Dubbo Rhinos coach Doug Sandry admits his side's recent performances are reason for concern with the New Holland Agriculture Cup finals looming.
The Rhinos suffered a 28-21 loss to the last-placed Narromine Gorillas on Saturday and they now must recover quickly ahead of a final round meeting with minor premiers-in-waiting Parkes in next weekend's final round.
The Rhinos are guaranteed to finish fourth and travel to take on the Mudgee Wombats in the minor semi-final, but Sandry knows things need to improve if his side is to go further than that.
"We've just got to be more effective and better if we're going to be winning any more games this season," Sandry said.
Saturday's loss came a week after the Rhinos gave up a 16-point half-time lead in a loss to CSU.
"It is a little concerning," Sandry said.
"The second half against CSU and the first half against Narromine, we just went away from our structure and I can't put my finger on why.
"We've got to sort it out quickly. Our backs were really flat and didn't have that penetration but, more importantly, you've for to give Narromine's defence credit."
The Gorillas were simply the better side at their home ground on Saturday as they delivered one of their best performances of the season in their last match for 2021.
They were the better side and it was a deserved victory.Doug Sandry on Narromine
The Gorillas have the bye in next week's final round but Saturday gave their fans something to cheer about, as captain Tim Allworth, Eric Dayes, Dylan Ryan, and Benjamin Madgwick all scored in the victory.
"They really, really stuck it to us," Sandry said.
"They turned up ready to play and they dominated the breakdown, dominated the ruck, ran harder, ran straighter, and won the game.
"They were the better side and it was a deserved victory."
Two late tries were a positive for the Rhinos and Sandry said it was proof of what his side can do when it sticks to the plan.
Unfortunately it wasn't the case for much of the game as there was plenty of errors and players too often pushed a pass that wasn't there.
Teahu Baker, Nash Forgione, and Neal Madden scored the tries while Dale Smith had a good day with the boot, kicking all three conversions, while he again earned praise from his coach for his performance at flyhalf.
Another plus for the Rhinos was three colts players making their debut in the top grade.
Dasun Samarakoon, Loni Langi, and Kaiden Hill all got time on the Cale Oval field and Sandry said each of them proved they could handle first grade action.
"They were terrific," he said.
"That's a bit exciting for us for next year but we've just got to work harder and fix up the silly errors."
- NARROMINE GORILLAS 28 (Tim Allworth, Eric Dayes, Dylan Ryan, Benjamin Madgwick tries; Alexander Heap 4 conversions) defeated DUBBO RHINOS 21 (Teahu Baker, Nash Forgione, Neal Madden tries; Dale Smith 3 conversions)
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