STEAMERS coach Mick Raynes is demanding 80 minutes of passion from his players after a 40-15 thrashing by Waratahs dumped them in a “dog fight” for a finals spot.
The blue and golds go into next week’s clash against Tumut knowing they control their own destiny — a win all but guaranteeing a top-four finish, a loss leaving them on the edge with two games on the road to come.
The Steamers dropped off too many tackles, lost too much ball and were often isolated at the ruck against the premiership favourites.
Among few highlights at Murrayfield was the running of fullback Sam Allen, the defence of Richie Manion and the work rate of Tom Rowan and Gareth Edwards in just his second game back from injury.
“We played all right in the first five minutes and the last five minutes,” Raynes said.
“They are pretty good, there is no doubt about that but we made skill errors and just showed a lack of judgment.
“Waratahs made us pay for our mistakes with some long- range tries but we just failed to react to that.
“They play a similar game to us but when we were put under pressure we folded.”
Riverina rep players who played the curtain raiser to the Brumbies Super 15 clash on Friday night Arran MacDougall and Ash Lefevre both played.
MacDougall came off the bench, while Lefevre started but a “corkie” meant he played no part in the second half.
Raynes said the players were “dirty” on their performance.
“I didn’t need to say much, they knew they had let themselves down,” he said.
“In some ways it is better that it happened now rather than in the finals and I would expect by the feeling in the sheds after the game that they will respond, just as they did after being beaten by Leeton.
“They know how important next week is with the general bye to follow but then so will Tumut — it is an all or nothing dog fight.”
Elsewhere a 14-man Griffith stamped its finals credentials with a 39-17 win against Tumut and CSU all but ended Ag College’s finals hopes coming from 10-0 down to win its first game in five weeks.