18s searching for consistency

Toby Dasey and the Gundagai Tigers will want to put in a good performance when playing the Southcity Bulls on Sunday.

While they sit atop the Weissel Cup table after six rounds of the Group 9 competition, the Gundagai Tigers under 18s are yet to play a complete 60 minutes of rugby league in 2022. 

After byes in rounds one and two of the competition, the Tigers came out and drew with Tumut 10-all in round three but it was a tough result to swallow after Gundagai dominated for long periods of the match.

They hit back in round four, defeating Junee 26-16 and then against Young in round five, the Tigers drew for a second time, finishing level with the Cherrypickers 10-all after once again dominating large chunks of the contest. 

On Saturday, the Tigers ran into the Wagga Kangaroos and led 18-6 at half time after playing some good rugby league, but they capitulated in the second stanza, and were lucky to win 18-16, with the siren thwarting a Roos comeback. 

Co-coach Paul Jones said it was sometimes difficult to know which side he would get on game day.

“It’s hard with 18-year-old’s,” Jones laughed. 

“I have been dealing with them for a couple of years now and you don’t always know when you’ve got them. 

“Don’t get me wrong; when they’re on, they’re on, but sometimes you don’t know whether they will turn up or not.”

Jones admitted Saturday’s 18-16 win over the Kangaroos was difficult to watch, and he believes complacency crept into his side’s performance after such a strong start. 

“I don’t know whether they thought they had the game in the bag or what, but they didn’t play well in the second half and we were lucky to win,” Jones said. 

When asked how he would address complacency and consistency, Jones said it all came down to his side’s preparation and work ethic.  

“We need to do some hard work,” Jones said.  

“We need to be pushing through that tough part of the game. 

“They get a bit tired and don’t push through that pain barrier and we need a bit of effort-on-effort and that’s what we are focusing on tonight (Wednesday). 

“It will be about doing the hard yards, then regathering and going again.”

Following six rounds, Gundagai are atop a very condensed Weissel Cup table, with only two competition points separating first and sixth and Jones was relatively happy with his side’s start to the season.

“I am pretty happy,” Jones said. 

“We train well, but in a lot of games we have missed out. We should have won against Tumut and Young, and put more points on Wagga last week. 

“There are players there putting in a lot, but there are others who could push harder, but as we train and play more, that will come.”

Gundagai take on a Southcity Bulls side that defeated Young 26-20 on Sunday and Jones is expecting another tough outing when travelling to Wagga on Sunday to play at Harris Park in round seven of the competition. 

“They beat Young last round, which was a surprise, and we know that if we go in and take them lightly, we won’t come away with the points,” Jones said. 

“It is that tight of a competition, anyone could lose if you don’t bring your best and play good passages of football.

“We are learning that the hard way and hopefully the boys are switched on this weekend.”

Location: Harris Park

Kick-off: 11am

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