Red Deer Titans head coach Mike Berry believes the effort his side put forward on Saturday is the true version of his team.
The Titans crushed the Calgary Hornets 50-15 in men’s second division Calgary Rugby Union action at Titans Park to improve to 2-1-0 on the season.
After making it to the league final last year, the goal is to get back there and win it all.
“They want to win, and it shows when they dig in,” said head coach Mike Berry. “We don’t want to lose at home, and so far we are 100 per cent on that side of it, which is nice to see.”
They were clearly motivated on Saturday.
Grayden Bowd led the Titans with two tries while Andy Peters, Steven Holmes, Ryan Perrell, Nic Galenzoski and Brandon Gerheart all scored once. Gerheart also good on a penalty kick and was six for seven on converts.
The Titans were coming off a disappointing 48-19 loss to the Calgary Rams in their last game on May 9 — the CRU took a break over the long weekend. But on Saturday they dominated from the outset in 27-degree heat.
“The guys are coming together well as a team, they’re buying into the system more and it shows as they progress more,” said Berry. “The one game we lost, they forgot about it a bit, and then they came to and we won the second half, but unfortunately not the game.”
The Titans are well stocked up front with a forward group that fits their namesake. When they’re at their best they have the ability to overpower their opposition in scrums and lineouts and allow their speedier skill players to get the ball in open field.
“A lot of the guys are gritty, they’ll dig in a little more if they need to,” said Berry. “Especially on a day like today when it’s hot, and they push themselves, those guys lead the way and the other guys will follow.”
The Titans, like most teams, have also had a few key injuries this season, but have watched as players like Bowd, Peters, Gerheart, Wayde Hodgson, Alex Boyko and Derek Lockheart have filled the void.
“There are a few guys that take the helm and lead the boys,” said Berry.
The Titans have also played well defensively this season. In their two wins, they allowed a combined 31 points. On Saturday, they showed a bend but don’t break mentality, several times they were stacked up against their own goal line, but kept the Hornets from scoring a try.
“We don’t like people in our own zone,” said Berry. “Guys dig in a little bit more for that red line, that’s what you protect.”
Still, the head coach is well aware they can be better. Most of it comes down to just sharpening up certain elements of their game and being consistent in their efforts from match to match.
“A lot of it is coming in and catch the ball a little bit more, come up on defence and make our tackles,” said Berry. “The guys found the gaps today and made some open hits, they’ve just got to look up field and pick it and hit instead of trying to follow somebody around.”
The Titans are back at it this Saturday when they host the Cochrane Grizzlies at 1:45 p.m.
• In other rugby results at Titans Park on Saturday, The first division women fell 31-10 to the Calgary Rams; the U15 boys lost 37-7 to the Okotoks Lions; the U13 boys were awarded a forfeiture win over Okotoks, who were short players, but then won 71-0 in their exhibition game over the Lions, in a match where Titans suited up for Okotoks to even out the players.