Roos put starch into defence

WALCHA is shaping up to be a lot more competitive this season and is even eyeing off a semi-finals spot.

And on what the Roos showed on Saturday in the Steve Pepperell Shield, that’s not out of the question.

The Roos looked a much-improved outfit, most notably in defence.

They only conceded two tries for the day.

Both of those came in the second half of their second game against the hosts.

“We’re extremely happy in the defence and the effort the boys put in,” co-coach Jack O’Hara said.

He’s come on board this season to join Peter Berry.

“Defensively we’re a lot stronger,” O’Hara said.

“We defended there (against Kootingal) for three sets of six on our line.

“In previous years they would have scored three tries.”

This season will be the Roos’ second back after about a decade hiatus.

They’ve almost got a full book with 24 registered players (you can only have 25) and have picked up some handy recruits.

Among the new faces are Brown brothers Luke and Lachlan and Jason Latham.

They’ve come across from union and on Saturday’s indications look like they’ll have a big impact.

Lachlan Brown was huge for them, making some stinging tackles and proving hard to contain in attack.

He scored their lone try against the Roosters. 

It came after they’d repelled the Roosters for a couple of minutes. 

The next set Latham kicked downfield, it bounced up fortuitously for Brown, who then offloaded to Latham and stayed in support to receive the pass back and score under the posts.

O’Hara said they’ve also got some good young players coming up through the ranks.

Jock Abraham is one of those and was among their best.

“He stood up at lock,” O’Hara said.

The Roos had played one trial, against Long Flat, heading in.

They won, but the conditions couldn’t have been any different to Saturday’s heat.

It was played in torrential rain.

Saturday was a better gauge of how they’re coming on and where they need to improve.

They do still have some work to do on their attack. It was a bit “clunky” as O’Hara put it. 

“Again there were signs here and there,” he said.

“That can only improve.”

He said they were looking to make the top four and would take a lot of confidence out of Saturday, especially their effort against the Roosters.

“Kootingal are supposed to be one of the top sides. We stuck with them for most of the game,” he said.

They’d earlier defeated Werris Creek 4-nil.

The day, as it was for most of the sides, was their last hit out before the competition kicks off on April 5.

That will see the Roos hosting Pepperell Shield champions Dungowan.

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