WILDFIRES coach Scott Coleman was proud of his side's character "not to give up" but admits Hunter were "taught a lesson" by Sydney University in Saturday's Shute Shield season opener for 2021.
The visitors were defeated 56-24 in the state capital, but secured a bonus point having recorded four tries after being kept scoreless in the first half.
"The Students taught us a lesson. They were too clinical, too fast, didn't make any errors and forced us into mistakes. Their line speed was phenomenal in defence," Coleman said.
"But going into half-time down 42-0 it was a big effort to regroup, get in the grind and win the second half. I think it showed a lot of character and that we're not willing to give up."
IN THE NEWS:
- 'I wasn't going to toe the line': One Nation, Stuart Bonds part ways
- Body at Barrington most likely missing woman: police
- Jesmond stabbing: alleged victim's outlook hopeful
- PHOTOS NewRun: Hill 2 Harbour numbers swell in COVID return
- Australian commemoration for Prince Philip
- Surfing: Merewether goes mad for WSL champions
- Knights: Titans thrash Newcastle on Gold Coast
Coleman also praised those players, including Phil Bradford, Blair Rush, Nicholas Dobson, Tui Katoa and Nicholas Murray, who came off the bench after the main break.
"The guys who came off the bench really made an impact. It actually gives me a headache this week now with selections," he said.
The Wildifres, who re-entered Shute Shield last year after a long hiatus, welcome Northern Suburbs to No.2 Sportsground this Saturday.
Elsewhere in Shute Shield and Gordon kicked off their title defence with a 78-10 victory over Manly, Easts edged out Southern Districts 17-14, Randwick were too good for West Harbour (47-17), Norths easily accounted for Penrith 73-0 while Eastwood beat the Two Blues 59-19. Warringah had the bye.
In the women's Jack Scott Cup and Hunter Wildfires went down 31-0 to Sydney University in Saturday's first-round encounter, having trailed by 24 at half-time.
Meanwhile, the Newcastle Hunter Rugby Union premier one competition gets underway this weekend with Wanderers travelling to Nelson Bay, Merewether away to Lake Macquarie, Southern Beaches at home to University and Maitland hosting Singleton. Hamilton have the bye.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: