Western Rams under 23s coach Darren Jackson hopes his young side will learn from the experience and disappointment following Saturday’s 62-0 drubbing from Monaro in round one of the Country Rugby League Championships.
Monaro ran in 11 unanswered tries in a clinical performance at Cowra’s Sid Kallas Oval, booking their spot in next weekend’s round two match against Riverina and shattering Western’s 2017 hopes in the process.
Jackson described the result as a “low point” in his coaching career, having prepared the Rams to the best of his ability for a tilt at this year’s title.
“At representative footy you always hope that scorelines like this don’t happen but unfortunately it did. We spoke in the lead up about being clinical in the way we were going to play and we prepared the best we can in these circumstances.
“I thought we were going to be better than that,” Darren Jackson said.
Monaro applied endless pressure throughout the 80 minutes, with their strategy of playing direct proving extremely effective.
Six tries were scored by the men from Canberra before the break, three of those coming in a ruthless 10 minute performance before half-time to lead 34-0.
The Rams, featuring Dubbo CYMS quartet Alex Bonham, Lee Price and Lincoln and Wade Kavanagh, dug deep during the early exchanges of the second period but a try to Monaro lock Josh Baker in the 55th gave the visitors momentum to pile on a further 28 unanswered points before full-time.
Monaro’s fullback Jake Wheeler, centre Ryley Thomas and winger Tolokana Aroha-Tuinauvai all completed doubles in the second 40 minutes.
Jackson identified a lack of discipline as Western’s downfall. But he’s urging the young squad to take plenty away from the experience and highlighted Blayney second-rower Rakai Tuheke as a standout for the hosts.
“Not controlling play and giving away back to back penalties. When you are doing defence, on top of defence, on top of defence you are not going to win footy games and that obviously showed,” he said.
“Obviously we’re feeling a bit low at the moment. As long as the boys learn from this experience and learn from the feeling. A lot of the kids still have two and three years of this concept so hopefully going forward we’re in better stead.
“I though Rakai Tuheke from Blayney looked really good. I think all the forwards compliment themselves. It’s a new concept for everyone. The effort was there but execution wasn’t. We’ll go back to the drawing board and see what happens from there.”
Monaro coach Ashley Barnes praised his troops on an outstanding performance.
He was particularly pleased with the fact they kept Western scoreless.
“The most pleasing aspect was our defence, keeping Western to nil. They have a number of strike players in their team so to hold them to nil I was really pleased. We wanted to take pride in our line and the boys bought into that. They could have easily let one in but they really had the want to defend,” Monaro coach Ashley Barnes said.
Monaro advance to round two of the Country Rugby League Championships and play Riverina at West Wyalong next weekend.
Barnes said his troops got through the match unscathed and will be raring to go next Saturday.
“I’m expecting them [Riverina] to be a really tough side. The boys got through quite well. They’re a good group so they will get into recovery now and they’ll be right,” Barnes said.
Monaro 62 (Jake Wheeler 2, Ryley Thomas 2, Tolokana Aroha-Tuinauvai 2, Jed Simbikin, Jack Hickson, Josh Baker, Ryan McQueen, Mitch Shaw; Josh Baker six, Tori Freeman goals) defeated Western Rams 0.