NORTH Tamworth Bears continued their unbeaten run to a Group 4 minor premiership with a dominant 50-18 win over tackle-shy Gunnedah Bulldogs at Jack Woolaston Oval on Saturday.
A ruthless Bears pack tore into the Bulldogs , taking control after Gunnedah had levelled up the game at 6-all early in the first half following a brilliant 50m solo try from Trent Hilton.
Rather than signal a Bulldog surge, it was the start of a Bears procession as hooker Brock Wadwell carved the Bulldog defence apart.
Wadwell scored two tries from dummy half in an explosive 15 minutes where winger Scott Hogg flashed down the eastern touchline to post three tries.
North led 32-6 at halftime, leaving the Bulldogs in tatters.
Wadwell also added another try from dummy half in the second half as well as a 10- minute sin-binning with Gunnedah’s Steve Yorkshire to finish a big day.
Bears skipper Marshall Barker also crossed for North’s final try to celebrate his 30th birthday in a game where the Bulldogs scored the final try through a neat chip and chase from five-eighth Matt Brady.
Brady regathered, offloaded to Hilton who torpeoded a wide pass to Sam Woods for the winger to dive over wide out.
It was one of the few bright spots for the Bulldogs.
Disappointed Gunnedah coach Shane Rampling was unable to find many positives.
“We played some dumb football,” he said.
“We played into North’s hands.
“We didn’t slow their play the balls down and they got a good foothold in the first half.
“We also coughed up too much ball and defensively we were poor.
“ We also finished up with no fit players on the bench.
“They are a good side though.
“You have to be aggressive against them and we weren’t.
“They were coming at us with the intent to hurt (in tackles) and we were just happy enough to make the tackle.”
Bears coach Brad McManus is building a fine team.
“We’re going good,” he said.
“I’m pretty excited about where we are headed.
“We set a few goals at the start of the year.
“One was to be unbeaten at home in the first round and we’ve done that.
“We’re just getting better and better each week.”
He said the side was gelling well.
“Today was a top of the table clash and we smashed them like that.
“It can only get better from here. Everyone is working together.”
He said the return of former captain-coach Sean Ferguson was a huge bonus.
“All the boys are pushing each other,” he said.
While Brock Wadwell terrorised the Bulldogs with his scurries from dummy half, his brother Shane Wadwell was part of a dominant pack that ran roughshod over the visitors.
Lock Nic Dobson had another strong game, Sam Jacobsen and Ky RuRu gave good minutes off the bench and young prop Josh Cocking ripped in strongly with his fellow prop Bill Jeffery.
Out wide, centres Zac Russ and Brad Marshall had good games, winger Scott Hogg benefiting greatly from some quick hands and service from Russ.
Fullback Richard Clegg also excelled, defusing almost every kick and then running the ball back for good metres.