HASTINGS Valley Vikings were rarely troubled in a commanding 34-5 victory over Port Macquarie Pirates on Saturday at Oxley Oval.
The Vikings led 17-0 at the break before they cruised to their second-straight win to open the season following a 29-17 success at Coffs Harbour in round one.
Coach Andrew Kable admitted his side were starting to build on the new style that he has introduced and their defensive effort in particular was very pleasing.
"The most pleasing point in the game was a period of about 15 minutes in the second half where we were driving the opposition backwards in defence," he said.
"They weren't able to make any ground on us."
Hastings Valley's defence suffocated the Pirates' freewheeling attack.
"They had to change their gameplan at halftime because the way we played forced them to do that," Kable said.
"It was good to see we can disrupt an opposition's game plan."
It was good to see we can disrupt an opposition's game plan.Andrew Kable
Kable said the Vikings ball control was significantly better than their error-riddled performance seven days ago.
"We turned the ball over far too much last week, but this week we were able to hold onto it for most of the time," he said.
"It allowed us to be a bit more exciting with the ball."
Glen Littler was impressive in the unfamiliar role of inside centre.
"He has had a year away from rugby and I asked him to step up and play (there) which wasn't his normal position," the coach said.
"His defence was key to the game and set the tone nice and early."
Pirates coach Nigel Harding conceded his side had some work to do.
"We got touched up; we got a lesson in enthusiasm," he said.
"We're going to play (Vikings) four times this year, so it's not a big deal.
"It's the process of learning; the Vikings have a proud history of defending Oxley Oval and we came out and were running through the motions.
"We didn't have the aggression that they had and that's a lesson."
Port Macquarie scored first in the second half to close the gap to 12 points before an error allowed the Vikings to skip clear again.
We got touched up; we got a lesson in enthusiasm.Pirates coach Nigel Harding
"We got back to within 12 and then dropped it off the kick-off and that's a momentum killer," Harding said.
"There's only one game that matters and that's the last game of the season so you've got to put yourself in a position where you can contest that last game.
"We're better off getting touched up now than winning easily and then getting touched up at the end of the season."
In reserve grade, Hastings Valley suffered a rare defeat.
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