A dejected Tim Ryan says there's no point in Western kicking stones after a second-half flurry from Monaro relegated the Rams to an embarrassing 62-20 round one under 23s country championship loss.
Played at Pioneer Oval, Parkes, the home side showed plenty of grit throughout the opening 40 minutes and scored late in the term through Hayden Bolam to bring Monaro's back to 22-16 at oranges.
But an avalanche of points in the second stanza brought back some horrible memories for the Rams.
In the opening round of the 2017 country championship, the Colts ran riot in a 62-0 thrashing of the green and white division at Cowra.
Sunday's loss at Parkes wasn't as shattering, not after the promise displayed in the opening half.
Still, Ryan says his side's second-half fade was bitterly "disappointing" but the young Rams side would continue to fight ahead of next weekend's second round against the Greater Southern Region Wests Tigers at Bathurst.
"We can kick stones all we want but we definitely don't want to go out there next week and have the same result," Ryan said.
“There’s a good team in there," he added looking at the Western sheds.
"And that’s probably the most disappointing thing. There’s a lot of talent around western but over the last three years we’ve got no stats to back us up. So we have to keep on fighting.”
Despite only coming together as a group on Saturday, the visiting Colts hit the ground running in the opening term and scored with their first use of the ball through Zac Patch in just the third minute.
West Belconnen second-rower Bayley Loughhead netted Monaro's second with a strong effort under the posts soon after, and at 10-0 inside the opening 10 minutes the alarm bells were ringing on the Western bench.
But as Ryan has said countless times while mentoring the Rams under 23s, there's an abundance of talent in Western.
And it showed over the course of the next 30 minutes.
Forbes five-eighth Mitch Burke scored the Rams' first for the afternoon before Travis Adelerhof put forward his audition tape for fastest man in Western division with a scintillating run down Pioneer Oval's eastern touchline to score a great try in his Rams debut.
Barnstorming Colts backrower Nukurua Ngere crossed for the first of his three tries to break-up the Rams rebellion, before a couple more four-pointers from Isaiah Latu and Jayden Pollard threatened to open the floodgates.
Really, poor goal-kicking kept the Rams in the opening half, with former Dubbo flier Harry Van Dartel battling to find his range with the right boot, converting just one of five tries in the first 40 minutes.
But it was the sniff Western needed, and at 22-10 down as the first 40 minutes neared completion, a typically probing run by lively half Jack Beasley opened up space for Bolam to score.
Bailey Hartwig's goal in the shadows of the siren brought the margin back to six points at the change.
Then it was almost as if Western didn't return from the sheds.
Monaro ran in eight second half tries - Ngere completing a treble while Sione Afemui and half Nick Cornish both crossed for second half braces.
Orange CYMS winger, Adelerhof bagged a double but it was only a flickering glimmer in an otherwise dark final stanza for the hosts.
“The talk at half-time was to improve on the first-half, so it’s disappointing you look back and now say the first-half was better," Ryan added.
“We didn’t have the ball for the last 20 minutes.”
Van Dartel was strong in his first game back in western and says his side's second half is just a glimpse of what Monaro is capable of.
“We haven’t played a game together so I think that first-half was us trying to work out who does what," he said.
We only came together (on Saturday) and had a bit of a run. It’s a good stepping stone.Monaro, and former Dubbo, fullback Harry Van Dartel
“The second-half was good, we came out and gelled."
Van Dartel believes the 2017 country champions are on track to contend again in 2019.
“Everyone wants to win, but it’s good to gel as a group," he added.
"We only came together (on Saturday) and had a bit of a run. It’s a good stepping stone."
- MONARO 62 (Nukurua Ngere 3, Sione Afemui 2, Nick Cornish 2, Jayden Pollard, Isaiah Latu, Zach Patch, Bayley Loughhead, Josh Stuckey tries; Nick Cornish 4, Zach Patch 2, Harry Van Dartel goals) def WESTERN RAMS 20 Travis Adelerhof 2, Mitch Burke, Hayden Bolam tries; Bailey Hartwig 2 goals)