Orange Eagles were always going to be up against it when playing top-of-the-table Sutherland Sharks at their home base, and the final score reflected the Sharks are the team to beat in the Spalding Waratah League Division 1 Men.
The 38-point domination from Sutherland in their 105-67 victory was highlighted by five Sharks hitting double figures on the scoreboard as the Eagles' defence leaked 100 points for the first time this season.
The unbeaten Sharks sit atop the ladder with five wins from five starts, while the Eagles have lost their last five after recording their sole win against Dubbo Rams in the opening round of the competition - with that side the only team below them on the ladder.
While Eagles coach Jamahl Zegzula said it was still a tough loss, he his side knew heading in that it would be a tough ask to tame the Sharks, with the match playing out similarly to what he and his side were expecting, but the players were taken aback by how ferocious Sutherland's defence proved.
They're on top of the ladder for a reason,Orange Eagles coach Jamahl Zegzula
"They're on top of the ladder for a reason," he said.
"On offence we had a lot of turnovers and we didn't expect the amount of pressure they put on us."
In defence, Zegzula said his charges "over-played" their hand at times and with quick passing and physicality, the Sharks were able to cut the Eagles to ribbons with open shots at the ring.
"They were really physical and well-drilled, they were similar to Canberra who we played in round three, strong, young and so fit," Zegzula said.
However, the Eagles side brimming with youngsters took plenty out of the game from watching Sutherland's dominance.
"We take a lot out of every game," Zegzula said.
"A lot of those things we're trying to develop but we haven't had the preparation we'd like [to be enable to enact them]."
Skipper Mitch Selwood hit the most points for the Eagles with 16, while Kobe Mansell (15) and Murray Robotham (10) were the only others to hit double figures, while Reece Craigie and Bailey Musilin did the damage for the hosts, hitting 25 and 23 points respectively.
The Waratah League has a competition-wide bye over Easter, after which the Eagles begin a run of four home games, and the side will be boosted by the return of state player Zak Symons, who has missed each game since the side's first round win.
Zegzula said the returning Symons would be a huge boost to the side's extended stint without travelling.
Their home-court run starts when the Eagles host the Queanbeyan Yowies on April 27 at Sir Neville Howse Stadium.
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