IT was cold, wet, miserable, as un-Australian as Australia Day gets - but Orange Waratahs loved it.
Competing for the Australia Day Football Cup against the Australian Deaf Football side at Waratahs Sportsground yesterday, the home side put on a clinic, capitalising on a 1-0 lead at half-time to put on four unanswered second half goals and complete a 5-0 win.
It was the perfect way to kick start their 2012 season.
Waratahs care-taker coach Brad Apps was extremely pleased with the way the Western Premier League outfit played in damp, slippery conditions.
“I was really happy with the boys,” Apps said.
“We didn’t have much time to prepare but we took on what we learned last year and tried to get back in the swing of things.”
Both sides had early chances but the best belonged to the Aussies.
At the 24 minute mark Blayney product Mark Davis sent a booming strike from outside the box only for the ball to ricochet off the cross bar.
It then took just 30 seconds for Waratahs to pounce.
On the counter attack, the home team opened the scoring when a neat pass from Brock Jaeger was finished off strongly by Tim Davidson, giving Waratahs a 1-0 lead which they took into the half-time break.
The Australian team came out firing at the start of the second stanza, but Waratahs’ experience in defence, led by skipper Dave Bouffler, held strong.
And momentum quickly shifted.
On the attack, Waratah Scott Brakenridge was brought down just outside of the box.
Davidson converted the penalty to score his second and when Brakenridge slotted his own past the Australian goalkeeper two minutes later, Waratahs had a near unassailable 3-0 lead.
Two more goals five minutes from full-time, this time to Tim Curran and a gift to Brakenridge, brought the final score to 5-0.
Australian coach Rob Stanton was disappointed with the score, but not the way his players performed.
“It’s disappointing to lose but, look, it mightn’t seem like it but it was a massive improvement,” Stanton said.
“For long periods we had good control, distribution has improved from last year, the structure, shape, what we worked on all week, it has improved and I thought we were a lot more composed on the field. “It’s disappointing to concede five goals but I had a feeling we’d get tired.
“I’m still happy, we got a lot out of it.”
Stanton was pleased with the work of midfielders Mark Davis, Nick Fonte and Mark Theo.
“I think it’s hard to pin point. I saw a lot in the middle of the park,” he said.
With a mix of premier league and reserve grade players on the field for Waratahs, Apps was happy with the way his team gelled.
“We had a squad this year, which was a mix of firsts and reserves. We don’t know who is playing first grade or reserve grade this year so a lot of guys know there are positions up for grabs and they showed that today,” Apps said.