Griffith Blacks searching for answers

Griffith coach Seru Rogo
Griffith coach Seru Rogo

Rugby union

GRIFFITH coach Seru Rogo admits he has been banging his head against the wall trying to figure out why the Blacks' season has gone so horribly wrong.

After losing their past four games and with the competition split just two weeks away, do-or-die time has arrived, with tomorrow's home match against Young critical if the Blacks are to keep their destiny in their own hands.

Rogo knows Griffith simply cannot afford another loss - but what he doesn't know is the root cause of the side's recent downturn in form.

"There's no doubting the skill and the talent level that we have," a frustrated Rogo said.

"But it's different every week - the last few games that we've lost were for different reasons.

"Against CSU we improved in some areas but then did some other things wrong. It was the same against Tumut.

"Our problem against Albury was our mental preparation - you could see from the sidelines that they were still thinking about how good they were last year. 

"They ran all over us and none of us wanted to tackle them. It wasn't us - it wasn't the Griffith Blacks."

Rogo is hopeful, but not certain, that the real Griffith Blacks will return tomorrow at the Coro Club Oval.

Representative star Dan Rawaqa's possible comeback from a hamstring injury could be the boost they need - the former Fiji international will be given until tomorrow morning to prove his fitness, and Rogo said he anticipates the flashy fullback will play some part in the match.

The only Griffith player sidelined at the minute is Michael Stalley, who is unavailable.

Rogo has called up reserve-grader Carl Tagliapietra to replace front-rower Lafaele Lale, who is no longer with the club after moving permanently to New Zealand.

"We've got heaps of front rowers and while (Carl) may lack the technique or the first-grade experience, I went for him because of his fitness," Rogo said.

As for rest of his side, Rogo is more than satisfied after a solid night's training on Tuesday, but he knows the proof will be in the pudding.

"I just got rid of the tackling bags and got them to smash each other, so they can get used to game situations again," he said.

"The boys trained well, I'm very happy, but we will see."

Young is coming off a 52-8 demolition of Leeton last weekend, but tomorrow's match is its last before the competition splits, with a bye scheduled for next weekend.


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