Not even the return of former Canberra Raider Reece Robinson to the capital could bounce the Queanbeyan Kangaroos back on track as Aaron Gorrell's side continue to chase their first win of the season.
Near enough wasn't good enough for the Kangaroos as they fell to an agonising 32-30 defeat against the West Belconnen Warriors in round three of the Canberra Raiders Cup at Freebody Oval on Saturday.
It's the same old story for the winless Kangaroos who have struggled to gain early momentum for the third week running. Things could be worse had they not rallied from 16 down to snap up a draw with their crosstown rivals last week.
But after another slow and scrappy first half, Gorrell is desperately searching for answers to salvage their stuttering starts.
"It's pretty frustrating, we're thereabouts, but thereabouts isn't going to be good enough for the rest of the year," Gorrell said.
"It's the second game in a row that we've given the opposition three tries to start. Against quality teams you can't afford to do it.
"We're going to have to find a quick fix and be able to score back-to-back tries and stay in games for longer periods."
The Warriors forged ahead to a 20-12 lead at halftime, before young gun Lachlan Ingram sparked a fightback as he showed brute strength to force the Steeden over the try line twice in 17 minutes.
With Ingram attacking on the right and Robinson bringing 120 NRL games of experience on the left, history looked bound to repeat itself as the Kangaroos bounced back into the match.
The former Raider kept the ball alive late in the second half as Queanbeyan refused to bow down to West Belconnen.
"Once I start getting around with the boys a bit more, knowing how they play and their shapes, I think I'll definitely have something to look forward to," Robinson said.
"Looking ahead we're a good, young team but we've got plenty to improve on."
West Belconnen put the result beyond doubt with a late try as Brent Crisp converted to solidify a two-point lead. Warriors coach Adam Peters had nothing but praise for the West Belconnen side who took out their second consecutive victory.
"I was very, very happy with that result. Previous years we probably would have gone down in a tough game like that down here. It's really hard going here," Peters said.
"We skipped away to a good lead but we just kept inviting them back. The player they have picked up are really strong, they are always a threat so we're just happy to have those two points."
AT A GLANCE:
West Belconnen Warriors 32 (A McDonald, R Thomas, B Withers, B Crisp, K Sione tries; B Crisp 4 goals) bt Queanbeyan Kangaroos 30 (L Ingram, N Ngere, T Williams, S Afemui tries; L Ingram 5). Goulburn Bulldogs 44 (J Aubusson, M Cornish, S Cummins, C Hart, H Hodge, J Whittaker tries; C Hart 6 goals) bt Woden Valley Rams 24 (L Simonsson, S Ferry, K Posantzis, D Prior tries; L Withers 4 goals). Yass Magpies 48 d Gungahlin Bulls 14. Tuggeranong Bushrangers 26 d Belconnen United Sharks 24.