Bears awake and put fumbling Lions to bed

NORTH Tamworth started slowly but  overcame a mistake-riddled West Lions 48-18 in their opening round Group 4 Cup first grade grand final replay at Jack Woolaston Oval on Saturday.

After beating the Lions in the Wests Knockout the Bears repeated the dose Saturday after trailing 12-10 20 minutes in.

However, the Bears overcame some early errors to score three tries in the final 15 minutes of the first half to go to the break 26-12 ahead and then take control in the second half as the Lions coughed up possession and wasted some good opportunities.

The Bears finished with nine tries.

Hooker Brock Wadwell scored two tries while all the backs, bar halfback Kieran Fisher, scored tries as well.

However it was the forward pack that impressed coach Brad McManus most with big prop Bill Jeffery, lock Nic Dobson, Shane Wadwell, Marshall Barker and James Cooper all excelling.

“We started poorly,” Brad McManus admitted to The Leader after the game.

“Once we got back to doing what we do best we were right and we started to score a few points.

“It was good controlled win in the end. I was pretty happy with that especially with the way the pack went. They were all pretty good today.”

Marshall Barker and Shane Wadwell led the way but none were better than live wire lock Dobson.

“Nic was outstanding,” McManus said.

“He worked hard over the off season and its paid off for him.

“Having Fergo (Shaun Ferguson) back is a bonus. He’s still getting things organised but it will be good to have him back full time soon.”

He said his side is heading in the right direction especially with its new halves combination of Kieran Fisher and Abel Carney.

West captain-coach Chris Hunt said the Lions “made it hard on ourselves”.

“We gave away a lot of ball, sill penalties and errors. “Not taking anything away from Norths, they played well but we helped them do it.

“We started well and were right in it after 20 minutes but then the wheels fell off.

“A lot of that might be to do with our fitness but we also need a lot more discipline. We’ve been used to playing a lot more structured (under former coach Ton La Chiusa) but we didn’t have any today.”

Hunt admitted to becoming frustrated at times and gave away some penalties himself.

However there is plenty of potential in the side.

Lock Phil Beaton was one of the Lions best with a strong display and some smart runs. Tom Hine, Shane Salvador and Chris Hunt all worked hard and young fullback Mitch Doring was in everything in attack and defence.

Teenage winger Dylan lake also had some good moments.

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