THE Coffee Fix/Cookes Tyre Service Shoals’ second grade will take time to settle in a raft of new players and a 36-5 loss to Vikings on Saturday.
While some of the tried and noble old guard such as Tim Murphy, the Sproule brothers, the ever reliable Tui Aberhama and, the hard running Dom Whittingham were there to guide the way, there were also quite a few emerging newbies to this grade.
They all played with great heart and commitment and in short order will emerge as yet another very competitive Shoals second grade side.
Tim Murphy took on the captaincy role and played an inspired game.
He was everywhere in attack and defence and made several of his trademark bursts straight up the middle of the park, leaving grasping defenders strewn in his wake.
His tackling was non-stop and saved his side on numerous occasions.
His enthusiasm and energy was mirrored by Tui, who yet again showed his great value to the club with a rousing display.
In the backs the Sproule brothers and Dom Whittingham were constantly in the play and lead their young charges with great maturity.
It was also pleasing to see Tim Brown and Matt Hinkley once again gracing Shoalhaven Rugby Park.
Vikings ran out comfortable winners 36-5.
But at no stage did they look like simply running away with the game.
Shoals tackled well, with vigour and often, and despite not having a great deal of the ball, put up a stirring display so that Vikings were made to work hard for their points.
Vikings scored three tries in each half, mainly through the time tested method of crashing about the field with the ball kept in the forwards until the time was ripe to let it rip along their back line.
They gave the impression of a team of players familiar with one another, which provided them with a solid edge.
These things count as the teams throw of their summer slumbers and move back into the winter pursuits.
Shoals will be much the better for this hit out.
Best players for Shoals were Tim Murphy, Tui Aberhama and Dom Whittigham.