The Southern Redbacks were made to pay for a slow start at the Country Rugby League Regional Under 18s Championships at Parrish Park on Saturday, bundled out 24-6 in the first round by the Bidgee Bulls (Canberra/Riverina).
The Redbacks were forced to endure an injury-disrupted build-up to the championships and injuries continued to bite on game day with fullback Jake Kinzett suffering a knee injury early in the first match.
"We didn't show up with a good attitude on Saturday," Redbacks coach Mick Daly said.
"We didn't start too badly but we lost our fullback Jake Kinzett after 10 minutes with a knee injury and we needed a reshuffle.
"We'd already had to shift Tommy Bartley from fullback to five-eighth during the week and we missed him at the back I think.
"We had about three other members of our starting back line withdraw through injury but our preparation was really good.
"We were confident we could get through but a few things went against us and our attitude probably wasn't there early on in the game."
Daly praised the way his side bounced back on day two on Sunday to take out their consolation match with fellow first round casualty Western Rams (Western NSW).
"It was a good win against Western Rams, the boys really picked it up," Daly said.
"It all just clicked for us. We got a few guys back into their key positions and everything rolled on from there so it was a good finish.
"Their attitude was really good and they got stuck in, in defence. Our lock Tre Sio and front-rower Sal Brancato really led the way so they put their hands up hopefully for some further honours."
Central Coast were clearly the standout side in the under-18s division, winning their way into the semi-final stage with 24-16 win over the Western Rams ahead of a 30-24 win against Bidgee Bulls to qualify for the championship final at Tamworth on June 21.
They will face The Greater Northern Tigers at home in Tamworth after they beat the East Coast Dolphins 18-16 in the other semi-final.
The Under 16s Southern Redbacks won through to Sunday's semi-final with a 26-16 round-one victory over Bidgee Bulls before going down 40-0 to a red-hot Western Rams outfit in their semi-final.
The Rams will face the Greater Northern Tigers who took out the other semi-final.
It was a brighter day for the Illawarra at the Women's State Championships at St Mary's as the Illawarra team captained by international Sam Hammond took a 10-6 victory over Canley Vale for the state title.
Hammond, Maddie Studdon, Emily Andrews, Kezie Apps, Erin Blackwell, Ruby Ewe, Jen Latu and Brittany Constable were all selected in the NSW side at the conclusion of the championships.