A try in each half for Nathaniel Robinson helped his Western Rams bounce back from a round one loss, but coach Shane Rodney was left less than impressed by the squad's second half effort.
After going into the sheds with a 28-0 lead, the home side were unable to extend their advantage as the Riverina Bulls played them to a 12-12 draw in the second 35.
Robinson was pleased to get a win on the board and hoped it would set them up nicely for the rest of the Laurie Daley Cup season.
"Last week we figured out how good we could play, what our potential is and we just worked off of that today," the Wellington Cowboys winger said after the game at Sid Kallas Oval on Sunday.
"We're going to try our best, hopefully get the wins and make finals."
For the Bulls, this was their second heavy defeat in two games after losing 48-6 to the Illawarra South Coast Dragons the week prior.
Hooker Brayden Fejsa-Sexton was vocal from start to finish.
The Leeton Galloping Green wanted to see more of that talk from his teammates for their remaining games.
"The first thing is the energy levels. We have to keep the energy levels up," he said.
"The little things matter and you gotta keep the talk up.
"There were a few times there, two tries, three tries in, that the boys just put their heads down. I feel like the energy levels need to rise."
Speaking to the positives the Bulls showed in the second half, Fejsa-Sexton praised an uptick of running in pairs and ruck play in general.
He reiterated how to play winning football, heads can't drop early in games.
"That defence, we need to keep the talk up because it gets us all up, gets us moving and ready for the next set," he added.
"Mindset is everything. You can't go out there with the thought that you're not going to win, because you won't win. You have to believe it, want it and it felt like the boys weren't there today."
Although Rams coach Shane Rodney was pleased with Sunday's fast start, he knows they'll need to be better on February 18 against the Monaro Colts if they are to make it back-to-back victories.
"At 28-0 we put the cue in the rack which was disappointing because we spoke about it at half-time," he said.
"Take nothing away from Riverina who continued to compete, but our boys should've been a bit more disciplined and that will be our challenge for next week."
Asked how he planned to fix those second-half struggles, Rodney said they'd do whatever it took.
"That'll be the challenge for us to work out what is happening at half-time, he added.
"Maybe we don't even go in the sheds, but we'll have to be a lot better."
RIVERINA BULLS 12 (Brayden Fejsa-Sexton, Lachlan Cole tries, Callum Rossiter 2 goals) def by WESTERN RAMS 40 (Nathaniel Robinson 2, Ryan Goodsell, Zeik Selwood, Cooper Black, Jack Dean and Jace Baker tries; Cooper Black 6 goals).