Dewsbury Rams head coach Neil Kelly has offered his thoughts following Sunday’s 58-32 defeat to Barrow Raiders.
The Rams produced an encouraging performance during the early stages of the contest, but fell away in the second quarter and opening 20 minutes of the second half.
Josh Guzdek scored a hat-trick for the visitors, while Aaron Brown, Macauley Hallett and Sam Day also posted tries.
James Glover kicked four goals from six attempts.
But the hosts crossed for ten tries, and scored 46 points in 29 minutes either side of half-time, to emerge comfortable winners.
The visitors showed good resolve in the closing stages of the game to stem the tide, but Rams boss Kelly was left disappointed by the showing from his players.
“If we’d have done what I asked the players to do on Friday, and in the build-up to this game, then I think it would have been more of a contest, and we could maybe have won,” he said.
“The tries we scored in the final quarter, in many ways, just added insult to injury, because you’ve got to defend and we didn’t do that.
“If you’re not prepared to defend your own line then you are going to lose games.
“We laid a great foundation after 20 minutes and I thought we were the stronger side in the early stages of the game, but I have to look at what’s happening after that point.
“I thought the period between 25 and 55 minutes was, and I’ve used these words before, unacceptable and embarrassing.
“I don’t think there are any adjectives I can use that describe how poorly we played during that period.
“Watching somebody take a penalty and run at us and score a try that easily, or getting around the markers so easily, or one-up runners from the play-the-ball, it’s hard to take.
“We can watch the video and analyse what we’re seeing, and try to explain what’s happening, but the simple fact is that we’re conceding too many tries of that nature.
“I don’t think it’s a fitness thing. During that good period in the first half, we made silly mistakes like not completing, giving penalties away, trying to offload unnecessarily and other handling errors, and at any level you can’t do this.
“After that, it becomes a mindset thing. Every side should be dogged enough to defend errors and poor refereeing decisions, and resilient enough to withstand what gets thrown at you.
“To concede tries in the way we did was disappointing, and I expect everybody in attendance today to be disappointed with it.
“32 points away from home should be enough to win any game, but when you’re conceding 58 points you don’t stand a chance.
“Barrow are a newly-promoted side, but they have a great attitude.
“They’ll probably pinch themselves later and ask how they managed to put so many points on us, but it’s not the opposition that’s doing it to us, we’re doing it to ourselves.
“I think we followed bad plays and decisions with feeling sorry for ourselves.
“Some players, and it isn’t always the same ones, are producing performances that aren’t good enough, and maybe I’ve got to look at myself too and say that it’s not good enough.
“But, going back to what I said at the start, I know that if we’d have done that we what we discussed then I think it’d have been more of a game.”
Kelly also praised Guzdek for his hat-trick, while providing an update on the players who didn’t feature against Barrow.
“I feel a little sorry for Josh because when you score a hat-trick you expect to be on the winning side, but again, I can’t look any further than the fact that if the team is not prepared to tackle then you don’t win games.
“Daniel Igbinedion only signed on Thursday and he wasn’t able to train on Friday, which was the main reason he missed out.
“It would have been unfair to pick him in this game, but as the game progressed I perhaps regretted that decision.
“He will be available for us against Halifax, as will Jamel Goodall, who we felt probably wasn’t match fit for this game.
“But again, that’s another instance where I wonder if I was right to leave him out. I’m quite sure he could have done better than some of the people who played.
“We may also have Paul Sykes back next week, but I’m not looking to bring him back too quickly, because that may put him out for the longer term.”
The Rams return to Championship action on Sunday, when they travel to face Halifax.