The Wentworthville Magpies Intrust Super Premiership NSW side lost their first game of the season last weekend, suffering a 22-14 loss to the Newcastle Knights.
Reflecting on the loss, Magpies Head Coach Joey Grima said that after leading the game for the opening 60 minutes, to have 22 unanswered points scored against his side was incredibly disappointing.
“It doesn’t matter what grade you play, there is a huge influence in momentum. We made an error, compounded by a try on their ensuing set then we kicked off and gave a penalty away and it was just too much momentum,” Grima said of the Round Four clash.
“I challenged our players to withstand that period of time, but it seemed a little bit difficult because Newcastle had all the ball, all the territory and all the momentum. To score four tries in the last 21 minutes was incredibly disappointing.”
“To lead 14 points to nil with 21 minutes to go, with the style of play we have been playing, I would of thought that it would have been enough to get the two points.” Grima added.
And whilst the Head Coach Grima challenged his players to withstand the pressure and ride out the momentum, the loss now provides a great opportunity for his players to learn from and take positives from.
“There weren’t too many things that we could have done, given the momentum that Newcastle had, other than the players attitude that would of changed the last twenty minutes of that game.”
“The players got themselves into that situation, and they needed to get themselves out of that situation.”
The challenge for Grima and his Wentworthville Magpies side this week come in the New Zealand Warriors.
An experienced side who have shown they are able to withstand the pressure and stay in the game despite momentum going against them.
“The Warriors, outside of the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles, probably have the most NRL experience,” Grima said of his Round Five opponents.
“Jonathan Wright comes back into their team this week and their forward Ali Lauititi has been playing some good football. They arguably have their best side this year, on paper.”
“Similar to our game, they were getting beat 34 points to nil at half time and they clawed their way back into the game and scored twenty-odd unanswered points in the second half. They are a dangerous side and we just need to understand where we are at, get our stuff in order first before we starting worrying about them.”
Grima has named a relatively unchanged line-up for Sunday’s clah, however he was particularly looking forward to seeing young forward Joseph Ualesi back in the side this week, for the first time in 2016.
“Sef has been training incredibly hard during the pre-season, and unfortunately an injury prevented him from trialling in the earlier games,” Grima said of Ualesi.
“He is such a great positive person to have around at training.”
“There are two positives about his return this weekend. I think we are going to get a quality player and just for his own well being, he will get back into some rugby league again which I am very excited for and glad to have him back this week. “
The Wentworthville Magpies will take on the New Zealand Warriors at Ringrose Park on Sunday 3 April. Kick off is at 1pm.