It was another mixed bag of results for Mittagong Lions at home on Sunday.
While reserve grade and the under-18s both enjoyed big wins, first grade and the Ladies League Teag teams finished on the wrong side of the scoreboard.
Still at the top of the ladder and keen to claim the minor premiership, reserve grade put in another strong performance to defeat Thirlmere 50-12.
But it was not an easy game for the Lions who were only up 12-6 at the break.
Coach Billy Hayward said they spoke about going back to basics at halftime after a “dreadful first half of footy”.
Hayward said Jesse Bond stood up and showed plenty of leadership when it was most needed, making some good line breaks and setting up some great tries.
Sami Vuniqui played well on the wing and the Lions welcomed back Michael Hajdu who was strong in the middle when brought into the game.
This weekend the Lions will again be at home and will take on third-placed Oran Park/Gregory Hills.
Hayward said his side needed to focus on each of the remaining games in the lead up to the finals.
“Competitions aren’t won in August so no matter where we are sitting on the ladder now the job is not yet done,” he said.
“We need to look at our attitude and applying that with plenty of energy and a high work rate in both attack and defence if we want to match it with the best of them come finals time.”
In first grade, the Lions did not get the result they were after, going down 33-26 to the fourth-placed Roosters.
Down 20-4 at one stage in the match, Mittagong fought hard to stage a comeback but couldn’t do enough with the time left to them.
Coach Dan Beardshaw said he was happy with the team’s effort and was pleased to see some of the club’s younger players step up.
“We had a very young squad, full of locals and players who have come up through the Mittagong Junior pathways which was great to see.
“Our bench was full of teenagers in Pat Brown, Brendan Bayliss, Josh Harrison and Rick Thorn who have all played Mittagong Lions under-18s in the last 12 months, which reflects the development philosophy of the club.”
Bayliss, who made his first grade debut on the weekend was one of the standout performers for Mittagong.
First grade has the bye this weekend and with a couple of weeks off, Beardshaw said ball control would be something for the team to focus on.
“Our attack is by far the best in the competition - just we really need to improve our ball control which would mean we wouldn’t have to defend as much. “
It was also a tough match for the Ladies side, which was kept scoreless in its 62-0 loss.
Team manager Bill Adrian said it was still an improvement from where the side was 12 months ago.
“The pleasing thing about the game is that this time last year the score would have been 80-0. So we've come a long way in a year,” he said.
“We just need to work on getting all the little things right. Our go forward against teams that push up fast is also something we need to work on before finals.”
Captain Rhiannon O'Neil, who Adrian said moved the team around the field well, was named players’ player.
They will also face Oran Park this weekend.
The under-18s had a strong 40-32 win over Thirlmere and will face Warragamba Wombats this weekend.