Souths may not have lost on the weekend as they locked horns with Kurri Kurri at Townson Oval, but the 12-12 draw certainly felt like a defeat for Craig Higgins as he watched on from the dugout on Saturday morning.
The Lionesses collected shared points from the Round 13 fixture thanks to Amy Waterhouse. Souths’ number four scored twice in the match and converted both – including a second from the sideline – to confirm the locked scores.
Bulldogs halves star Holly Fisher-Webster was near-equal to the task of matching Waterhouse in the mid-morning contest as she crossed herself once, and kicked two. She was aided in the twelve-point haul by Sharneakia Nikora.
The 24-point draw has left Souths boss Higgins heading back to the training paddock with “a lot to work on” ahead of crunch-time however. If the girls can’t solve their gameday problems, he believes the end of the season may be “a little rough.”
“The girls were pretty disappointed with the way they played, and so was I,” he said.
“They didn’t do the things that should be happening week-to-week, the one-percenters and basics, and that’s what was most disappointing. The Bulldogs played okay, but we didn’t get to the level we wanted to at all and it decided the game.
“That’s been our problem a lot this season, too hot and cold. We’ve beaten teams like Lakes twice, and could have beaten Central early in the season, then we face teams below us and everything goes wrong.”
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That’s not to say Higgins believes his side has fallen off in terms of talent. In fact, he can’t fault the squad’s preprations, and “couldn’t ask them to train better.”
Instead, translating that 110-percent effort on the training paddock to gameday has proved a hurdle. “I think we’re facing a bit of a mindset problem, with attitude and getting into the right state of mind,” he said.
“We do so much right at training, and the girls look ready, then it all drains away on gameday. There’ll need to be something that switches that mindset. I don’t really want our backs to the wall, but that might be what gets the mentality working again.”
Souths were helped along in the standings with Central’s victory over Lakes on Sunday morning. The league leaders confirmed their eleventh triumph of the season with a 18-4 win over the Seagulls at St Johns Oval.
Blance Morrissey led the way for the Butcher Birds with six points off a try and a goal. Tahnee Milgate, Chelsea Hindmarsh, and Samantha Atkins also scored for Central, while Hayley Arden made sure Lakes didn’t leave the away game emptyhanded.
Elsewhere in Round 13, the Pickers levelled the Bulldogs’ on 16 points with a 34-0 over the Scorpions at Maitland Sportsground, and Emily Coppins led Wests to a 40-0 win over the Goannas with a double at Harker Oval.
TABLE: Central (27), Wests (22), Souths (21), Lakes (20), Kurri, Maitland (16), Nelson Bay (12), Cessnock (6), Macquarie (4).