A determined Gundagai Tigers team inflicted South City’s first loss of the season with a 22-0 shut-out at a rain-soaked Anzac Park on Sunday.
The Tigers scored all their points in the first half and defended stoutly to record an impressive victory.
Steady rain was falling as both sides ran on and a minute’s silence was observed following the Tigers’ first home game since the death of under 16s player Lui Polimeni.
The Tigers kicked off and the Bulls dropped the ball straightaway, gifting Gundagai a great chance in the opening minutes.
The home side took full advantage and opened the scoring through winger Phil Latu in the right corner. Jake Luff’s conversion attempt was unsuccessful and his side led 4-0.
The Tigers scored their second try through centre Matt Rose, converted by Luff to make it 10-0 after 24 minutes.
A third try to the Tigers, to replacement Brock Dunn, converted by Luff, increased their lead to 16-0 with a little over 10 minutes to go in the half.
Gundagai had limited the Bulls’ chances with suffocating defence and deserved to lead the match heading into halftime and they finished the half all over their opponents, adding a try to Brett Eccleston, converted by Luff to lead 22-0 in the 34th minute.
A mistake by Latu gave the Bulls a good chance late in the half but an error of their own prevented them from asserting any pressure.
Luff missed a penalty goal right on half time and the Tigers went into the sheds full of confidence after a great performance.
During the opening 20 minutes of the second half no points were scored and it was hard to see who was on top despite the score-line.
As the match wore on, neither side looked likely to score but the Tigers defended their line superbly late in the match to keep their line intact and thoroughly deserved the two points.
Tigers captain/coach James Smart was pleased with his side’s performance but conceded that his side could have performed better after halftime.
“We had to do a lot of defending in the second half but fortunately we set ourselves up with a great first half,” he said.
“For weeks we have been able to keep teams scoreless or to only one try but we had to really work today against a quality side like this South City team.”
“Conditions probably didn’t suit them but we still had to turn up for each other and get the job done.”
Smart said his team had focused on playing field position over the past month and the Tigers were able to play the game in South City territory during the first half.
“Our talk was really good late in the game and even though we knew that the game was in the bag, we’ve got that pride in our line and you can’t coach that, it’s the attitude that the boys have got.”
“We probably went into our shell a little bit in the second half but we had to do a lot of defending and we did get a little tired, which resulted in a lot of one-out carries, but we focused on kicking long and playing it down their end.”