No one wants to see their team lose 81-12 but Dubbo Rhinos coach Dave Stuart said he couldn’t fault his team’s effort against Forbes at Grinstead Oval on Saturday afternoon.
Stuart said the loss was just a reflection of the gap between the top four teams in Blowes Clothing Cup and the rest.
The Rhinos trailed 27-5 at half-time but the Platypi played mistake-free rugby in the second half and exposed the weaknesses in the under-strength visiting team.
“Forbes are a handy team. I think looking at the teams we played in the first round, it would be Emus and then Forbes, which reflects the ladder,” Stuart said.
“They’re just a very well organised side. It was 27-5 at half-time but in the latter stages of the game they figured out our weaknesses and exploited them fully.
“I really couldn’t fault the effort of our guys. They gave it everything, which is an improvement from some of our earlier games but those top four teams are just so good.”
Stuart said one of the reasons the top four teams are so far ahead is because of the depth they possess.
The Rhinos were already going into the game without captain Jordan Davis and several players nursing injuries but unplanned gameday withdrawals left them even shorter.
Stuart was forced to look to second grade and colts to get a team on the park.
“We had a number of guys out, and that’s not making any excuses, but it makes the job tougher,” the coach said.
“We had a young guy Rodney Jackson who played colts, then second grade and then I had to put him on the wing in firsts and he was great. He’s only just 18 years old but that was a great effort.
“That’s a big part of the difference. The top teams have that depth to cover injuries while I’m battling just to get a team on the paddock.”
Stuart said Kane Rich, Ricky Weatherall, Ross Gilmore and Ricky Weatherall deserved recognition for their effort against Forbes.
“Ricky made a break up the middle that created a try for Javarn Nofoagatotoa, it was a nice piece of play.”
The task doesn’t get any easier for the Dubbo side, with a match against the competition-leading Orange Emus on Saturday.