Tigers roar in Anzac Park try-fest

It was all one-way traffic at Anzac Park on Sunday afternoon with the Gundagai Tigers turning it on for their home fans when thrashing Wagga Brothers 58-12 in round 10 of the Group 9 competition. 

Damian Willis scored a treble and Derek Hay and Corey Wilson both crossed for doubles as the Tigers piled on five tries in each half to send the Brethren back to Wagga with their tails between their legs. 

The visitors did start well, with mistakes cruelling Gundagai’s game as Brothers led 6-4 after 21 minutes, but the Tigers soon kicked into gear, and were led around the park by Hay and Tyron Gorman, who both played some entertaining, ad-lib rugby league. 

Hay was his side’s best player, and the in-form playmaker was happy to see Gundagai flick a switch and play well following their scrappy start to the game.

“It was good to score some points today, but I think we started pretty slow because we didn’t hold the ball,” Hay said. 

“Our blueprint is to hold the ball and run hard through the middle and as soon as we triggered that switch, that’s what we did, and we ran away with it pretty easy.”

Hay and Gorman were dynamic, and the halfback was quick to deflect praise onto his teammate, who has been one of Gundagai’s best in 2022.

“It is always good to play attacking footy like that because 90% of your games don’t happen like that and when you can get on the front foot and score some tries and set up some tries, it’s always nice,” Hay said. 

“Tyron and I have played a lot of footy together, and he played a good game, and he is a great runner of the footy, and he has been one of our best this year and he has played three different positions.

“He just does his thing, and he has come into his own as a leader. He is 27 this year and has won three comps and is really a senior head around here and he is starting to bring blokes up with him.”

Hay also found praise for some of the Tiger’s younger and less-experienced contingent that stepped up to the plate in the big win. 

“Everyone talks about talk in attack, but it is so much more important is defence, especially for young fellas like Corey (Wilson), Stephen Gill, who I thought was unreal for us through the middle, and Braith (Crane),” Hay said. 

“They are starting to come into their own and are gaining that confidence and using their own voice, and that’s why they are here and that’s why they are in first grade.

“They have been killing it in reserve grade and that’s what we need from them, and in those last few minutes, I could still hear Corey, and he played well and was rewarded today and scored two tries and set a couple up.”

While the result wasn’t perfect, Hay said it was a step in the right direction, with the Tigers a lot better in defence compared to recent games against Albury and Temora. 

“We have been winning, but we haven’t been winning well,” Hay said, 

“Especially in D (defence), we have been leaking a few points, with 20 against Temora last week and 26 the week before against Albury, which is not good enough, especially when we are coming into Tumut and Young back-to-back.”

Gundagai will have next week off with a bye ahead of a round 12 match against Tumut at home, and Hay said the Tigers were certainly tracking nicely into the second-half of the 2022 season.

“We definitely are building in the right direction, and you don’t want to hit your straps too early,” Hay said. 

“We have been winning ugly, which is good, but we know we need to be better and that starts with Tumut and Young in the next couple of games.”

In the only sour note coming gout of Sunday’s win, Luke Berkrey left the field with a dislocated finger, but the Gundagai captain/coach wasn’t concerned and expects to be back for the Tigers big match against the Blues in round 12. 

Tigers turn it on at home

There was no rest for the wicked in the early stages of the game between the Gundagai Tigers and Wagga Brothers at Anzac Park on Sunday, with both teams playing some entertaining end-to-end footy in their round 10 Group 9 contest. 

Both sides had their chances, with Gundagai’s Vaughn Scott fumbling a tough pass when in clear running in the opening stages, while moments later, Wagga’s Mitch Bennett had his chance on the left edge, but neither side could crack the other’s line in the first 15 minutes. 

The Tigers started to run through Brothers in the middle of the park, with Royce Tout, Luke Berkrey and Afa Collins damaging, and the home side was able to force a repeat set, which led to points. 

With the pressure proving too much for the Brethren’s left edge, Damian Willis kept up his recent try-scoring form, getting to the inside of his opposite player to score try 150 in game 152 for the Tigers. 

Latrell Siegwalt hit the post with his conversion attempt, and the Tigers were up 4-nil after 17 minutes. 

The Tigers made a fundamental mistake in their set of six after points, and in similar fashion to what Gundagai had just done, Brothers were able to force a repeat set. 

The Wagga side moved the ball well, and Wilson Hamblin caught the middle defenders off guard when scooting and scoring to the right of the posts. 

Edan Price converted, and Brothers led 6-4 after 21 minutes.

That would be the highlight of the Wagga side’s performance, with Gundagai dominating the remainder of the match.

Off the kick-off, Wagga prop Rhys Weldon charged through the Tigers defensive line, leaving Luke Berkrey down with what was a dislocated finger. 

Despite having his finger popped back in mid-play, Berkrey was eventually forced from the field.

It didn’t matter for Gundagai, who muscled up in the middle via Collins and Jake Elphick, and this changed the tone of the game, with the Tigers going on a try-scoring run in the final 15 minutes of the first half.

Following a penalty, the Tigers left-side attack clicked into gear, and Siegwalt provided a stunning right to left cut-out pass to Jack Lyons, and the speedy winger strolled over for a good try on the left edge. 

Siegwalt converted and Gundagai were now ahead 10-6 after 28 minutes. 

An elementary mistake than cost the Red and Green, who were deemed to be offside from the kick-off. 

Three tackles into their next set, Gundagai’s play broke down on the right edge, and Derek Hay was able to cut back in, before jinking and stepping past no less than five Brothers players to score one of the tries of the game. 

Siegwalt converted with ease and Gundagai were up 16-6 after 31 minutes. 

Following the try, Collins, Tout and Vinnie Brown were hard to stop, with the big props getting their side on the front foot, and on the last tackle, Tyron Gorman delivered a perfectly weighted kick to centre Damian Willis on the right edge and the veteran centre flew high to catch the ball before grounding his second of the day. 

Siegwalt again converted and the Black and Gold were up 22-6 after 38 minutes. 

On the very next set, the Tigers made light work of the Brethren’s’ defence, and Blake Dunn held the ball up long enough before passing to Willis, who got to the outside of Bennett.

Willis then tiptoed down the western sideline before booting the ball back in field, and it was Hay that won the chase to the Steeden, with the halfback diving to score his second try of the half.

Siegwalt converted and Gundagai held a commanding 28-6 lead at the break.

Wagga came out in the second half and started in the worst possible way, with Braith Crane pressuring Aaron Wynne, who kicked the ball out on the full, giving Gundagai good field position. 

The Tigers made them pay, with Siegwalt tearing Brothers’ left-side defence to pieces when scoring a good solo try. 

Siegwalt slotted the conversion from the sideline to take Gundagai ahead 34-6.

In the very next set, Jake Elphick and Tyron Gorman stormed through the middle of Wagga’s defence, making big metres, before Gorman again had the ball in hand, breaking through the opposition’s line before passing back to Crane, and the youngster took full advantage of the good opportunity to score his first try in top grade.

Siegwalt made light work of the conversion attempt and the Tigers were roaring when ahead at 40-6 after 47 minutes. 

Gundagai’s pressure was simply relentless, and while they dominated with the ball in hand, their defence was energetic, and they forced the visiting side into mistake after mistake.

After 53 minutes of play, Tyron Gorman was again dishing out tries, and this time a big cut-out ball to Jack Lyons was passed back to Corey Wilson, and the young centre crashed over for a good try. 

Siegwalt converted and Gundagai went further ahead 44-6 after 55 minutes. 

10 minutes later and Derek Hay was again carving up the Wagga defence again, and he offered the visitors a sneaky show and go before breaking the line and passing to Willis, who crossed for his third try to the right of the sticks. 

Siegwalt converted again and Gundagai brought up the half-century when ahead 50-6 after 65 minutes. 

Brothers enjoyed a rare bright spot in the second half when James Hay broke the Tigers line from 40 metres out with the captain/coach passing back inside to Hamblin, who scored his second try of the day to the left of the posts. 

Price converted and Brothers neared closer to the home side when trailing 50-12 after 65 minutes. 

In the blink of an eye Gundagai reaffirmed their dominance in the contest with their Adelong connection on the left edge proving fruitful.

Gorman was again shelling out meat pies, and he passed to Wilson, who step back inside to score a good try to the left of the sticks. 

Siegwalt slotted his eighth conversion of the day and Gundagai led 56-12 after 72 minutes. 

Adding insult to defeat for Brothers, Gundagai capped off the match with Siegwalt landing a two-point field goal from over 40 metres out, sealing what can only be described as a dominant 58-12 victory over Brothers. 

In a big second half, where Berkrey was off the whole time, and Tout and Collins spent a good chunk of the stanza on the pine, it was pleasing to see the likes of Vinnie Brown, Mark Elphick, Stephen Gill and Braith Crane playing good minutes.

Elphick took a plethora of carries and consistently found his front, Crane was dynamic from acting half and Gill was one of Gundagai’s best as the game wore on, with the playmaker getting through a lot of work in defence.

Gundagai Tigers 58 (Tries: Damian Willis 3, Derek Hay 2, Corey Wilson 2, Jack Lyons, Latrell Siegwalt, Braith Crane; Conversions: Latrell Siegwalt 8; Two-point field goal: Latrell Siegwalt) defeated Wagga Brothers 12 (Tries: Wilson Hamblin 2, Conversions: Edan Price 2).

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