On Saturday, the Yass Magpies met the official halfway point of the season with a resounding win over the Goulburn Bulldogs.
On a dreary day, the ladies’ league tag and reserve grade teams played through a constant drizzle, but the sun came out for the first graders, and the Yass team took advantage of the sudden warmth.
The match did not start well from Goulburn’s standpoint when they dropped the ball on the kickoff.
From there, it was a steady procession of Magpies tries until half time, when the score stood at 34-0 and the threat of a hammering loomed for the Bulldogs.
Magpies coach Jarrad Teka said that the plan was to heap the pressure on Goulburn from the outset.
“We knew they were on a bit of a losing streak, so the plan was to get off to a good start, put them under the pump early, turn them around, make life as hard as possible for them,” Teka said.
“Losing is a bit of a habit after a while, so we were hoping that if we put them under the pump and crack them early, we could crack them right open.”
However, Bulldogs coach Adam Kyle let rip during the break, and the Goulburn side came into the second half revitalised.
Although Yass scored an early try, Goulburn replied with four of their own in a much more competitive display.
It did not prove enough to overhaul the Magpies, but the match finished with the score at 50-24.
Teka said that the surge from Goulburn in the second half was enabled by complacency from the Magpies.
“I think we put a few points on them early, and I think we got a little bit complacent to be honest,” he said.
“We showed them a bit of a glimpse and they took it. Put a few points on us, which is disappointing because that was a fairly solid performance, our best of the year.”
The Magpies’ motivation to put on such a commanding performance came, in part, from some criticism the team had received from the Canberra Region Rugby League (CRRL).
“We responded well to a bit of criticism from the Canberra Rugby League,” Teka said.
“Rated our attackers eighth in the comp, last, so we had a bit of a point to prove and I feel we did that today.”
Although he was pleased with their second half effort, Kyle was frustrated with his side’s continued inability to start matches at full capacity.
“We won the second half, but I suppose you can’t really start games dropping the kickoff,” he said.
“It’s something that we’ve talked about all season, we’ve talked about trying to come out with some good enthusiasm and intensity.
“I think it’s just being more aware of game situations and where we are and what we have to do to just get through things to get the ball back.”
Next Saturday, the Magpies will take on the Queanbeyan Blues at Walker Park from 3:00pm.