HIGHFIELD head into a fortnight break from All Ireland League action in pole position having claimed another bonus point win on Saturday over Nenagh.
Coach Tim Ryan feels the work his players put in over Christmas is paying dividends and when his side return after their break he wants them to push on.
“This was always our poor patch. Every year after Christmas it could take four or five weeks to get our momentum back but the boys have come back switched on. They’ve worked hard over Christmas and it showed today and we want to drive it on for the rest of the season,” says Ryan.
While thrilled to have got the extra point from their six tries, Ryan says they need to stay tuned in mentally in games even when they are well ahead.
“You can’t ship 20 points and it’s something we pride ourselves on, our defence.
“Their first two tries were soft, an interception. We just switched off a little bit there at the start of the second half because we were well ahead.
“We just have to focus on our own jobs and I said it to the boys that we have to bring a better attitude when we go well ahead of a team; we have to show our ruthless streak.
“Sometimes when you go ahead like that you can be trying too much in attack just to keep pushing on and maybe there was a bit of that to the intercept as well.
“I want the team to play a good brand of attacking ruby and sometimes when you do that you can leave yourselves open.
“You sometimes make mistakes like that when you are 20-odd points ahead. We need to learn to hold that offload and not throw the ball. We made a nice break under pressure out of our own 22 to get to halfway and then throw a ball maybe we shouldn’t have and suddenly their tails are up.”
That was in sharp contrast to the way his side had performed in the first half when the game was close. Ryan says his players need to keep that attitude through the game: “When we are close in games we are very aggressive in our D but like I said maybe we need to look at it when we are well ahead, the boys might switch off a bit.
"When you are attacking you’ll get away with switching off for a phase or two but not when you are defending. One split second being turned off can cause a try and I just said that to the boys.
“You have to be tuned in all the time and that is draining on players and that’s where the breaks come for you to attack. You drain them and drain them and then attack.
“When it really matters though when the game was close we are on top of it. You could see that in the first half when the game was close and tight, we gave them nothing. We kept working our asses off and that is something we need to bring for the whole game.
“The game is about territory and possession and we’ve worked on that for four or five years the more territory you have the more possession you have.”