KIERON Dawson reflected on the difference of hunger and desire between the two teams after watching his side slump to defeat against Henley Hawks on Saturday.
Raiders – who were lacklustre for much of the game – trailed 32-8 with 14 minutes remaining, but touched down three late tries to salvage two points and almost cap another remarkable resurgence in a 32-27 defeat.
The Raiders head coach admitted he was not surprised by their poor start after a bad training session on Thursday from which he sensed a tough afternoon was to come.
He said: “Overall, it’s frustration and disappointment. I could have told you that on Thursday night’s training session, but we have to move on because we are a better team than Henley.
“We started terribly. We hadn’t got a spark and it was very flat in the warm-up and flat in the changing room.
“We tried to gee them up, but it took the boys to come off the bench, who were hungry, and that shows you that hunger and desire in rugby union goes a long way.
“I could have told you that was going to happen on Thursday night. We turned up on Thursday after a great win last week and there was an air around the place that we could turn up today and win.
“It’s a slap in the face. It took the guys to come off the bench and really spark something in the last ten minutes and show the way we can play and we almost stole it right at the end.”
Dawson, however, was not too downbeat after previously recording back-to-back wins and added: “We are trying to put a positive spin on it but it’s massively disappointing after a couple of good wins.”
“I know Henley had a few guys who were missing so they weren’t at full strength, but they came with great desire and hunger and fought for every ball.
“They carried with purpose and they cleared their rucks, they defended brilliantly. We were very laboured on the base of the breakdown, we were very laboured around the pitch and we never got forward for our backline to attack until the last ten minutes.”