Lepaio and Southern beaten: Bathurst star impresses off bench in loss to Northern

You can’t win games when you cough up the footy.

That’s the simplistic approach that Southern head coach Adam Bezina took when reflecting on his side’s 24-8 loss to Northern on Saturday.

Bathurst’s Haylee Lepaio had a positive impact from the bench but it wasn’t enough to overcome a quality Northern outfit.

IMPRESSIVE: Haylee Lepaio takes the ball forward for Southern in their match against Northern at Mudgee. Photo: JAKE HUMPHREYS

IMPRESSIVE: Haylee Lepaio takes the ball forward for Southern in their match against Northern at Mudgee. Photo: JAKE HUMPHREYS

“Errors in football can cripple you and they kept compounding in the first half,” Bezina said.

“A few passes pushed, maybe some of the girls were nervous. I think we only completed three sets in the first half.

“I just asked the girls to do a job at half time and we responded very well.”

Bezina’s unit faced a 20-0 deficit at half time but turned things around in the second stanza, winning it 8-4.

This was largely due to the defensive efforts of decorated Jillaroo Ruan Sims who laid the smackdown on over a handful of Northern ball carriers.

“She assumed that leadership role and after making an error early in the second half she more than made up for it,” he said.

“Mikayla Malaki came on at nine and gave some great service and Hayley Lepaio took some stopping in her ninth game of footy too.”

Southern fielded five Group 10 players for the match.

The Southern women were on the wrong end of a barrage in the first half that was capped off by a Melanie Howard try just before half time.

Howard was part of a 15-strong Newcastle contingent that were selected for the Northern side.