ARMIDALE claimed the Charity Shield for the first time and in a decisive manner on Saturday.
The Blues showed little charity to Barbarians, thrashing them 55-3 to wrest the silverware from them and jump out to a four-point lead on the table.
St Albert’s are second after accounting for Guyra 42-8 to register their first win.
Over town at Alcatraz, the Blues completely dominated the Baa Baas in a performance that drew high praise from co-coach Anthony McMillan.
“It was sensational,” McMillan said.
“Especially considering the cattle that weren’t playing.”
He rattled off the likes of captain Ed Hiscox, Alex Smith, Mike TeMoana and young fullback Adam Croft.
Barbarians also had players out and were most notably missing Keith Ellis. He, like Hiscox, was riding in the Tour de Rocks.
McMillan said he thought they could get over them but was blown away by the scoreline, especially after Baa Baas had beaten Albies in the first round.
“The boys, to their credit, went out and blew them away,” McMillan said.
They were up 10-nil after about 10 minutes, after an early penalty and try to Anthony Piddington.
That shut the crowd up and put the Barbarians on the back foot.
“We just got a roll-on from there,” McMillan said.
“We played a pretty smart game plan.”
“We booted it out of our 22 and made them do the work.”
They built their ascendancy from the set pieces.
“Our lineout was pretty well spot-on early,” he said.
“I don’t think we lost a lineout in the first half.”
“And our scrum was dominant. I think we picked up six or seven tightheads, which, with the new scrum set-up, is a pretty good feat.”
That carried through to their defence.
“Our defence was absolutely outstanding,” he said.
“They did not look like scoring a try.”
He said he could have given the points to anyone but went for half-back Brodie Rigby for the three.
“He led them around the park and put blokes in holes at the right time,” McMillan said.
Dave Healy, playing at six, got the two with Piddington and Josh Croft sharing the one.
TABLE: Armidale 10, St Albert’s 6, Barbarians 4, Guyra 0, Robb 0.