THE Boomerangs put on one of their better first-half performances to beat Armidale 66-36 but it was their second half that pleased the coach as the reigning premiers continued their ruthless march to a minor premiership.
Second-placed Glen Innes Magpies stood up in defence to beat Uralla 44-6 at Woodville Oval, Uralla, Moree Boars won the Boar Battle at Goondiwindi’s Gilbert Oval with a 35-20 success over the Goondiwindi Boars and Tingha Tigers caused the upset of the round with their 38-14 win over Inverell Hawks at the Tingha Sports and Recreation Ground.
Tingha’s local derby victory even caught the Tiger faithful off guard.
“It surprised even us,” club stalwart Ivan Coleman said.
“But we played like that for 50 minutes last week against Goondiwindi – we just ran out of puff.
“The boys really stood up today.”
Hawks coach Peter Stevens was speechless.
“They out-enthused us,” Stevens said.
“You can’t take anything away from them.
“They were by far the better side.”
Captain-coach Guy Mepham was outstanding, prop Scott Fitzgerald also had an enormous game, playing 76 of the 80 minutes, and centre Cameron Toomey raced in three tries to snare all the major Group and club awards.
Tingha plays the Boomerangs this weekend and another performance like that might test the rampaging Boomerangs.
The premiers completed 12 out of 15 sets in the opening half of their big win at Armidale, according to coach Chris Binge.
“We completed really well and our defence was good,” Binge said.
“Our second halves have been a bit of a concern lately so that was a pleasing aspect of the win.”
Electric winger Jason Saunders picked up five tries for the game and fullback Dillon Walford once again tallied over 30 points with kicks and a few four-pointers as well.
Despite the backs taking the points and glory, Craig McKenzie, Toby Key and Mundarrah Weldon did the hard yards against the biggest pack in the group.
“McKenzie was scintillating,” Binge said.
“We really contested in the middle against those big Fijians.”
“We knew we had to contain them as well as Freddy (Waters) and Clarry (Moran).
“They didn’t make any ground on us at all.”
Rangs halves Rick Roberts and Jamie Sampson came to the fore in the later stages and once again steered the ship home.
Armidale president Terry Carson said the Rams were nowhere near where they should have been.
“We got pumped,” Carson said.
“We got stuck trying to play their style of football but we didn’t deserve that scoreline.”
Gary Quinlan was a clear stand-out, as was hooker Jamie Smith.
“We know we can push them though,” Carson said.
The Rams are the only side to have beaten the premiers this season which made the win just that much sweeter.
“They did put a little dint in our plans so it was good to get up,” Binge said.
“Everything we spoke about came together.”
The Rams scored first through Smith and the two sides exchanged tries for a brief period before the Rangs continued on with it.
“We really contested up front and our halves steered us in the right direction,” Binge said.
“We capitalised on our opportunities and finally put two good halves together.”