Mariners set the benchmark early
UNION: In a 20-minute blitz, the Fraser Coast Mariners showed why the side is one of the favourites for this year's Spring Cup.
The side inflicted one of the Turtles Brothers' worst losses in the past 10 years, smashing them 61-16 at The Waves Sports Ground.
The contest was over in the first 25 minutes as the Mariners ran in four tries to lead 26-3.
Turtles fought back to reduce the margin into halftime but the Mariners showed their class in the second half.
All up, the new team scored nine tries in the rout with Rapoama Dakaica claiming a hat-trick.
"It is good to start like that it, gives us a really good platform to work on," Mariners coach Trent Devere said.
"Despite the scoreline it gives us plenty of improvement.
"The Turtles were good in patches.
"They do have a lot of new blokes, which takes time to build.
"They will be a much stronger side."
Devere said the long break between games inspired the team.
"We were just pumped - we haven't played together for 12 months," he said.
"You talk about the pride you have in the jersey and they certainly showed it tonight."
Devere said it was also fitting to win in what could be the final game for Kale Hendle.
The Mariners back is about to go into the army and may not be back this season.
"He's an unfortunate loss for us," Devere said.
"He's been around for a long time, very experienced, very good player and he was very good tonight.
"If this is his last game, it was good to send him out as a winner."
Devere conceded that, while the start was good, the side isn't there yet in relation to playing at its best.
"We need to improve discipline around the ruck, we were off-side at times," he said.
"There was a few loose tackles, and a few high tackles and a couple of yellow cards, which is not what we want."
Turtles players said the result wasn't ideal.
"We weren't expecting to come out on top," Turtles player Brendon McKeown said.
"There was a lot of positives and some of the new players that turned up and played showed a lot of promise and intensity."
McKeown said the forwards needed to be more compact and one-on-one tackles needed improvement.
The Turtles have a bye next week with the Mariners to come back to Bundaberg this Saturday to take on the Bundaberg Pythons.