Horsham Panthers coach proud of team despite loss

TEAM: Horsham Panthers Rugby League players Roi G, Josh Hiku and Owen Swinnerton. Picture: PAUL CARRACHERHORSHAM Panthers showed fight in a 32 to 10 loss to ladder-leader Blue Lake Knights in the Mt Gambier Rugby League 9s competition at the weekend.

Panthers captain Josh Hiku said he was proud of his team’s performance.

‘‘We’ve been training really hard and it was showing in the game, they stuck in there during tough circumstances,’’ he said.

‘‘A few of our boys played with injuries at the weekend and I was really proud of them to play through that.

‘‘The other team had a few big boys, which didn’t help us, but even so the boys stood there and took it.’’

Hiku said dummy-half Pomoi Angue was the standout for the Panthers.

‘‘He can see what is happening ahead and he had some awesome runs and made some great tackles,’’ he said.

‘‘He was able to read what was going on, and not set up blokes to get hit really hard.

‘‘He has played a bit of union before, but he follows the game and has a little bit of experience.’’

Hiku said winger Zack Sutter also played well and was unlucky not to score a try after making a line break.

‘‘On fifth tackle, Mykelti Norton kicked through and Zack chased it down and was running and nearly scored a try,’’ he said.

‘‘Zack isn’t a big guy, he is small but is very quick and agile.’’

Hiku said despite the Panthers’ improved performance, fitness was still an issue.

‘‘At training, we’ve been putting an emphasis on fitness,’’ he said.

‘‘I want to bring everyone up to a good level.

‘‘We’ve also been focusing on being back on markers. We got a few offside calls in the last game, but I think we only got one or two in this one, which is good.’’

Hiku said Eric Niyo and Mykelti Norton scored trys, with Norton making one conversion from two attempts.

He said the Panthers were in with a great chance of a maiden victory at their home game against the Gambier Warriors.

The game will be played at Pimpinio on Saturday.

‘‘I think it will be our week this week,’’ Hiku said.

‘‘We’ve got extra players and if we go into it with the right prep we should be right.’’

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