Belconnen Magpies coach Jeremy Rowe has implored his players to show more intensity after last season's North East Australian Football League Eastern Conference grand finalists slumped to their third straight loss to start the year.
The Magpies are a long way from being finals contenders after going down by 32 points to the Queanbeyan Tigers at Dairy Farmers Park on Saturday.
In the battle of two winless sides, the Tigers broke through for their first victory of the season, courtesy of a dominant second quarter in which they kicked seven goals to two.
After getting demolished in their opening two games by interstate sides Aspley (173 to 17) and the UWS Giants (128 to 17), the Magpies were more competitive against their fellow Canberra AFL club. However, Rowe knows there is plenty of work to do if they are to stage a dramatic turnaround and move up the ladder.
''I don't think we're asking too much of our players to get the basic fundamentals of the game right, such as intensity at the fall of the ball and winning 50/50 contests,'' Rowe said.
''We need to have a 'chip on your shoulder' attitude where there is a refusal to be beaten by your man, and we haven't got that.
''Our response after half-time did nothing but show us that if we have that intensity and that desire and that willingness to compete, we can be a decent footy side.
''That's where my real disappointment lies today.''
After taking an eight-point lead into quarter-time, the Tigers flexed their muscle to take a commanding 42-point advantage into half-time.
The Magpies held their own in the second half, but couldn't make the necessary inroads on the scoreboard to apply any serious pressure.
Tigers player/coach Kade Klemke said it was a great relief for his side to be able to belt out the club song for the first time this year.
''I was very happy; we talked about all of our 22 players putting an effort in,'' Klemke said. ''I thought everyone did a role today and did well.
''Our second quarter was how we want to play our footy.
''We dropped off a bit in the second half, and that's something we've got to address because against those top sides, they'll blow us away if they let us do that.''
In Saturday's only other match involving a Canberra team, Eastlake delivered a stirring performance on the road to record a nine-point win against Sydney University at Drummoyne Oval.
The Demons hung on for a 12.13 (85) to 11.10 (76) victory to improve to 2-1 for the season.
Ainslie had the bye.
NEAFL: Queanbeyan 4.6, 11.11, 16.12, 20.17 (137) bt Belconnen 3.4, 5.5, 10.8, 16.9 (105) at Dairy Farmers Park. Eastlake 12.13 (85) bt Sydney University 11.10 (76) at Drummoyne Oval.