AFTER a strong performance in their first ever game last weekend, the Parkes Cobras were unlucky to finish on the wrong end of a 4-1 scoreline against the Dubbo Bulls at Woodward Oval on Saturday afternoon.
The game was marred by some very questionable refereeing decisions that had a huge impact on both the scoreline and flow of the match; doing a disservice to a fantastic display of football from both clubs.
The end result certainly flattered the Bulls, which their coach Jason Scink was at pains to admit after the game, though it's clear their experience meant they were well placed to take full advantage of the chances handed their way from both the referee and errant passes from the Cobras defence.
The performance of Bulls goalkeeper Hayden Williams was also crucial with Williams pulling off a number of acrobatic saves after the Cobras peppered the goal all through the second half.
Cobras Head Coach Meghan Kempson was understandably disappointed with the scoreline but spoke about the need to highlight all the things the side did well.
"We do need to acknowledge the negatives and work on them at training this week, but at the moment it is about building confidence in the boys and focusing on the things we did really well.
"For me it's about establishing confidence early in the season so we have the assuredness to take the game on," says Kempson.
The Cobras came out expressing venom in the second half, playing with more fluidity and rhythm after Kempson decided to change from a traditional diamond midfield to a more aggressive formation, with immediate effect.
"In the second half I wanted us to be more proactive rather than reactive, and I thought the boys really loosened up and created plenty of opportunities thanks to our numerical advantage.
"Our captain Brent Tucker really stood up in the second half. I gave him a licence to roam and seeing him run more with the ball at his feet was fantastic," says Kempson.
For the Bulls, Gareth Williams bagged a double while Alex Richardson-Bell and Treay Richardson nabbed a goal apiece. The lone scorer for the Cobras was Alec Bateson, who calmly slot the ball home from the penalty spot.
The Cobras travel to Dubbo next weekend to take on Macquarie United FC at Hans Claven Oval on Saturday afternoon.