Group 20 rugby league
THE Yenda Blueheelers have just one month to save their flagging Group 20 season, coach Roy Romeo admits.
Last year's beaten preliminary finalists have had a shocking start to the year, winning just two of seven games to leave them at serious risk of losing touch with the competition's top brass.
For so long, the talk has been that the Blueheelers will eventually click into gear and realise their incredible potential - but the 56-0 thrashing in West Wyalong earlier this month has changed everything.
"I've got confidence we're good enough," Romeo said.
"We're working hard at it but things aren't clicking at the moment for us.
"The time for excuses is gone now, we've just got to knuckle down and get us out of this slump we're in.
"The next month is going to tell us where we're really at - if we're a finals side or not."
The task starts on Sunday with a potentially-tricky home clash against the Hay Magpies, who sit in fifth spot.
A win is unlikely to bring Yenda back into the top five due to a far worse points differential, but it will put them in a far better position with games against Leeton (away), DPC (away) and the Black and Whites (home) to follow.
"I think once we break through for that win things will start working, but Hay is not going to be an easy side," Romeo said.
"From all reports they're a very good side but they don't travel well - hopefully it's the same this week and we get them on a bad day, and we start playing half-decent footy."
On evidence of the West Wyalong loss, that still seems a fair way away.
Romeo said it was one of the worst performances he had overseen since becoming Yenda coach.
"We had four or five out but it's still no excuse. We were ordinary," he said.
"After 25 minutes it was nil-all but we just put our heads in the corner.
"I can't remember the last time we were held scoreless."
Fortunately, the June long weekend has helped the Blueheelers in the medical department.
Romeo said Yenda should field a full-strength side, although veteran forward Steve Richards (shoulder) and Kiwi import Peter Rameka (ankle) are touch-and-go propositions.