East Campbelltown Eagles will have an extra week to regroup after their first loss of the season yesterday.
A loss of concentration and drop in intensity for a 15 minute period in the second half allowed Cabramatta Two Blues to score three unanswered tries – a blow the Eagles could not recover from.
No wonder Eagles coach Richard Barnes was making no excuses for the 32-18 loss at the hands of the only other undefeated team in the competition.
“We have no excuses at all, we were just out enthused today,’’ Barnes said after the match.
“Cabramatta was the better team and deserved the win.
“We had a bad period were we switched off in the second half and they made us pay for it,” said the coach, pictured below addressing his players in a game earlier this season.
The match between the two heavyweights of the competition was played at what a certain Eagles official likes to call Waminda “Tint Me UP” Oval, a reference to a generous club sponsor.
It took the home side just four minutes to cross for their first try when a Sean Connor kick landed in the hands of Samuel Ioane.
Unfortunately, Connor’s conversion attempt hit the upright and bounced away.
Cabramatta levelled the scores in the 20th minute before Craig Moustakas crossed in the corner to put the Eagles back in front again at 8-4.
The visitors responded with a try of their own to again level the scores at 8-8, which is where the teams were when it was time to trundle off the field for the half time break.
Second half started the way the Eagles wanted to – with arguably the try of the day.
Attacking the Cabramatta try line, the Eagles kept the ball alive with some spectacular ad hoc footy.
At the end of it all was Amanono Tovio, who scored to put the Eagles in the lead at 12-8.
But then the Eagles dropped their intensity for 15 minutes and Cabramatta made them pay dearly, putting on the after burners to run in three converted tries for what turned out to be an unassailable 26-12 lead.
To the home side’s credit they hit back through a Shannon Gallant try to have a sniff at 26-18 with 10 minutes remaining, but despite several scoring opportunities the Eagles could not crack the solid defence from the Two Blues.
Best for the Eagles were Alex Potifara, Vince Ripepi and Tom Morrison, while Amanono Tovio was awarded the players player award and the man of the match went to Brett Lahey.
Reserve grade: East Campbelltown Eagles 26 Campbelltown Warriors 26
Under 23: East Campbelltown Eagles 20 Ryde Eastwood 10
Under 17: Liverpool Catholic Club 16 East Campbelltown Eagles 14.