Eagles dig deep to reach NRC heights
NSW Country Eagles coach Darren Coleman says that this NRC season has been unchartered territory for his coaching and playing group.
The Eagles are yet to record a single competition point as they head into Round Four after two losses and a bye weekend and are anchored at the bottom of the NRC ladder.
“We’ve definitely under performed and the results have shown that,” Coleman said.
“It’s frustrating and disappointing and certainly not how we planned to start the year but we’re determined to turn it all around.
“Besides the result in Fiji there were a lot of positives to come out of being away last weekend and I could tell that the group had bonded.
“You could see that from the body language from the boys and the way that they interacted at the airport on their way home and I am sure that we are a tighter group from that.”
The Eagles head to Armidale on Saturday for their first home game and will take on the Canberra Vikings who in some people’s minds were very unlucky not to come over the top of Brisbane City last weekend.
The Vikings, undefeated until last weekend, finished with the wind in their sails at the Uni of Queensland grounds and it was only some Quade Cooper magic with ball in hand and an unblemished record off the the tee that saved the locals in the 42-40 result.
“It’s starting to get a bit tricky that’s for sure,” Coleman said of the Eagles 2017 predicament.
“History says, and we’re fortunate in that we have never been in this position before, that if you drop you’re first two or three it’s very hard to work your way back into the competition.
“In the previous three years we’ve always been in and around the playoff positions the whole time and it’s going to be the first time we have to wrestle our way up from the bottom.
“It’s a challenge that I am looking forward to – it’s going to test my coaching ability and the ability of my coaches.
“And it’s also going to test the moral fabric of the boys in how they can get us back and winning.
“Canberra are going to strong. It’s was a flip of the coin in their game against Brisbane City – it’s effectively a Brumbies (Super Rugby) squad that we will be taking on so we’re not under any illusions about how tough it’s going to be.”
But there is some light for the Eagles with the return this week of one of the mainstays from their 2016 run to the final, Kyle Godwin.
“He (Godwin) was outstanding for us last year,” Coleman said.
“We’re starting to look a lot better. The backline with Jake Gordon at scrumhalf, Godwin, Alex Newsome and Andrew Kellaway is a lot more solid.
“I’m hoping that with the reunion of those guys that we can start to hit a bit of form.”
IMAGE KAREN WATSON