HALFBACK Paul O'Neill and hooker Jimmy English were the standouts when Marist Brothers beat the Casino Cougars 36-12 in Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League at Queen Elizabeth Park, Casino, yesterday.
It was the worst possible start for the Cougars who trailed 16-0 after just 15 minutes.
Offside from the kick-off, dropped ball from their own penalty taps; they made errors in almost every facet of play.
English and O'Neill capitalised on the opportunities, causing plenty of problems around the ruck for the bigger Casino pack.
O'Neill scored just before the break to give the Rams a 22-0 lead at half-time.
"We shot ourselves in the foot early with about five errors," Casino coach Troy McLean said.
"I challenged the boys to come back with a bit of character after such a poor start."
The Cougars needed to score first after the break and they did thanks to the sheer pace of fullback David Briggs.
They muscled up for an intense 10-minute period after the resumption before the Rams got a roll on with winger Greg Talu going over to extend the lead to 26-6.
Casino answered back with centre Logan Daniel adding his name to the scoresheet.
However, consecutive tries to the Rams through fullback Mitchell Krause and centre Max Elliot sealed a much-needed win for Brothers.
"We played with a lot of composure and control which was pleasing," Rams coach Adam Mayes said.
"We went back to old habits in the beginning of the second half with a bit of turnover but Casino are a big side and we matched them physically to set a bit of a platform."
The only concern for the Rams was losing English towards the end of the game with a concussion.
Centre John Brown also played well for Brothers, scoring a try and having two denied later in the game.
Centre Todd Johnson and prop Damien Benn tried hard for the home side.
"We're a tough physical side but just struggle with some of the finer parts of the game," McLean said.
"Thursday night was our best ball work session of the season and you couldn't believe that with the way we started.
"It was our worst start of the season but we'll hang in there and hope some results go our way."