Capras' lacklustre early defence costs against Blackhawks
RUGBY LEAGUE: Too many offloads and missed tackles proved costly for the CQ Capras in their pre-season hit-out against the Townsville Blackhawks on Saturday night.
The highly-rated Blackhawks took full advantage of the lacklustre defence to race to a 36-point lead by half-time in the game, played over quarters in steamy conditions in Mackay.
The Capras did produce a more resolute performance in the second half, and outscored their northern rivals 8-4.
Capras' coach Kim Williams said he could take some positives from the second-half form reversal.
"We were a bit disappointing in the first half but in the second half we were a different team,” he said.
"We defended really well and built some pressure in attack and a lot of the new young guys really stood up in the third and fourth quarter.
"We had a lot of new guys playing for the first time at that level, and I think it took a couple of quarters of footy for them to realise what it's all about.
"We had a good chat at half-time about the need to focus on defence and the boys responded to the challenge and put in a lot tougher display in the second half.”
Williams praised young guns Sam Lollo, Jace O'Neill, Lachlan Norris and Jayden Alberts, and said hooker Darcy Davey added some spark when he came on in the second half.
Aaron Flanagan went well in the forwards, as did Brad Lupi and Phil Nati, who were also solid in the Capras first pre-season trial against the Brisbane Broncos a week ago.
With plenty of competition for starting spots in the forwards, Williams took the opportunity to rotate his large contingent of big men against the Blackhawks.
He plans to take a squad of 20 into the Capras final pre-season game against the Mackay Cutters at Browne Park this Saturday.
"I still want to look at quite a few of them. I certainly haven't finalised the 17 as yet,” he said.
"I think we've got got more depth than last year, and there's more competition for spots for sure.
"The backs I think are close to being decided but there are certainly spots up for grabs in the forwards.”
Dave Taylor will make his first appearance for the Capras on Saturday, and Williams will look to get about 40 minutes out of the NRL veteran.
"Dave looks really keen to play. His training's been excellent so if he plays like that we'll be very happy,” he said.
Williams is expecting as many as 2000 fans to pack into Browne Park on Saturday for a full afternoon of footy, in which the Capras 18s and 20s will also be in action.
The main game will start at 7pm.