A NEW-LOOK Wauchope Thunder started their lower Mid North Coast women's rugby union competition defence on the right note at Andrews Park on Saturday.
The Thunder were never challenged on the way to a comfortable 20-0 victory over Manning River Ratz in their first match since a 55-0 belting of Wallamba in last year's grand final.
Wingers Ebony Sims and Renee Clarke along with second-rower Lauren Linton and halfback Morgan Critchley crossed for tries.
Co-coach Aaron Robinson was satisfied with the way their 2020 campaign began although he admitted there was still plenty of room for improvement.
"There were a few defensive mistakes and high tackles cost us a little bit so those yellow cards have got to stop," he said.
"It was scrappy, but for the first game it wasn't too bad although we got a few injuries out of it."
Overall, Robinson was most pleased about the defensive resolve of his girls with several new faces in the lineup from last year.
"The best part to come out of the game was our defence because while you don't win premierships in round one, you also don't win games if you don't have any defence," he said.
"It was pleasing holding them to nil."
Playing in their first game of rugby, Sims and halfback Whitney McCabe showed promising signs while hooker Ruby Colling led from the front.
"The forwards dominated and went really well," Robinson said.
He knows they will face a tougher test when they hit the road for this weekend's grand final rematch.
"Our scrums weren't tight enough last week and we got pushed off the ball and the scrum collapsed which shouldn't happen with our front row being as big as it is," he said.
"Wallamba will be a test to see where we are at."