NRC: Melbourne rising too late to challenge

by Montanna Clare

The Melbourne Rising have made a habit of causing second-half scares, but coach Zane Hilton says his team can’t keep leaving their run so late.

A gallant second half comeback saw the Rising pile on 22 unanswered second-half points against the undefeated Country Eagles, but they fell three points short of a victory.

“We’re really pleased with our second half group and the fight to come back at it,” Hilton said.

“But the reality of it is we can’t continually leave ourselves that much work to do in the second half, and put yourself under pressure at key moments and not be able to execute.”

Despite the result, Hilton said he was pleased with the character in his side to stand up to an intimidating first half challenge.

“There’s a lot of confidence in knowing that we can finish out games two weeks in a row. We have a good bit of run in us at the back end of the game," Hilton said.

“At the same time we’ve got to get some systems right in the first half, to get the result to start with.”

The Rising have made a habit of second half comebacks. Photo: ARU Media/Stu WalmsleyHilton said he was confident that his team would improve with experience, adding composure in the game’s critical junctures.

“It’s probably just an experience thing for the boys and a really good opportunity for them to understand that at the 15-20 minute mark, you’ve got to stay in the game and really go to the next level,” he said.

“If you want to do well against a good side like NSW Country, you’ve got to make the most of those opportunities when you can.”

Melbourne host a desperate Brisbane City outfit this weekend, with the 2015 champions coming off a big loss to last year’s grand final opponents

“Brisbane came down last year and beat us at home at Harlequins, and we’re certainly looking forward to having them down there,” Hilton said.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do to get back on track.”

The Rising face off with Brisbane City at Harlequin Oval on Saturday at 3pm.