WHEN Port City Breakers coach Dan Kemp looked up at the scoreboard just after 3.30pm on Sunday and it read 0-16 he wasn’t concerned.
As it turned out he had no reason to be as last year’s Group 3 premiers kicked off their title defence with a 34-26 win over the Port Sharks.
“The heart rate never went up,” Kemp said.
“We knew if we do what we do we’ll be fine, it was just a 15 minute period where we didn’t do what we do.”
The Sharks hit the ground running and raced out to a 16-point advantage at a point a minute before the Breakers warmed to their task.
Kemp pointed to previous matches where his side had dug themselves out of trouble – it wasn’t the first time they “got a kick up the bum.”
They’ve played in some big games and know their best footy is good enough to compete with anyone.Port City Breakers coach Dan Kemp
“We’ve been there before and won,” he said.
“They’ve played in some big games and know their best footy is good enough to compete with anyone.
“You play bad footy in periods and you might give up points but our good footy is good enough to get us back in the game.”
The Breakers coach pointed to a less-than-ideal preparation and acknowledged it had played a part.
“I won’t go into details, but we had some personal issues with some players and it was the worst preparation for a game since I’ve been here,” he said.
“We were really flat and it took us to get a kick up the bum before we knew we were in a game of footy.”
The Sharks conceded 34 unanswered points after their opening pointscoring blitz.
They were unable to turn the tide until the result was beyond doubt, but they kept fighting.
We played the last 10 with no interchanges left so when that happens it’s going to kill you.Port Sharks captain-coach Jake Hawkins
Captain-coach Jake Hawkins was pleased with the way his side “gutsed it out”.
“The middle patch is what lost us the game because we know we can score points, but our defence let us down,” he said.
“As soon as we fell out of the game we couldn’t quite get it back.
“We were good for the first 10 minutes, but then we handed over the pill and with the sway of possession that’s what happens.”
The Sharks interchange rotation was thrown into disarray after centre Jayden Ehsman suffered a possible torn anterior cruciate ligament.
Hooker James Kelly and front-rower Tom Maguire also didn’t return in the closing stages.
“We played the last 10 with no interchanges left so when that happens it’s going to kill you,” Hawkins said.