LAKE Macquarie coach Nick Webb knew his team were better than their 6-0 drubbing at the hands of Broadmeadow in round one.
And he knew the lopsided scoreline was partly his fault.
So it came as no surprise to him when the Roosters put 10 goals past their opposition over two wins in the past fortnight.
Lake Macquarie, with only a handful of players left from last year’s seventh-placed squad under Anthony Richards, bounced back from the opening-round rout with encouraging one-goal losses to Weston and Charlestown before the 4-0 and 6-1 victories over Adamstown and Valentine respectively.
“We had lots of chances and should have scored heaps against Charlestown and Weston, so I knew it had to turn,” Webb said.
The former Magic lower-grade coach took over at Adamstown in mid-2017 but was overlooked for the job this year before grabbing the reins at the Roosters, who lost several key players.
Webb’s recruits included fringe first-graders Morgan Okeno and Paul Sichalwe, Adamstown’s Mitch Hunter and Cameron Holzheimer and former Jets Youth player Campbell Ross. All have starred in recent weeks and rewarded Webb for his faith.
Sichalwe, a long-time reserve-grader at Magic, scored twice against Valentine and Okeno bagged one and had a hand in another.
“Morgan hasn’t had any real first-grade experience before. I had him at Magic and he’s grown into a man now and he’s very strong on the ball,” Webb said. “Paulie was champing at the bit to get an opportunity and I’m really happy he’s got three goals in five games.
“Mitch Hunter has three goals, Sam Walker has three, and that’s after the first game where we got pumped.”
Webb said the move of Holzheimer to defence had also been a key to success.
“I just tweaked it a little bit the last two weeks,” he said. “I dropped Cam back and gave Campbell Ross a bit more responsibility with holding the midfield. Cameron and Campbell have really stepped up and Tom Walker has gone to another level.”
As for the poor start, Webb blamed his decision to push for pre-season silverware
“I take responsibility for that, I wanted the Heritage Cup,” Webb said. “I probably played players too long and that’s my inexperience, so I’ll take that on the chin.
“They tired dramatically in the last 20 minutes [against Magic], and it was because of the four games in 24 hours the week before in 30 degree heat and I didn’t manage that properly. We freshened them up after that and they’ve been super ever since.”
And with the success and next week’s window for roster changes, Webb said: “We’ve had a few players contact us. It’s amazing what happens when you win a couple of games.”
“Some have shown some interest but I wouldn’t replace anyone in my top 11 at the moment, so they would have to come in as just depth because the boys have been doing the right thing and scoring goals. We’ve got a good group at the moment.
“We’ve had out top 11 on the paddock the last three weeks and it makes a huge difference. We can compete with any team with our top 11 on the field.”
Lake Macquarie have the bye this weekend.
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