OPINION: What a difference a win can make.
After trying so hard to register a win for the first three weeks of the competition, to finally get the four points was a satisfying feeling.
A winning feeling can make all the difference to your mindset.
Passes that had been going behind players at training start to go consistently in front.
After a string of close losses, you can start to doubt yourself, both as a player and together as a team.
Parts of your game begin to be over-analysed and you start to overthink how to play what is, in basic terms, a relatively simple game.
But as a squad we are by no means getting ahead of ourselves.
In some ways, we played how we started the competition, with poor execution on attack and ineffectiveness on defence.
The margin between winning and losing a game can be so small.
Because we got in front last week against Waikato, and stayed in front, we were able to believe we could actually win.
Had we got in front during any of our three previous matches, who knows how things would be looking now.
But four rounds of the competition have now been completed and we need to look forward, not back.
Yesterday, the team headed off to Palmerston North on tour for the week.
Being away for the week allows the boys to enjoy (hopefully not get sick of) each other's company for a week on the road.
This means the first-year players on the tour will need to brush up significantly on their knowledge of cities and towns throughout the North Island.
All first-year players are assigned to the information committee, which provides the squad facts about the cities we are in, while we're on the bus.
The standard of information provided to the team in Whangarei was considered poor by senior players, so they will need to make sure their research is spot on.
No doubt there will be plenty of banter.
This block of games begins with tonight's match against Manawatu.
Then tomorrow we will get on a bus to travel for almost five hours to the sunny beaches of Tauranga to prepare to play Bay of Plenty on Wednesday night.
And on Thursday we will then get back on a plane to head home. The next assignment is a match against North Harbour at home next Sunday afternoon.
Finally, we would like to welcome new addition Calvary Fonoti to the Stags squad.
He arrived at training on Wednesday and was warmly welcomed by the squad and management.
Calvary has come down from Auckland and was a member of this year's Auckland wider squad.
When I asked him at training if he had been to Invercargill before, he replied, "nah, I haven't, but it's cold, eh."
We are sure he will have a positive impact on and off the field this season, even if he is struggling to adopt to the "tropical" climate.
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