IT'S been a tough two weeks for the Whitsunday Brahmans.
After an impressive pre-season and an imposing performance in round one, the Brahmans were expecting to put on a big performance against Souths in round two, particularly as they were playing in front of home fans for the first time in season 2010.
However, after an 80 minute performance which coach Trent Dally labelled embarrassing, the players were left with plenty to prove as the benchmarks of the competition headed back to Mackay with a thumping 40-4 victory under their belts.
Many of the Brahmans players walked off with bruised egos and over the last fortnight Dally has ensured their internal scars have been replaced by black and blue bodies.
“Our contact work was disgraceful against Souths but the boys have put their hands up in training ever since and we've worked really hard on our defence,” Dally said.
“You can't win premierships without strong defence so that's been our focus and I've woken up [the day after our training sessions] feeling like I'd played two games.”
Although Dally will expect his side's defence to show huge improvement in Saturday night's game against Moronbah, the focal points of the attack will also have to change.
Ball players Matt Temby and Adam Wright will both miss the road trip with injury as Temby continues his recovery from a broken hand and Wright nurses a knee complaint, which he picked up playing representative football in the Foley Shield over the weekend.
That will mean an attacking reshuffle that will add extra responsibility to the role played by halfback Rhys Kaka, who will be joined by a pinch hitting five-eighth, likely to be utility back Dean Connell or reserve grade playmaker Tim Miller.
Although the backline is likely to suffer to some extent from the omissions of players of the quality of Temby and Wright, the forward pack is set to get a lift with new recruit Jack Burke coming in for his first game.
Burke, 24, is a hulking prop at 115kg and played his junior football for renowned breeding ground South Sydney.
Dally will rush him straight into the side after he arrives today and has decided to move himself into the back row to accommodate the newcomer.
Burke will start up front with Aja Roberts in what Dally hopes will become one of the most formidable front row combinations in the competition.
Even with a new face in the forward pack, facing the toughest road trip in the league will not be easy after a two week break but Dally is not concerned.
“The boys want to rectify their wrongs from the last game so I'm sure everyone will be up for this one,” he said.
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