BARRABA Bulldogs kept pace with Kootingal Roosters at the top of the Group 4 Second Division Shield premiership table with a 70-12 win over Manilla Tigers at Barraba Sportsground on Saturday.
The unbeaten Bulldogs have now won three games from three outings and, with a bye (two points), have amassed eight points to be equal with unbeaten Kootingal.
Bulldogs captain-coach Tim Coombes was delighted with his side’s even display at home on Saturday, its first home game of the new season.
“Chris Vidler had a shoulder injury and that made a big difference to them,” he said of his opposing captain-coach.
“Plus they had a tough week down there but they turned up to play and had a go.
“But we’re building nicely.
“It was a good win today. We played pretty well.
“I think we led 38-nil at half- time and, while we got a little scrappy in the second half, we played well.
“And we started well too.
“We scored a couple of real good tries early that broke their backs.”
Joey Latham was again in outstanding form, crossing for three tries and having a hand in much of the Bulldog attack.
“He’s a class player,” Coombes said of the talented pivot.
“He’s such a handful for any side in broken play.
“Shaun Spence had another good game too,” he said of his fellow prop.
“I didn’t expect the score to get as big as it did for us.”
Vidler looked on with hope.
“We’ve had a bit of a distraction during the week, that didn’t help,” he said of some internal eruptions that have ripped the club apart.
“I hurt my shoulder last week and thought it best to give it a rest this week and be right for next Sunday against Dungowan.”
He thought Anthony Wicks was outstanding for the Tigers, especially at lock.
“His defence was outstanding. We made a lot of interchanges and he played a few different positions but went really well at lock.”
Number nine Kurt Silvia is also a good acquisition for the Tigers.
A former Queensland Cup player, he’s come south looking for work.
“Once we get him fit he’s going to be very handy for us,” Vidler said.