Waikite coach Charles Te Kowhai admits his side suffered a "towelling" in their Tai Mitchell Shield clash at Rotoiti on Saturday, but is confident the team can learn from the experience.
The 53-0 rout was one of two high-scoring matches played in the Central Bay of Plenty local round at the weekend.
Whakarewarewa dispatched Ngongotaha 57-3 at the Ngongotaha Domain, while Kahukura held on to beat Marist St Michael's 17-5 at Kuirau Park.
Saturday's matches were the last round of fixtures before the start of the Baywide premier competition this weekend.
Speaking to the Rotorua Daily Post yesterday, Waikite coach Te Kowhai made no bones about the result against Rotoiti, and praised the opposing team's technical abilities.
"We got a bit of a towelling yesterday ... they [Rotoiti] are a really well rounded and balanced team. I think all round how they played the contact area was quite clever."
Te Kowhai indicated that Waikite had not managed to assert themselves enough in the game, and had found it difficult to cope with Rotoiti's running backs. "We had a lot of passive tackles and not enough offensive ones."
However, there were positives. Te Kowhai said he had been encouraged by the performance of his team's offensive line, and thought that such a heavy defeat might inspire his players to work on different aspects of their game.
"I was telling the boys, it's a steep learning curve, but if they keep a positive attitude and a willingness to learn and experience different skill sets, we will make improvements."
Waikite have struggled to establish a regular starting 15 this season due to injuries and work commitments, but their coach was hoping a number of his preferred starters would be returning in time for the start of the Baywide premier competition.
Asked how he felt about the upcoming opening round match against Eastern Bay of Plenty's Whakatane Marist, Te Kowhai sounded relaxed and confident. "It's a helpful draw, we're not dropped in at the deep end."
However, he warned against expectations of an overnight transformation. "That stuff doesn't happen within a week."
-Results on Saturday:
Central Bay of Plenty:
Rotoiti 53 v Waikite 0
Kahukura 17 v Marist St Michael's 5
Whakarewarewa 57 v Ngongotaha 3
Eastern Bay of Plenty:
Opotiki 57 v Paroa 12
Whakatane Marist 59 v Ruatoki 19
Te Teko 29 v Poroporo 17
Western Bay of Plenty:
No fixtures played.