'It's early days': Hawks down but not out after tough local derby

BATTERED and bruised, Orange Hawks captain-coach Tim Mortimer cut a forlorn figure in the two blues dressing sheds following Sunday’s 18-point Group 10 loss to Orange CYMS.

Mortimer copped a late hit from CYMS winger Semisi Katoa just before halftime and, nursing a rib injury, said there was plenty his depleted outfit will take from the 42-24 result.

“We started off well,” Mortimer begun, with the two blues on Sunday playing without key forwards Todd Barrow and Arty Shead.

“It’s very early days. We lost four of our forwards this week to injury.

“We still take a lot out of it. There were a lot of good performances and definitely plenty of space for improvement.”

One of those positives is definitely the performance from newly anointed half Sandon Gibbs-O’Neill. 

The wiry pivot scored two first-half tries to help the two blues go into the sheds up by two points.

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“We were up at halftime and CYMS probably had more possession and we stuck with them,” Mortimer added of his team’s 18-16 halftime lead.

“We definitely need more fitness. We covered each other well but once they got a couple of tries in that second half it was tough to keep the energy levels up.”

Mortimer said Hawks will try and loosen their shoulders a bit next week against Oberon at Wade Park.

“We might try and play it a bit more. We played it a bit safe, but that probably worked with our fitness levels,” he said.

“We lost a few players this week so hopefully we get some of them back.

“I’m proud of the boys. We had a fairly small side. 

“It’s very early days.”

Travis Bubb was huge for the two blues in his first run-on start for the club in the top grade, while Brock McGarity was dangerous with the ball out wide in a tough first-up encounter for last year’s minor premiers.

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