Roos eager to bounce back after opening round defeat

INJURED: Paul Elliott will miss Saturday's trip to Cowra with a knee complaint. Photo: NICK GUTHRIE
INJURED: Paul Elliott will miss Saturday's trip to Cowra with a knee complaint. Photo: NICK GUTHRIE

Ask most teams involved in Central West Rugby which road trip they like the least, and the answer more often than not would be Cowra at Cowra.

But that is the task that will confront the Dubbo Kangaroos on Saturday, when they hit the road to face the Eagles in round two of the revamped Blowes Clothing Cup competition.

Both sides are coming off big round one losses, the Eagles beaten 47-7 by Bathurst Bulldogs while the Roos could muster only one try themselves in a 31-7 loss to a clinical Forbes.

On that occasion the Roos were beaten by a side that has experience on their side, the bulk of which was made up from last year’s premiership winning the squad.

Coach Vince Gordon said the big key for his side heading to Cowra would be to continue doing the good things well.

“It will be a challenge down there, it always is, but I think we did enough right against Forbes to suggest we’ll go alright this week,” he said.

“Our scrum was good, we had plenty of activity on the ground, and we beat them in the lineouts all day.

“What we didn’t do was adapt to various things through the match, mainly matching up on their halfback (Mahe Fangupo) when he was playing the short side and creating overlaps.

“We’re learning a new system under Beau Robinson and it’s going to take time, but in saying that we don’t want to start the season with losses in our first two games so that’s our incentive to go out and play well on Saturday.”

If the Roos are to roll the Eagles, they will need to do it with a side vastly different from the one which took the paddock against Forbes.

Mark Baldwin will miss due to family commitments, Paul Elliott has a knee injury, Tom Sheridan is nursing a sore shoulder and Anthony Golding will also be away.

But Gordon said he has faith in the players called in to the squad to do the job.

“Our Colts don’t have a match this week, and some of those boys are going to come and play second grade, and some second grade guys will step up into first grade,” he said.

“That’s one of the big advantages of having this system that Beau is trying to implement.

“It means that guys are learning the structures and game plans from the time they come into the system, so no matter when they get called to step up, not much actually changes.

“The benefits are going to be there long-term but we have to adapt and learn it pretty quickly at the same time.”

Gordon said he expects the Eagles to play a free-flowing style of football aimed at disrupting the Roos.

“They’ve got enough smart footballers and football minds down there to have a plan for us. It will be a good game,” he said.