ORANGE Hawks have blown a 16-4 halftime lead to come away from King George Oval with a 26-all draw against the Blayney Bears on Sunday.
Battling to reach the same heights that earned the club its first Group 10 minor premiership since 1999 last season, the two blues are a shadow of the team that won 14 out of 16 games last year following a winless start to the opening five weeks of this season.
Labelling discipline as the side’s biggest issue in Blayney, captain-coach Tim Mortimer said Hawks were forced to defend with 12 men for 20 minutes of the second half following two players separately sin binned for dissent.
In the end Blayney used the extra man and momentum to draw level at 16-all before edging ahead 22-16.
Hawks bounced back to again level the scores but when Bears captain-coach Terawhiti Cooper crashed over to take Blayney out to a 26-22 lead, it looked as though the home side would record its first win since re-joining Group 10 in 2013.
But a last-ditch grubber and regather from Hawks halfback Sandon Gibbs-O’Neill tied the scores up again, with the ensuing kick sailing wide ensuring the two battling clubs split the two competition points.
“We were our own worst enemy,” Mortimer fired.
“Full credit to Blayney, but we weren’t disciplined enough and the backchat killed us. We ended up having two players sin binned at separate stages of the game so we were down to 12 for about 20 minutes there in the second half.
“We didn’t play our shape, we turned over the ball and we were made to defend for long periods of the game.
“We defended pretty well given the circumstances but it’s a disappointing effort.”
Mortimer was happy with the work of younger lock Travis Bubb as well as young winger Stephen Khattar, playing in his first game of premier league.