The Kempsey Cannonballs are off the mark in the Upper Mid North Coast Rugby Union competition after they defeated the Southern Cross University Marlins 53-36 to record their first win of the season on Saturday.
Cannonballs coach Carl Thurgood claims there was a direct correlation between their first win and fielding a full strength side for the first time.
"We were able to put our full strength side on the park, which was obviously a huge boost," Thurgood told the Argus.
"We have been training together all pre-season so it was great to finally put it all together on the field.
"The inclusions of Braden Farrawell and Kini Dauvucu were massive for us."
The scoreline flattered the Marlins in the end, as the Marlins scored two late consolation tries.
"We went try-for-try to start the game but we were able to take a double digit lead into the break," Thurgood said.
"But we really put the foot down after half-time and the result was never really in doubt."
Entering the match, Thurgood had made a point of wanting to see the defensive effort improve and he believes his players responded accordingly.
"We definitely improved defensively but there were still times in the match where we switched off and leaked a few points but overall I was happy," he said.
The centre pairing of Iulio Tavete and Dauvucu wreaked havoc on the Marlins defence, as the two combined for five tries.
Tavete bagged a hat-trick while Dauvucu scored a double.
The Cannons travel to Coffs Harbour again this Saturday, this time to face the Snappers.
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