Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles coach Steve Hales believes his side can take plenty out of last week’s draw with Newcastle into Saturday’s clash with his old side, Wentworthville.
Manly Warringah’s feeder side scraped one competition point out of a tough clash with Newcastle at McDonald Jones Stadium to start the 2018 Intrust Super Premiership NSW competition last Friday – and Hales is determined to focus on the positives.
“We want to win every game that we play in so for us obviously we’re disappointed we didn’t claim the two points but I’d rather have a draw than come home empty-handed,” Hales tells NSWRL.com.au, “and credit to the opposition, they had a quality footy side with a lot of NRL experience.
“For us, we went up there with a view to win and we didn’t do that so we are disappointed but definitely happier to leave with one point than none.
“I think it was a game of momentum, it sort of changed momentum a lot of times. It was an entertaining game, we had some quality football. We want to go up there for a win but I guess every time you go up to Newcastle and play against a quality team, to get a point we’ve just got to take that and move on with it.”
Blacktown Workers face the Magpies at Ringrose Park on Saturday, and there’s plenty of reasons for the former Parramatta development coach to hope for a strong performance. Added extra layers of intrigue to this clash are the players Hales has brought to his side this year from Wentworthville: John Folau, Cody Nelson, Honeti Tuha and Kelepi Tanginoa, along with Vai Toutai and Jacob Loko, who had previously been a part of the Parramatta system.
“Any time you play your old team there’s probably a little of added motivation but for us, we’ll treat this week like every other,” Hales says.
“We try not to focus too much on other teams but ourselves and our standards and where we want to be so Wentworthville presents another challenge next week and we’ll move onto that, hopefully go out and acquit ourselves better and improve from last week and continue to build and go from there.”
One player who Hales will be without this weekend is Round 1 standout Jackson Hastings, who scored two tries and kicked three goals, including the match-tying penalty, in a performance that saw him selected in Manly’s NRL side.
“Jacko’s a talented player, there’s no doubt about that. I think the thing for him is he wants to be playing in the top squad, when he’s going out there and putting those performances on the board he’s definitely putting pressure on the guys up top so it was a good start for Jacko, he did that really well…”
Blacktown face a tough task in Round 2, with Nathan Cayless’ Magpies last Sunday shocking reigning premiers Penrith 32-24. The match will kick off from 3pm AEDT.