LESSONS HEEDED FROM UNI VISIT
Marlins leaders spoke about bottling the disappointment and sticking tight as a unit in the moments after the shattering 21-17 loss to Sydney Uni last Saturday.
The boys in blue were inches away from scoring when the referee, flown in from the Brisbane comp for some work experience, strangely blew a knock-on and then fulltime to end a courageous fightback at Uni Oval.
Skipper Hunter Ward, vice-captain Ivan Fepule’ai and coach Chris Delooze all addressed the players in a deathly quiet dressing-room, imploring them to harness the anger and keep moving forward following our first loss since early May.
“We remember this, we stay connected and we move on. You have to keep believing you are the best team in the competition,” Ward said.
“Nothing is going to stop us from our mission.”
We trailed 14-3 at halftime and 21-10 early in the second half following a beautiful try to centre Fraser Conway after Ofa Manuofetoa collected Lewis Dennett’s deft midfield chip kick.
It became a four-point game when we scored again with 20 to go.
With a big contingent of Marlins supporters roaring the boys home, we were coming to get the Students before the whistle stopped us dead in our tracks.
“There wasn’t much they did wrong,” Delooze said of his team.
“I didn’t feel like we got rewarded and it hurt in the big moments.
“Our best takeaway, I think, was how we changed the momentum of the game and started winning that momentum back and started applying pressure.
“There’s also a small bit of confusion as to what happened at the end there, but the result hurts.”
The Shute Shield waits for no man and we immediately turn our attention to a super important home clash with nemesis Hunter Wildfires on Saturday.
We’ve played the Novocastrians five times since they were re-admitted to the competition for four losses and a draw.
Delooze said: “As a club it’s probably one of our biggest challenges because we haven’t beaten them yet, so we need to get after it.
“We’re not talking about finals this far out or looking any further than the Wildfires.”