Turtles' hard-shell defence holds out Barbarians effort
TURTLES kicked off their 2015 Spring Cup title defence with a 24-7 victory against rivals Wests Barbarians.
While grand finals are not won in the first week of any competition the Turtles showed no matter what the situation they had a simple game plan that could win them games under any circumstances.
Coach Dean Burgess praised his side for its outstanding defence which limited Wests to one try.
"It was very scrappy but that was to be expected in the first game of the year," he said.
"We had a few new players in the forwards who hadn't played rugby before so it was a good game for them to learn."
Burgess said seasoned campaigners Robert and Brendan McKeown were strong across the park.
An ankle injury to forward Michael Otto early in the first half was the only sour note for the Turtles.
"He was taken way in an ambulance and it was possibly a dislocation, which would put him out for the season," he said.
"We still have a few players coming back so we should be able to fill that hole with those experienced players."
Barbarians coach Matthew Leighton said he was proud of his side's effort despite the loss.
"We had 17 players turn up to play so we had a limited bench," he said.
"With three injuries during the game I thought we did quite well.
"We played the last 30 minutes with only 14 players.
Leighton said flanker Damien Herring who played at fullback was brilliant in an unfamiliar position.
Herring suffered a hamstring injury late in the game which could rule him out for about a month.
"We were down a few in key positions and Damien played really well for us," he said.
With a bye this weekend, Leighton said he would work on improving the little things in the game.
"We want to work on our defence and our forward play," he said.
"And with our backs the combination will come as the season progresses."
Burgess said he would work on controlling the ball and maintaining possession ahead of Turtles clash against Isis.
"It's a simple game plan that has worked for us for five years straight," Burgess said.