A FIRST half lapse in concentration ended up costing Deniliquin in their 29-25 loss to Southern Inland Rugby Union powerhouse Wagga City on Saturday.
The Drovers proved they can match it with the best in their round six second grade clash at the Hardinge St Oval.
Deni opened the scoring when talented fullback Todd Thocolich was put through a hole out wide. Thocolich managed to step his opposite number and score his first five-pointer in Deniliquin colours.
Despite missing the conversion, skipper Jack Ellice-Flint slotted a penalty goal minutes later to see his side hold an 8-0 lead.
But the Drovers weren’t in front for long.
Wagga City’s bigger bodies started to dominate, culminating in three quick tries. The Boiled Lollies raced to a 19-8 advantage by half time.
Deniliquin coach Warwick Strong said it was this “lapse in concentration” that ended up costing the home side.
“We sort of went to sleep again,” Strong said.
“It’s a bad habit we keep slipping back into.
“Their tries were pretty soft. We just missed tackles and made some silly errors.”
The Drovers knew they had to step up in the second half if they were to avoid embarrassment against a classy City outfit.
The home side knuckled down and ended up scoring three tries to Wagga’s two.
Young prop T.A. Keremeta barged over for the locals, while utility Justin Barnett bagged a double after moving into the forwards from outside centre.
“We came home really well,” Strong said.
“But it was a case of too little too late.
“Once again a lapse in concentration cost us.
“We’ve got a damn good side, but we just switch off and let the opposition back in the game.
“We have to learn to play the full 80 minutes.”
Strong said there are still plenty of positives, despite his side dropping its last three matches.
“These games are toughening us up,” he said.
“We’re having to face a few first graders each week and it’s making us play better.
“If we can just play out the full 80 minutes we’ll be hard to stop.”
Experienced second-rower Scott Ison took the three votes as Deni’s best, while Les Dicker claimed two and Keremeta one.
Hooker Bernard Schoeman was named the Players’ Player and Mason Brown won the Dingo Award.