheffield Steelers’ player mounts strong defence of coach Paul Thompson 

New Steelers’ forward Brendan Brooks has waded into the controversial debate over the qualities of coach Paul Thompson, who is under fire from a portion of the fan base.

Thompson has borne the brunt of criticism over performances that have left Sheffield spectators disillusioned.

Paul Thompson and his bench, pic by Dean Rose

Paul Thompson and his bench, pic by Dean Rose

Some claim he has "lost the dressing room" and is behind the times.

Captain Jonathan Phillips has already mounted a public defence of "Thommo."

Now Brooks has made his position - and seemingly that of the roster - clear. Asked about some of the inept displays the team has given, Brooks said: "It is time to man-up, like he says. He has put all the right things into place. He has got the systems, everything, to make sure we are all prepared."

Instead: "It comes down to winning the one-on-one battles. It is time to play uncomfortable. If you are playing comfortable you know you are not going to be here long."

Brooks said Thompson's passion for the club was noticeable. "He loves this club, and if guys are not going to buy in like they need to...

"The talent is there, everybody has to find a way to buy in."

The winger said the coach was part of the reason why he came to Sheffield.

"He's not the problem right now. It's winning the one-on-one battles, manning up, playing tough in front of both sides of the net."

When The Star pointed out that some fans were claiming Thompson had lost the dressing room and was not as technically advanced as others, he said: "I totally disagree. The guys love him. I think he

is a great coach."

He insisted players needed to "look in the mirror" and see what they could do better. Sheffield take on Nottingham on Saturday night and Brooks says Steelers have to be "a lot better"

than their midweek performance against Dundee Stars.

"If you can't get up for a game against Nottingham you are in the wrong place, in the wrong league.

"It's our job as players to be ready for that game."

Panthers, who beat Steelers on the opening day, "are going to bring it and we have to match that."