The Tamworth Pirates' propensity for slow starts has often given coach Mick Squires fits of anxiety late in their games.
In most cases, their ability to storm home strong has been their saving grace.
But on Saturday, despite a streak of three tries in ten minutes, the Pirates fell seven points short against the Inverell Saints, after conceding 26 in the first 42 minutes of the game.
"Historically our club has been known for being kind of slow starters," Tamworth coach Mick Squires said.
"I don't know what it is. We warm up well, we train well, we work hard, it's just something about building into the game."
The conditions at the Inverell Rugby Club did not help the Pirates' search for a faster start.
Running uphill and into the wind impacted the visitors' kicking game, and made gaining ground more arduous than they had hoped.
And despite missing a third of their starting side due to injuries, the Pirates brought a team to Inverell which Squires believed "good enough to win".
But, he added, they were "a little bit defensively disjointed" in the first half, and struggled for possession. In the end, the 26-point deficit was too large to overcome.
The 26-19 loss caused the Pirates to slide to fourth on the ladder. However, with a bye next round, Squires hopes the players can recuperate and return to finish strong this season.
"I definitely see us winning the majority of our remaining games," he said.
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