Port Macquarie Sharks coach David Geary knows the Wauchope Blues are beatable.
He also knows for the Sharks to get to the Blues level, they need to improve on their toughness, tweak their attitude and improve their intensity.
Wauchope extended their lead on top of the Group 3 rugby league first grade ladder to two wins on Sunday when they emerged as 24-8 winners over the Sharks.
"You can do defence over and over again, but it's when players want to buy into it and stand up and be a force. At the moment we're not defending with any sort of intensity," Geary said.
"Our scramble defence on our goal-line is good, but it's our initial contact which needs to set a higher standard and set a higher tone for the game because there's not a lot of intensity in our defence."
While the ladder-leaders were by no means at their best, they still found a way to cruise to their sixth-straight win.
It's what the good sides do.
"It's a bit of a reality check because I don't think Wauchope played exceptionally well either, but the fact we couldn't match it with them ... that's probably the most frustrating thing," Geary said.
"It comes down to being tough and not necessarily being tough physically, but mentally. Wauchope are good at knowing how to grind a game out.
"Boring footy is what wins important games and you've got to bore teams by taking the ball away from them and Wauchope does that really well.
"Sometimes you need a bit of a reality check to see where you're at and to see where you need to be at."
Geary, however, preferred to find out what the Sharks needed to improve on at this stage of the season than just before the finals.
"When you look at it as a whole I don't think we're going too badly for what we've been through this year to be where we're at and that's a real big positive to take out of it," he said.
"There's certain times you need to win games and that's at the end of the year when it all counts so I'd rather have that reality check now than later in the year when it counts."
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