McAtee wants Plymouth Albion to eradicate slow starts in pursuit of victories
Rhodri McAtee has said that the amount of bonus points Plymouth Albion have collected this season shows just how competitive the team is in the Championship.
Albion have only won five matches this term – and four of them came in the opening month of the season.
Last Sunday's 30-22 loss at Nottingham was the club's eighth in a row in the Championship, equalling Albion's worst run in league rugby.
Only bottom club Doncaster have lost more games than Plymouth this term. But back McAtee, a summer signing from Cornish Pirates, said it is far from gloom and doom at Brickfields and he is confident the team will beat Jersey at home this coming Saturday.
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"It is eight defeats but in the last few games [prior to Nottingham] we had five bonus points in three games," said McAtee. "We are up there in third as having the most bonus points in the league. That is the result of positive rugby.
"Although we are not winning games, the brand of rugby we are playing is paying off. That's is why we are not at the bottom because of all the bonus points we are picking up. The win will come, but as long we are picking up points and playing well we will go back happy. We know the tide will turn."
Albion are fourth from bottom but they have a 12-point cushion over basement side Doncaster with just five matches to play, having collected ten bonus points so far this term for either losing by seven points or fewer, or scoring four tries.
A win over second-from-bottom Jersey at Brickfields this weekend would almost certainly guarantee their league safety.
"There is a lot of talk about how we have not won since whenever and how we are getting near the bottom of the league, but we are not going down," said McAtee. "We are not going to be at the bottom come the end of the season.
"We are going to play well against Jersey and we are going to win and lay all that talk to bed."
In Albion's last four matches, they have found themselves at least 14 points down in the first half only to make a comeback late on.
Last Sunday they were losing 30-10 to Nottingham before scoring two injury-time tries to close the gap.
McAtee, who scored Albion's final try at Meadow Lane, said: "It was disappointing again that we went points down at the beginning of the game, which is what we have been doing lately. But we finished strong and at some point before the end of the season we are going to come out and start as we finish and we are going to win a game convincingly.
"We do play for 80 minutes and that is a credit to the conditioning and coaching staff, who have installed that mentality and, I repeat, if we can start like we finish, then we will win games. It is just finding that magic formula for that to happen."
He added: "Nottingham are a tough team. They are top three for a reason. They play a really good brand of rugby and they undid us in the first half."
McAtee has scored three tries in three games for Albion after managing just one in the first five months of the season. He said: "I had a slow season last year [at the Pirates] and it took me a while to get into it.
"It is one of those things – try scoring is a habit. If you go over once and then twice you get confidence and start looking for it more.
"Hopefully, I will get picked next week and score again."