Beasties suffer from second round syndrome again in disappointing loss to Warringah 

Photo: Karen Watson

After tearing the defending premiers apart in the second half at University Oval in round one, many were talking Eastern Suburbs up as the team to beat in 2019. 

In round two, they took on a Warringah side who were belted by Norths a week prior. 

The smart money was on the visitors and not even the most optimistic of Hillbillies would have predicted what came next. 

“Our execution was just way off, we had too much drop ball and unfortunately it was exactly what we did in the second round last year. We had a very off day,” Easts coach Pauli Taumoepeau told Rugby News. 

Warringah also looked like a different side and controlled proceedings from the opening whistle, scoring four tries in a comprehensive 37-14 victory. 

For the second straight year, Easts failed to fire in round two after a big opening round win. 

“Right from the first kickoff, we didn’t execute our kickoff plan. We wanted to try and skin them out wide and the opportunity was there but we just took the easy option and played safe,” Taumoepeau said. 

“That was the tone for most of the game unfortunately. We just didn’t take the opportunities that we should have and Warringah defended really well.

“A lot of our drop balls seemed to come at the end of a really good movement. We’d be in the middle of some really positive play and then we’d throw a bad pass or drop the ball. Guys were just dropping it cold, it was hard not to scratch your head at times.”

Taumoepeau said he didn’t think his players fell victim to believing their own hype after an impressive round one win and said it was simply an off day for the visitors. 

“We’ve made sure we keep everything internally focussed so I don’t think complacency is to blame, we just had an off day and as humans that happens sometimes. 

“We’re not reading into the hype or listening to what others are saying about us, we just had a very bad day and it cost us. 

“After the win against Uni, we moved on really quickly. Then after a disappointing loss, we’ll do the same. Nothing changes from that perspective, we know we made a lot of simple errors and we need to fix that but we don’t need to go and make any drastic changes. 

The coach said there were a lot of similarities between Warringah’s round one performance against Norths and Easts’ effort against the Rats. 

“There was no reason for Warringah to play the way they did against Norths, they just didn’t turn up and unfortunately, we did the same thing in round two,” he said. 

“It’s disappointing because we both lacked effort in our losses and you can’t afford to do that in this competition.”

Taumoepeau was full of praise for the Mark Gerrard coached Warringah side, who he believes will be in the mix again in 2019. 

“When you look at that side, they’ve got Sam Needs, Sam Ward, Josh Holmes, Harry Jones, Tyson Davis and Sam Thomson. Almost half of their side are absolute champions and they’re the guys that can settle things down after a big loss and help the side regroup. 

“There was talk that they’re going through a rebuilding phase but I think that’s rubbish. 

“They’re back to back grand finalists. Sure, they’ve got a new coach but they’ve got the nucleus of a championship team and as long as they have that, they’re going to be hard to beat.”

Easts face a similar challenge this weekend when they cross the Harbour Bridge to take on Manly at Manly Oval. 

“Plus they’re coming off a loss as well, so that sucks for us. You never want to play a side coming off a loss but I thought they were good against Eastwood,” Taumoepeau said of the Marlins four point loss to the Woodies. 

“They’ve got Hilterbrand, Humfrey, Adrian Hall, Kotoni, Bergelin, Mick Adams and Northam were great last week. They’re all dangerous players.

“Then you put them at Manly Oval, I think it’s Ladies Day. It’s going to be a tough day.”