North Wales Crusaders head coach Anthony Murray believes his side have set the standard for themselves with their display against Oldham.
Despite North Wales leading 14-0 with an hour gone, Oldham struck three times in the last 20 minutes to nick a late win in Wrexham.
Crusaders were the better side for large parts and, on another day, could easily have secured the two points.
“I’m disappointed that we lost the game because it’s two points that got away from us, but I’m pleased about how our players went about their business,” he said.
“Oldham are a very well coached team and have been near the top of the division for the last two seasons.
“They hammered us twice last year and we needed to make massive improvements from the Workington match defensively.
“Oldham threw a lot at us and we dealt with it well.
“Throughout the match, we were in front and deservedly so, but rugby league’s cruel.
“If you come up with a couple of errors, a good team like Oldham will punish you.
“We gave that interception away and it lifted Oldham.
“We then gave a penalty away and they scored from it.
“Overall, we’ve set the standard of where we’re capable of being.
“The challenge for us now is being at that standard week in, week out.”
Although Crusaders are yet to record any points on the table so far this season, they couldn’t have had a more difficult start.
And Murray is optimistic that his side can kick on from here.
He said: “For large parts of the Workington game, we pushed them close and we were better team for the majority of the game against Oldham.
“We just need to fix one or two things, but we need to keep that standard and energy.
“If we do, we won’t be far off at all.
“You don’t have to be a rocket scientist when you’re involved with rugby league.
“You’ve got to have a high completion rate, your penalty count has got to be low, your kicking has got to be good and your kick-chase has got to be even better.
“In all of those areas, we asked for an improvement.
“We worked hard on it during the week and it showed.
“If you do all of the basics, you give yourself a good chance.
“We came unstuck because of an unfortunate interception, as those things can happen, and a penalty towards the end.”