Beau Robinson has urged Kangaroos fans to be patient after the new-look Dubbo side suffered a 31-7 drubbing at the hands of Forbes on Saturday.
The appointment of former Wallaby Robinson as director of rugby had brought much joy to Roos supporters but there was little to cheer about at No. 1 Oval on Saturday afternoon.
Instead, it was the defending premiers who opened the 2018 Blowes Clothing Cup season in style.
Mahe Fangupo was sensational at scrumhalf for Forbes, capitalising time and time again on Roos mistakes and turnovers.
But despite the heavy round one loss, the Roos’ sole try was a consolation inside the final 10 minutes, Robinson isn’t panicking.
“I don’t know how long it will take but I’ve said it’s going to take time for that cohesion and it’s a bit tough because a few blokes are away next week and that doesn’t help,” he said.
“But I’m a patient man and I’ve got to be with bringing this sort of stuff in.”
While its going to take some time before the Roos are at their best, you could be forgiven for thinking the Platypi haven’t had an off-season at all.
They were tough early on when the Roos started the better and when they dominated possession but only had one try to show for it approaching half time there was never any panic.
Instead, they produced the consistent type of play which they were synonymous with during last season’s run to the title while Fangupo added a polish only a few in country rugby can.
“He’s the one who directs us around the field and he’s class at this level,” Forbes coach Heamani Lavaka said of Fangupo.
“But our guys have to make sure and have to play a gamplan that suits his style.”
Lavaka was thrilled with his side’s performance, particularly early on.
The Roos enjoyed a strong start after an emotional opening where Dean Walton led the hosts out on the ground barely two months after his son Jake, who played for the club, tragically passed away.
The match was preceded by a minutes silence in honour of Jake and the club his family’s business, Walton Rural Supplies, sponsors began the far better.
But the Platypi kept the hosts at bay, much like they did during the qualifying semi-final win over the Roos last season.
After some sustained pressure it was flanker Andrew Hubbard who opened the scoring and that lead was extended approaching half time through Jake Coulthurst after some smart play from captain Jack Hammond, who started in the 10 rather than his regular spot in the centres.
The first stanza wasn’t a good one for the Roos as they trailed 14-0, had recruit Mark Baldwin yellow carded for high shot and lost Paul Elliot to a knee injury after he came down heavily on the No. 1 cricket pitch.
The second half began horribly for the hosts as Hamish Gordon’s kick-off went out on the full and Forbes’ Ed Thomas crossed shortly after.
Fangupo, who caused havoc down the blind side from scrums and rucks all game, darted away and trampled the Roos defence on his way to scoring and securing the bonus point shortly after and by the 60 minute mark it was 31-0 after the scrumhalf put Thomas over for a second.
Hooker Jarrod Hall nailing the conversion from the sidelines gave the travelling fans even more reason to cheer.
Anthony Golding set up the neat try for Roos winger Tim Beach late on but there was little celebrating as the clock ticked towards full time.
“Our defence won us the game. They got the ball in the first 15 minutes but then we came back and used the ball really wisely,” Lavaka said.
“We had three trials and we’ve got a few new guys so coming here we were testing what they were like and most of them put their hands up and did well.
“We know it’s going to be an intense competition so to start like this was very pleasing.”
Robinson felt the match was closer than score suggested, stating simple errors can be “fixed up easily” while adding he was pleased most tries were scored out wide rather than through the middle.
He was also pleased with physicality and some of the rattling hits his side produced and that will be needed again next weekend when his side heads to Cowra to take on the Eagles.
- FORBES PLATYPI 31 (Ed Thomas 2, Andrew Hubbard, Mahe Fangupo, Josh Coulthurst tries; Fangupo 2, Jarrod Hall goals) def DUBBO KANGAROOS 7 (Tim Beach try, Anthony Golding goal)