Blacks players on notice after Albury loss

Rugby union

THE Griffith Blacks don't have long to rectify "schoolboy" errors if they fancy a berth in the Walsh & Blair Cup following their fourth straight defeat at the hands of Albury at Murrayfield on Saturday.

The Blacks scored first but by half-time the Steamers had wrestled back the momentum to lead 24-11 at the break, and went on to post two late tries to win 32-11.

Blacks assistant coach Darryl Prince said it was proving difficult to diagnose the club's run of poor form, but signalled personnel changes were imminent. 

"I can't put my finger on why, but the team just isn't gelling," Prince said.

"We're still pushing our passes and our 50-50 passes that aren't sticking are typical of the little things that aren't coming off. 

"It's not through want of trying - it's just poor execution.

"Right across the park guys were going high instead of taking the player low and getting them to the ground, which is just schoolboy stuff."

Prince said the coaching staff will be having honest conversations with a host of players to let them know there are in-form second-graders who could bolster the line-up ahead of the next two must-win matches against Young and Cootamundra. 

"Training's been a bit disjointed with the (SIRU) rep players taking on a big workload, but our fitness was good so it's more about execution and the coaching staff will now have to work on the strongest combination," Prince said.

"Second grade had a really good win which is really positive for the club and there's a few blokes pushing for a spot from second grade. 

"So there are guys we need to take aside to make them aware of the stakes." 

In worrying news for the Blacks, full-back Semisi Rogoyawa was hospitalised during the match with suspected broken ribs after taking a knee to the back.

While the club was awaiting a doctor's report at the time of writing, it was believed he will at least miss one match.

Prince admitted it was difficult to put his finger on any positives from the match but offered some perspective to the losing margin.

"Look, it's hard to take a lot of positives from a match like that, but in the last two years when we've played Albury we've lost in the order of about 80-nil and 100-nil," he said.

"Having said that, our team is much stronger this year and we should be competing for the win. 

"Our fitness levels are good and our aggression is good and our discipline improved, so we weren't getting penalised for hands in the ruck like we have been in the last few matches."


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