Deni Rams must find a way to win the close ones — Troy Bartlett

Deniliquin captain-coach Troy Bartlett says it’s time for the Rams to knuckle down and start winning games.

Deniliquin captain-coach Troy Bartlett says it’s time for the Rams to knuckle down and start winning games.

DENILIQUIN Rams coach Troy Bartlett says pressure is building on his team after losses to Finley and Echuca United.

The Rams, who won their season-opener against Mulwala, undoubtedly have the toughest start to the season.

They took on the top three teams from last season in the first three rounds and now have clashes against resurgent Rumbalara and Barooga over.

Barlett said couldn’t fault his team’s effort, but near enough was no longer good enough.

“We need to get a few wins on the board,” he said.

“We’ve played the top-three teams from last year and been in every contest.

“But as they say, there’s no such thing as a good loss.

“We can’t let it go too long.

“We need to find a way to knuckle down and finish off.”

Bartlett said the Rams had done little wrong in their 10 and 37-point losses to the Cats and Eagles.

“The boys have been really good and are going well,” he said. “We’ve just dropped off a bit late in games.

“We had two blokes over 22 against Finley and whether it’s the young legs, I don’t know.

“We’ve been in every game, we just need to learn to win the tight ones, something we’ve been good at in the past.”

Things haven’t got easier for Saturday’s clash with Rumbalara, with Cody Jordan breaking his collarbone at the weekend.

Captain Anthony Bull remains sidelined through injury and is still a few weeks from returning.

Rumbalara has won two of its first three games under new coach Damian Cupido.

In other contests, things won’t get any easier for struggling Cobram when it tackles reigning premier Echuca United.

The Tigers became the first side in the league’s history to go scoreless in a match when they were thumped by 166 points by Mulwala last weekend.

Elsewhere, Finley travels to Congupna to take on the Road.

Nathalia hosts Moama, Barooga is at home to Tongala and Numurkah heads to Mulwala to take on the Lions.

Meanwhile, the league has announced its squad to take on Sunraysia at Mildura on May 24.

The squad is: Barooga – James Hazelman, Will Gorman, Jack O’Callaghan, Chris Wilson; Cobram – Sam Gemmill; Congupna – Daniel Bowles, Mitch Sidebottom, Harry Moran, Sam Ferguson; Deniliquin – Todd Gallagher, Tyler Amor-Beale; Echuca United – Scott Beattie, Farran Priest, Ryan Prendergast, Dean Moon, Bryn Barnes-Webb, Clayton Zanella; Finley – Matthew Jackson, Marcus Jackson, Reid Crowe, Cameron Robertson, Jordan Daniel; Moama – Daniel Thorp, Tyler Jones, David Ismail, Rhys Archard; Mulwala – Sean Robinson, Jackson Gash; Nathalia – Jarrod Maskell, Phillip Carroll, Rhys Shannon, Tom Nihill, Bowen Smith, Malcolm Barnes; Numurkah – Beau McKeown, Nick Fothergill, Brent Chapman; Rumbalara – Leon Johnson, John Timeapatua, Damian Cupido, Nathan Lovett-Murray, Brad Dick, Des Morgan, Nathan Terlich, Justin Terlich; Tongala – James Cullum, Jordan Souter, Elijah Edwards.