ORANGE Emus learned a hard lesson on Saturday.
Coach Andrew Logan was just glad they didn't have to lose their Blowes Clothing Cup match to Parkes Boars to fully absorb it.
Playing at Northparkes Oval, Emus were up 24-nil early in the second half when the Boars scored three tries to give the visitors a scare.
Emus were able to hang on to win 24-19 and stay in second place on the competition ladder, but that's not what Logan was thinking about on the drive home.
"Aside from our first 20 or 30 minutes, it was probably our worst performance of the year," the mentor said.
"Our ball security was dreadful. Our willingness to work in defence was pretty poor. We were flat. We didn't play a very smart game and we were lazy and we nearly paid for it."
Emus were unbeaten in seven consecutive games before Saturday's five-point victory and Logan admitted his team was probably due for a lacklustre performance.
"Every side has a flat game somewhere. I'm not surprised we had a game like that," he said.
Emus were up 10-nil at the break and two tries early in the second half, along with two conversions to Nigel Staniforth, pushed the score out to 24-nil.
Logan said while his team was far from its best Parkes turned in a solid performance.
"They're big and physical. They really put it to us," he explained.
"The Parkes defence was very well organised. They held us up a lot in the tackle and slowed us down."
Tim Alison, Nas Havealeta, Tom Green and Andrew Cosgrove were able to run in five-pointers for Emus.
Winger Alison and flanker Cosgrove earned Logan's praise.
"Tim Alison was best on ground by a long way. He cleaned up a lot of stuff and he carried incredibly well in contact," the coach said.
"Andrew Cosgrove was very good. He made a lot of metres and was solid running the ball."
Emus will be thoroughly tested this weekend when they host competition leaders Dubbo Kangaroos.
Logan said his team needs to be tougher off the defensive line and make sure the players string phases together in attack to be competitive with the Dubbo side.
ORANGE EMUS 24 (Tim Alison, Nas Havealeta, Tom Green, Andrew Cosgrove tries; Nigel Staniforth 2 conv) def PARKES BOARS 19