After receiving a whack in their first home game last week, Orange Eagles rallied in the Spalding Waratah League Division 1 Men's nine-point loss against Illawarra Hawks on Saturday night.
While the spectators thinned from last week's bumper crowd, they still had close to 200 people watching, defying the cold and the NRL in Bathurst to watch the home side go down 67-76.
The Hawks burst out of the gates as the two birds of prey clashed at Sir Neville Howse Stadium, jumping to a 10-4 lead before the Eagles fought back to make it a one-point ball game at quarter time.
Andrew Gray hit two threes to kick off the second to give the Hawks a buffer and despite the best efforts of Eagles' skipper Mitch Selwood and Kobe Mansell, the Eagles went in 46-58 at half time after the bigger and taller Illawarra side were able to isolate their big men under the ring.
We need to run and get some easy points where we can.Mitch Selwood
While the Eagles were cut to ribbons by the Canberra Gunner's Academy in round three, their defensive structures mostly held up against the Hawks, and they outscored the visitors in the second half, keeping them to just 19 points.
However, the buffer was too much, and the Illawarra defence put too much pressure on the outside shots from Mansell (19 points) and Ben Gundry (13) to go in, and with the Eagles pressing in the final few minutes, the side would have given the visitors a scare if they'd hit those three-pointers.
Skipper Selwood, who sunk 21 points himself, said "it was a tough game" but thought the Eagles had the chance to pip the Hawks.
"They were a quality team and they've definitely come out to play, a lot bigger than us and took advantage of that," Selwood said.
"We played hard and it was an alright result."
He was happy with the offensive work from the side, with some of Mansell's passing on the fast breaks a highlight for the crowd.
"We got a lot more fast breaks and ran which is what we want to do. We are a young team, a few older guys like myself but we need to run and get some easy points where we can," Selwood said.
"We've got a few good shooters in our team and we want to give them wide open shots and we need to connect and we do it on our fast breaks.
"Across the board we were pretty solid, everyone put in 100 per cent."
Selwood was again impressed with the crowd after the Eagles were blown away by last week's support.
They put on a good show here and it's great to be playing here.Mitch Selwood on the Orange crowd
"In front of another big crowd was unreal, they put on a good show here and it's great to be playing here," he said.
"There were a lot of positive signs tonight and we've just got to keep building and take it into our next game against Lithgow."
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