NRC: Country confident they can rebound

by Montanna Clare

It was a winless opening weekend for Queensland in the NRC, but new Queensland Country coach Toutai Kefu says there’s a simple way for them to turn things around.

A host of new faces, including All Blacks legend Brad Thorn, weren’t enough for Country to pull off an opening round win, against last years’ finalists UC Vikings, but it wasn’t much better for defending champs Brisbane City, whose 13-game undefeated streak was broken by the NSW Country Eagles.

While it’s still early days, the double loss for the Queensland teams showed a vastly different NRC landscape, with Brisbane City's stranglehold on the trophy potentially under threat.

Country struggled to keep their hands on the ball in their clash on the Gold Coast and Kefu said it gave his players a crucial lesson in their first game of the season.

“You never want to lose by that type of margin anytime, but it does show the importance of holding on to the ball,” he said.

“Whether it was in the ruck or passing, or even the set piece, we just turned the ball over too many times.”

Queensland Country fullback Tom Banks gave his side a rare bright spot in defeat, scoring a second half double, and said coming up against last year’s runners-up showed them the ground they would need to make up this season to contend for the title.

“There’s a lot to work on now. We know what the benchmark is, we know we can work from there," he said.

Queensland Country’s task doesn’t get much easier this weekend, travelling to Melbourne to take on the Rising at Harlequin Oval on Sunday at 1pm, while Brisbane City face off against the Western Sydney Rams at Ballymore at 3pm on Saturday.