With a string of away games to open the 2019 Group 10 premier league season picking up as many early wins as possible is of the utmost important for Orange Hawks, so captain-coach Willie Heta was understandably stoked his side ticked the first box at Lithgow on Saturday.
The two blues feasted on Workies' ill-discipline in Saturday's season-opening road trip to Tony Luchetti Sportsground, shooting out to a 12-nil lead at the half-time break and extending the margin to 24 midway through the second period.
Despite losing boom recruit Tui Oloapu in the second half the hosts did rally late and cut into the margin slightly, but the damage had been done by then and Hawks eventually claimed a 24-10 victory.
"I think every coach is happy when they walk away with two points, especially coming up here to Lithgow," Heta beamed.
"We knew it was going to be tough and it was just that. We've had a good preseason and that showed today. We had to defend well and that expends a lot of energy.
"I have to give raps to our whole forward pack. They led from the front and that always [the halves'] jobs a lot easier. And our backs were dominating out wide."
Jordan Baker crossed for a double out wide for the two blues while halfback Matt Boss and barnstorming front-rower Ethan McKellar also crossed, and Heta went on to say the performance is the perfect way to go into next week's challenge against last year's beaten grand finalists Cowra.
Like the one to Workies' turf the trip to Sid Kallas Oval is never an easy task and although the Magpies are without stars Jeremy Gordon and Josh Rainbow, Heta said he's well aware his side will need to build on the strong foundation they laid on Saturday.
"We've just got to take it one game at a time," Heta said.
"We know Cowra's going to be a tough one - their confidence should be sky-high. We'll have our hands full going over there."
Although Nick Bender and Jack Sullivan crossed for the home side late in Saturday's clash even Workies coach Graeme Osborne admitted they were consolation tries.
"We didn't play real good footy, there were a lot of discipline errors, penalties - Hawks deserved to win," Osborne said.
"We stuck in there, we didn't run from the task, but the scoreline 24-10 probably flattered us a little bit ... i's disappointing to lose your first home game of the year."
Oloapu's ankle injury is a massive blow considering his standing as one of the competition's best and although it remains to be seen if or for how long he'll be sidelined because of it, it adds to an already-mounting casualty list.
"We've got three blokes out injured at the moment, two with broken hands through the preseason," Osborne lamented.
"Cody Godden broke his hand before the Western Rams campaign this year so he's been out. We lost our big front-rower in the knock-out last week, Lachie Piper.
"Zac Jones is out as well, so the turnaround from the knockout last week with three injuries, it's a bit hard to back up the week after and play again."
- ORANGE HAWKS 24 (Jordan Baker 2, Matt Boss, Ethan McKellar tries; Willie Heta 4 goals) def LITHGOW WORKIES WOLVES 10 (Nick Bender, Jack Sullivan tries; Josh Howarth goal)
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