Helensburgh drop third straight to Collegians
Mitch Jennings - Illawarra Mercury
IT certainly won’t go down as the match of the season but Collegians did enough to secure the second win of the season, holding off a fast-finishing Helensburgh 10-8 at Collegians Sports Centre on Saturday.
The Dogs led 6-0 at halftime on the back of a runaway try to halfback Adam Clune three minutes before the break after a largely uneventful opening stanza.
The Tigers cut the lead to 6-4 with a try to Stewart Mills midway through the second half but despite a mountain of possession and field position found themselves down 10-4 with eight minutes to go after a try Dogs bench weapon Mason Pure.
The pressure finally told when Jarrod Boyle put Scott Allen across with a deft pass with barely 30 seconds left on the clock. With first-choice goal-kickers Grant Smith and Hayden McCrae both missing for the visitors, Boyle had the chance to level the scores on fulltime but his attempted conversion was waved away.
It win leaves the Dogs with plenty to work on with ball in hand but their resolute goal-line defence in the face constant pressure drew praise from coach Nathan Fien.
“Defensively it was outstanding. Our scramble on our line was really really good and it needed to be,” Fien said.
“We’re going to give ourselves a chance if we do that all year but we can’t afford to keep inviting teams back into it like that.
“We made it really hard on ourselves in the second half, some of the errors we made were pretty elementary but we hung in there.
“I always thought we were in control of it but the Burgh...they just keep coming, it’s engrained in them. It was a good test for our boys and I was really happy to get the two points.”
It was the first time the Tigers – who were crucially without skipper Grant Smith – have lost three straight games since 2009 and leaves them without a win four weeks into the season but it’s certainly not panic stations yet for coach Ryan Powell.
“It’s a concern that were sitting on a duck egg still. I can’t remember the last time one of my side’s lost three in a row but at the same time, I’m confident in the squad I’ve got,” Powell said.
“We can’t let these sides continue to get away but I’m confident that once we do get it right we’ll have it 100 per cent right and we can make the points we’re dropping now.
“There’s opportunities there if you execute well and at the moment we’re not doing that. We’re creating opportunities each week we’re just not finishing them.
“I thought we dominated that game more often than not but when it came to execution to find the stripe we just didn’t have it.
“There’s just something at the end of passes missing at the moment and it’s up to me to find that and I have to find it quick because we’ve got Dapto in two weeks.”