Gungahlin Eagles are flying high with two impressive wins to start the 2019 competition but their wings will be clipped momentarily with only one competitive match scheduled for the next five weeks.
Thanks to an irregular month of scheduling, it will be three weeks till Marco Caputo’s side will play their next John I Dent Cup match against Queanbeyan Whites at home.
After thrashing Easts 74-5 on Saturday afternoon (6 April), the Eagles have drawn a bye this weekend before the whole competition takes a break for the Easter long weekend.
The Eagles will then come up against the winless Whites on 27 April, before being forced to take another break for their second of three byes throughout the season. The side will then take on the Tuggeranong Vikings who will be hungry for revenge on 11 May in the first match of a six-week run of games.
Caputo, a former Brumbies and Wallabies hooker, seemed unfazed by the erratic draw and believes the little one percenters will help carry their momentum throughout the season.
“It would be nice to keep going because we do have a bit of momentum there and guys would be looking forward to next week,” he said. “There is nothing we can do about it.
“We just need to make sure the environment and the way we prepare between games is right. We are not looking for excuses.”
The Eagles have been quick out of the blocks this season and are perched on top of the ladder after two exciting wins over defending champions Tuggeranong Vikings and Easts. Last season saw them win only one of their first ten matches to start the season before a jaw-dropping late-season run saw the side finish in the top four.
Caputo said the club has been working hard since November to make sure the side did not replicate last’s season slow start and is urging his side to strive for consistency.
“Our form is not a shock to us,” he told Region Media. “We have come out of the blocks really well but we know it’s a long haul.
“One of the things that came out of the review into our past few years is an inability to back up a good performance. So I was concerned coming out of that Vikings game that we would go into the next week with a hangover from that win.
“I was really pleased with their reaction given that I was a bit concerned that we would be a little bit vulnerable.”
Since being named as head coach Dan Atkins’ replacement, Caputo has demanded his squad to increase its commitment levels on and off the field. Caputo believes if the squad do so, the sky is the limit this season.
“What has been acceptable in the past in terms of commitment levels and performances from week to week is not acceptable this year,” he said.
“We want to consider ourselves contenders and if we want to be fair dinkum about that, what’s gone on in the past isn’t going to cut it this year.
“I have challenged them off and on the field with their commitment levels and behaviours and they have risen to the occasion.”