Lazarus day for Roosters
IT was only six weeks ago that Nambucca Heads coach Garren Stig was thinking he wouldn’t even see his team run on to the paddock let alone grab the two points in the opening round of the season.
“Pat Broderick has pulled the club together, he really has,” Stig said after yesterday’s 24-10 win over Bellingen.
“I rang him up six weeks ago and we just didn’t have the numbers there and he said ‘if you want to fold them, fold’.
“I came to training and there was about four or five blokes there and guys like Geoff Batten I asked ‘what do you want to do?’
"They said ‘we’re sticking with it’.
“It’s the usual thing around here, once you get closer to the games they start coming out.”
And some good names have come out. Over the summer the Roosters secured Bert Gray, Jesse McEwen and Cameron Blair. While all three look well short of a gallop Stig said their value lies elsewhere.
“If we can hold this side together we can manage the side,” he said.
“There’s not a lot of coaching involved with these fellas.
"When you’ve got Bertie Gray, Mick Ronan, Geoff Batten and Cameron Blair, there’s not a lot of coaching needs to be done, it’s just player management.”
Yesterday’s win was one built on courage as well.
Only 10 minutes into the contest referee Jason Townley sent off second-rower Dion Marr which left the Roosters a player short for 70 minutes.
Centre Jayden Austen, who had spent the summer training with Newcastle’s Toyota Cup squad often defended the entire left flank on his own while Marr was cooling his heels on the sideline, scored two great tries to be the player of the match.
Then again the Roosters were given plenty of opportunities.
Bellingen was its own worst enemy completing only nine of the 29 sets of possession it had for the match.
Often the Magpies gifted field position to the Roosters early in the tackle count and new Magpies captain-coach Ryan O’Connor was a clearly frustrated man post match.
“We’ve got a simple game plan and we didn’t do it once,” O’Connor bemoaned.
“Somehow we were still in the game with just under 20 minutes to play.
"We couldn’t have played any worse and we were still two tries out of it.”
With a new line-up at his disposal O’Connor knew it would take some time for his team to gel and he was prepared to forgive a few mistakes because of it.
The prop forward never expected so many mistakes.
“We were 100 times better than that last week against the Comets, we missed only two sets in 30 minutes so that performance wasn’t a time thing, it was attitude,” he said.
“We probably turned up a bit over-confident, we were confident that if we did the right thing we’d win but nine from 29 is only 30 per cent.”