Despite the near perfect start to their match against Dubbo Macquarie Raiders at Sid Kallas on Sunday, Cowra's Under 18 Magpies left the ground battered, bruised and still in search of their first win of the Western junior competition.
Played over four quarters the new Western competition is designed to give players plenty of drink breaks as club officials are banned from running water on and off the ground.
The Magpies started the match with a kick off that was bungled by Macquarie giving the pumped up Cowra side first chance to go on the attack.
The opportunity however was squandered with the Magpies turning the ball over and Macquarie seizing the chance to make their way into the Cowra red zone with backrower Aston Warwick crossing for a converted try in their third minute.
For the next 12 minutes Cowra was forced to defend for long period and enjoyed very little field position having real trouble holding on to the ball.
With no more points scored in the first 15 minutes Cowra went to the break down 6-0 giving coach Rory Brien an opportunity to address the defensive lapse that lead to the Macquarie try as well as his side's poor handling.
"They couldn't hold the ball," he said of the effort.
"All they were doing was defending, the defence was good.
"How many times have they gone around us," Brien asked his charges during the break.
"Not once, they went through the centre, we need to tighten up," Brien said.
Despite the instructions from the coach the young Magpies leaked a further 10 points in the second quarter giving Macquarie the lead 16-0 at the main break.
The Magpies efforts weren't helped by the loss of key forward Ky Johnson to an ankle injury in the first 30.
At the time Johnson was clearly the best Magpie forward on the paddock.
His loss reduced their options significantly in the middle of the field.
The third quarter was all Cowra but they went to the break with just one try added to the score sheet, a solid effort from winger Mitchell Capps who pounced on an attacking grubber kick wide out.
Despite trailing by 12 points the game remained in the balance with Cowra attacking without reward.
Macquarie sealed the win in the final quarter with two further tries, the last with 30 seconds left on the clock to blow out the score to 26-4.
It was a match where both sides understandably had trouble holding the ball after several inches of rain had been recorded in Cowra in the 24 hours prior to the match.
"They were worse off in the first period," Brien said despite what looked a good start for the Cowra side.
"They just couldn't hold the ball, all they were doing was defending.
"The defence was good. Holding the ball was our worst attribute.
"The tide turned in the third quarter, where we were up four nil but we came up against a better team on the day.
"It was a bit of an arm wrestle throughout the game, there were times (with momentum) we were in front and then they were in front," Brien said.
Next weekend the Magpies travel to Canowindra to take on another Group 11 side, the Parkes Spacemen.
On the same day at the Canowindra Tigers will host the Forbes Magpies.