The Gundagai Tigers continued their great form with a dominant 48-6 triumph over the Tumut Blues at Twickenham on Sunday.
Tigers centre Damian Willis grabbed a hat-trick in the win and despite periods of resistance by the home side, the Tigers put in a clinical display.
Despite the scoreline, Tigers captain/coach James Smart described his side’s performance as a little scrappy.
“At times it was a bit stop-start with errors from both sides and plenty of penalties so it was hard for both sides to get into a bit of rhythm and get a roll on,” Smart said after the contest.
“It was probably a bit of a reversal from last week where we controlled the ruck really well and our execution was good, but to their credit the boys defended our line really well when we needed to and only let in one try from a kick.
The Blues surprised the Tigers with an early try to Kieran Sherratt, converted by Jacob Topping for a 6-0 lead.
The home side continued their impressive start when halfback Todd Broad made a break but he had no support with him and the play broke down, but it was a positive sign for the home side who had continued on from their impressive display the week before against the Temora Dragons.
Tigers second rower Josh Smith hit a gap and opened the Tigers account after 18 minutes. Luff missed and the Tigers trailed 6-4.
Mid-way through the half the Tigers kept the ball alive and found centre Matt Rose who scored out wide. Luff converted for a 10-6 scoreline.
With 10 minutes remaining in the half the Blues were right on the attack but a grubber landed in the hands of Tigers fullback Dane O’Heir who raced 90m to score a great try against the run of play. Luffs’ conversion made it 16-6.
The Tigers put a kick through, and, showing great urgency, in-form Tigers centre Damian Willis won the race for the ball to touch down and Luffs’ conversion made it 22-6 and the Tigers added a try in the 40th minute when winger Phil Latu raced down the sideline before offloading to Willis for his second try, giving the Tigers a very handy 26-6 lead with at the break.
Just like the first half, the Blues made a solid start to the second half and it took the Tigers 15 minutes to break the Blues’ defence courtesy of a try to Blake Dunn.
On the hour mark Willis powered his way through a tiring Blues defence to score his third try and Luff made no mistake from out wide and the Tigers pushed ahead to a 38-6 lead.
A try to Brett Eccleston made it 42-6 and Ben Reardon scored a try in the corner to round out the scoring in a great performance by the Tigers.
James Smart said he was happy to come away with the win, even though his team hadn’t been at its best.
“In a way it was probably good for us to be behind early in the match, we’ve been coming out and scoring first most weeks and it was good to have that little challenge in front of us today,” Smart said.
“We knew we’d see opportunities and with a bit of second phase play after breaking tackles we made them pay and if we were able to execute our plays on the edges a little better we may have put on more points and like I said, it was scrappy at times but I’m just happy to come away with a big win.”