ALBURY Thunder slumped to their fourth successive loss after losing to Junee 18-4 at Laurie Daley Oval on Sunday.
While coach Josh Cale was pleased with the effort, he said the team was down on confidence and believes only hard work can lift it out of the doldrums.
“The boys worked hard and I couldn’t question their endeavour, but we just looked really panicky with the ball,” Cale said.
“We had all the ball in the first 10 or 15 minutes and couldn’t take control of the game.
“Our will and want was there but the cohesion wasn’t.
“A lot of it comes down to confidence and I have no doubt we can find it.
“We just need to keep working hard.”
Remarkably, Thunder has retained their position in the top-five after Young hammered Kangaroos 38-12.
Junee led 12-0 at half-time on the back of solid performances from Cam and Matt Hands and fullback Daniel Foley.
Trent Schubach also performed well for the Diesels.
Thunder cut the deficit to 14-4 when winger Daniel Jacobs scored but the home team always had the answers.
Ben Taylor and Levi Freeman were strong for the visitors while former coach Tuki Jackson made an impression coming off the bench.
Jackson was sacked as coach last week but won admirers at the club for continuing as a player.
“I thought Ben did a really good job in the centres, Levi was good and Tuki played well too,” he said.
“We had control of the game at stages but just struggled to score points.
”That’s been a problem for a while now.
“We aren’t giving up though.
“Somehow are still in the top five and there is a long way to go.”
Gundagai finished strongly to roll Tumut 30-10 and Tumbarumba charged home to edge out Brothers 24-18.
The Greens’ win will give their confidence for Saturday’s clash against Albury at Greenfield Park.
Thunder hooker Andrew Smith will return from suspension for the match.
“’Smithy’ will make a big difference to the side,” Cale said.
“We missed him out there today.
“He gives us that experience and is a steadying influence in a really young side.”
Thunder came through the clash without any injuries and Cale may be tempted to make several positional changes this weekend.
In other matches next weekend, Young do battle with premiership favourites Southcity, Cootamundra take on Gundagai, Brothers host Temora and Tumut meet Junee.