EXPERIENCE and adaptability were the two key factors in a dominant 50-point Group 10 senior league tag derby victory for St Pat's on Saturday against Bathurst Panthers.
(min cost $8)
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Pat's ran out 54-4 winners on the back of a big opening half of football, managing to maintain their pace and ball security in wet conditions.
Panthers' inexperienced but enthusiastic squad were only outscored 14-4 in a much improved second half to give themselves a confidence boost for the next round, despite the one-sided scoreline.
Saints player-coach Mish Somers said match experience always proved valuable when the weather conditions get ugly.
"Our whole team has played league tag before so we had that experience over Panthers and we gelled nicely in the wet conditions and it's great to get off the board," she said.
"It took five or 10 minutes for us to get into it and then we had some nice combinations on the right side of the field, which was good to see. Hopefully we can carry that into this weekend's game."
Pat's fullback Erin Naden was at her devastating best with a four try haul while Paige Hay found a brace in the dominant win.
Somers doesn't want the team to feel overconfident based on the win and expects Panthers to get stronger with experience deeper into the year.
"We were timing our passes right, running onto the ball and using our pace out wide. We had players backing up nearly every time we broke through," she said.
"Panthers had a few girls out playing different sports so we probably can't gauge too much off that one. We probably need to forget it rolling into this weekend, start again against Cowra and see how we go from there."
Saints will look to keep their extensive win streak going against a Magpies side reeling from a heavy loss to Orange CYMS over the weekend.
Meanwhile, Panthers coach Jess Hotham is remaining upbeat in the face of defeat given the way that her side tightened up their defence in the second half of Saturday's derby.
"Obviously the weather conditions didn't help and we were up against it going against a powerhouse so it probably wasn't the best entry into league tag for the girls who hadn't played before," she said.
"It was only 14-4 in the second half so we weren't too bad there when we had a chance to complete our sets, and we were also forcing them to complete their sets instead of giving away line breaks.
"We'll take a lot from going up against Pat's and I think that first half was just a big shock for everyone, especially with the weather, but the way we played in the second half was a big positive for us.
"When Pat's get on top of you it's very hard to claw back into it but the girls did that. The biggest thing I kept saying to them, and I said it from the start of the game, is that you've got to hold your line and make them run right around the outside of you or force Mish to kick over the top to get their tries."
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