Although they were bested for a second consecutive week Orange City's Westfund Ferguson Cup side continued to show promise in Saturday's 47-nil loss to Bathurst Bulldogs, particularly through the forwards.
Saturday's clash was called early and Bulldogs lent the understrength Lions some players for the remaining minutes, and the confidence it gave the Lions' forwards was obvious to see.
They ran hard, made some strong tackles and tried to pilfer at the breakdown.
Abbey Senior was voted players' player as she stood up against her more experienced rivals, her defence a particular highlight.
"The girls will learn from that, it was good once we had a couple of their players," Orange City's Jordan Garlick said.
"We are trying to get enough numbers, we had a few out this weekend, but we've got enough for a team, we've got 11 definitely registered. It's just trying to get the girls altogether week-to-week.
"We still need to work on the basics and getting everyone to training is hard, if we do that it will make a difference. You look at these girls, they have been playing for ages and know what each other is going to do and when, we're not there yet ... but we'll get there."
It took Bulldogs a tick over 12 minutes to secure a bonus point win on Saturday, but for coach Tuma Aisaki there was something more pleasing than the scoreline.
It was the performance of Bulldogs' new recruits.
Though the Bathurst side has retained the core playing group which took them to Westfund Ferguson Cup grand final glory last season, 2019 has also seen an injection of new talent to both the forward pack and backs.
Aisaki has been delighted with how well they have adjusted to rugby, as they are not only strong ball runners, but are counter-rucking, displaying some nice passing skills and enthusiastic in defence.
"It was good to see some of the new girls who have just started do very well - Tiffany (Holland), Lily (McIntosh), her sister Bella. They are all very new but they played very well, so I'm happy," the coach said.
"Our old girls too, they just kept control and showed the way. I am very impressed, Edwina (Ulberg) was great, she scored a couple of tries."
Bulldogs worked the Lions through their forwards, then spread the ball to the wings. The stretched defence of the Bulldogs' rivals had no answers.
New recruit Lily McIntosh scored Bulldogs' first after just 75 seconds, while Georgie Rich, Gaby Fahy and Amie Clarke also crossed in the opening quarter. All of them were scored under the sticks, leaving Kate Gullifer with easy conversions to make it 28-nil.
Experienced prop Edwinda Ulberg had the scoreboard ticking over again in the second quarter as she bagged a double, the first a highlight as she fended off her rivals as she drifted across the field, then sprinted away down the left wing.
Bulldogs skipper Mel Waterford, who pilfered well throughout, also crossed and as Bulldogs hit 47-nil they opted to call the game early for the second week running.
- BATHURST BULLDOGS 47 (Edwina Ulberg 2, Lily McIntosh, Georgie Rich, Gab Fahy, Amie Clarke, Mel Waterford tries; Kate Gullifer 5, Nicole Schneider conversions) def ORANGE CITY LIONS 0
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