NSW Cup Round 23 Match Preview vs Sydney Roosters

Wayne Cousins

Blacktown Workers Coach Wayne Lambkin says the team’s ability to defend under pressure was the key lesson taken from last week’s opening-round win in The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup.

 

The Sea Eagles kicked their season off with a hard-fought 24-20 win over South Sydney Rabbitohs at 4 Pines Park in a game that saw Blacktown struggle for 60 minutes before clicking into gear late to snatch victory.

“We just made way too many errors with the footy. Our completion rate was way down. At one stage, it was under 50 per cent. We had to do a lot of defence,’’ Lambkin said.

“They had a little bit of luck with kicks coming off us and bouncing back to them with six to go, so it was kind of evolving all the time.

“We only had a certain amount of time to win the game, so we focused our footy down their right side and we were able to score three tries. It was a very pleasing last 20 minutes.

“The good thing is that we played off the back of momentum and played in an area of the field that we identified as a bit of a weakness.

“I must credit the boys for how good our defence was under immense pressure early. To only go in at 10-6 down at half-time is what most probably allowed us to win the game.

“The momentum that this team can build, along with the finish and quality on the edges, is pretty good.

“What these guys get out of last week is a massive trust in their defence under pressure.”

Lambkin said he was pleased with the performance of several players.

“Full-back Bayley Hodgson was really good and scored two tries. I thought Jake Arthur and Brandon Wakeham were really steady in what was a tough game for halves,’’ Lambkin added.

“I also thought (prop) Aitasi James was really good, especially in the back end of that 20 minutes. He really gave us that momentum.”

Blacktown Workers return to 4 Pines Park this Sunday for a round two clash against the Sydney Roosters at 1.45pm.

The Sea Eagles will welcome the return of second-rower Josh Schuster from a calf strain in his first game of the season after missing the pre-season trials.

The Roosters head into the match on the back of a 28-22 loss to Penrith at St Marys Stadium last Saturday.