A FIRST-half arm-wrestle turned into one-way traffic as the Steamers stamped their authority over Cootamundra at Murrayfield on Saturday.
The blue and golds and Tri-colours were locked 10-10 at half-time before the second half onslaught led to the 41-15 victory.
Coach Mick Raynes said the introduction of James Kora at the break was a turning point.
“Coota has a pretty solid pack but House was able to give us some stability in the scrums and gave the forwards some go forward,” he said.
“He scored a try from short range and then Blake Le Cornu potted a penalty and we were out to 20-10.
“We believe this will be the way the season goes.
“These games are all going to be a battle and it is going to get to the 60 minute mark and then whoever can finish the game off best.
“All five games have proven a slog — looking at the results each week, that is the way it is going to go.”
Raynes said the Steamers decided to approach the game as a dry-weather affair despite the rain.
“We wanted to move the ball and did that pretty well,” he said.
“But we were still too loose for my liking, dropping the ball at least 15 times.
“We’re operating at about 50 per cent.
“There are some components of the set pieces and phase play that aren’t quite gelling.
“But it will come.
“The team are already playing for each other and there is a great feeling among the players.”
Raynes was forced to make some last minute adjustments.
Lucas Boyes, who was switched from half to fullback, failed a fitness test on an injured hamstring, being replaced by a fellow Army man Nick Barbara.
In the end, his halfback replacement, English import Tom Wilmore ended up with the players’ player, his fullback replacement with the one point in the coach’s best.
“Wilmore was good, he snipes away at the ruck all day,” Raynes said.
“But Ryan Schischka was outstanding, he never stopped working and is probably one of the most under-rated players in the competition.
“Adam Clements on the wing was terrific, too.”
The Steamers travel to Tumut next week with captain Nathan Bright expected to be fit for the clash.
Boyes and hooker Tom Boyle will require fitness tests to make the 15.