By STEVE MASCORD
CANBERRA’s infamous booze ban is over and its demise seems to have played at least some role in one of the most dramatic form reversals of the entire season.
The Green Machine – who last month suspended Josh Dugan and Blake Ferguson for breaking the embargo on all alcohol – turned a 40-0 home defeat to Wests Tigers into a 32-16 away success against Newcastle in the space of just seven days.
Officially, a camp just outside Newcastle in the lead-up to the game was credited with giving the boys some renewed solidarity.
But when asked where the club could go from here, halfback Josh McCrone let slip: “Probably a couple of drinks tonight.”
Asked to explain how that would be allowed, he said: “Some boys made some mistakes. We’re over the mistakes.
“It sold some papers, that’s about it. It went for four weeks, it lasted until then. Everyone held out for that period. We had the four weeks off.
“It wasn’t a massive thing. We knew where we wanted to be. We had some time off it. We’re not against blokes drinking – it’s just the time and place to do it.
“We’ve learned out lesion.
“We’ve been spending some time together. That week away, we learned a lot about each other.
Fullback-come-five-eighth Josh Dugan said there were no magic fixes to last week’s camp. “We bonded as a team, got back to basics and enjoyed each others’ company,” he said.
“That showed – everyone was working for each other and had that trust. Defending the way we did for the whole 80, it’s a credit to us.
“Some weeks you can be complacent and the next week you play blinders. One week you can get beaten by 40, the next week you win.
“We haven’t written out season off yet.”
Saturday night’s captain Tom Learoyd-Lahrs said the players don’t see each other often away from training because of family commitments and the camp was a good opportunity to correct that.
Promising youngster Edrick Lee scored his first two tries in first grade to bounce back from the previous week’s disappointment
“Mentally, it got me,” he admitted. “To be up in first grade and lose by that many points – we worked on turning it around.
McCrone was chastising himself for allowing Willie Mason to run over the top of him for a try. “I’ve got to learn to tackle,” he said.
“That’s pretty easily solved. It’s a one-on-one tackle miss. We’ll be right. They got two tries from one-on-one missed tackles. We’ll fixed that up.”
Filed for: RUGBY LEAGUE WEEK