IT’S taken 1500 minutes of rugby union but the Steamers lost their first game in more than 12 months after being outgunned 36-22 by CSU on Saturday.
The loss also dented the fortress reputation of Murrayfield.
The Reddies were simply too quick and too efficient, capitalising on Steamer mistakes in four of their tries.
It was CSU that also threatened to derail the Steamers’ undefeated season last year, losing 29-24 in the major semi-final, and it was the Reddies’ pace out wide that again proved the undoing of the home team.
Steamers coach Mick Raines said the speed of the game had caught the premiers off guard.
“We knew they were going to be the tactics but knowing that and being able to deal with it are two separate things,” he said.
“We didn’t adapt to their speed and got flustered.
“Defensively we stayed in the game probably longer than we were ent-itled to and when we got within five points early in the second half it looked like we could turn it all around.
“But then we made another mistake and they scored and it was all over — all up they scored off four of our turnovers and that isn’t good enough.”
Raines said Ryan Schischka and Dan Herden were the pick of the Steamers, while prop Hugh Loiterton also impressed in his first run on appearance.
He believed CSU would be the benchmark for the rest of the competition.
“The boys are bitterly disappointed, but the mark of this team will be how we back up against Wagga City in two weeks,” Raines said.
“There is no doubt they benefited from our mistakes, but they are a good team and will be a serious threat.
“For us we need to work on our skills under pressure, we look rusty, particularly out wide and we also need to think quicker on our feet, find a way to adapt during the game.
“But you don’t win grand finals in April and we will get better as the year wears on.
“I believe this loss will galvanise our players and we will be a better team when we play City.”
Raines said Tom Rowan was the only injury concern after the game.
The win put CSU on top of the ladder as the only undefeated team ahead of the Easter general bye.
“At the start of the year we spoke about the fact we had two pretty tough games up front with City and the Steamers at their home coming into the bye and we thought that if we could get away with two wins from those games it would set us up pretty well,” coach Mick Wakeling said.