ARMIDALE had “one of those magic days” against Robb College on Saturday.
That was how co-coach Alan Jones described it after they thrashed the students 73-22 in their top-of-the table clash.
It was an ominous performance from the defending champions a few weeks out from the finals.
“It sends a message to the other sides that when we get our act together we will be very tough,” Jones said.
He was surprised by how big the margin was.
“We’ve been aiming for this sort of game for a while,” he said.
“We finally got our heads in the game for the whole game and played from minute one to 80.”
He said they really wanted to dominate this game.
“This was the one we targeted,” Jones said.
“We just put it all together.
“A lot of our systems we’ve been doing in training we put into place.”
Robb did keep coming, but were powerless to stop them.
“For all their willingness we were busting tackles and were able to put some moves together from set pieces,” he said.
He had pinpointed the breakdown as being a critical area heading in, but the Blues had the better of things there.
“We were surprised they were under committing at the ruck,” Jones said.
Usually they flood the breakdown.
The Blues’ defence was also very good.
“Our defence was coming up quickly off the line and smothering any ball they tried to get out wide,” Jones said.
Mike TeMoana was at his barnstorming best trampling over the Robb defence.
He scored four tries, for one of which he beat about eight Robb players.
The rest of the tries were shared around.
The outside backs were also big for the Blues. That was reflected in the points with John Roberts picking up the three points and Dan Ahsee the two.
Second rower Richard Cumming got the one.
Robb co-coach Jim Boland was at a bit of a loss to explain what happened.
“I didn’t see this coming at all,” Boland said.
“We won about the first three minutes and then they got a fairly easy try.
“The next five minutes we completely dominated them.”
To the point where they scored off a 25m driving maul off a lineout.
That made it 7-5 but was as close as they got to the Blues.
“It was missed tackle after missed tackle,” Boland said.
“When we ran it at them and took it on we made lots of ground through the forwards.”
But they just handed the ball over too easily, and were ineffective at slowing the Blues’ ball down.
Boland said the effort was there and was quick to mention skipper Tom Kent.
He’d picked up a couple of injuries the previous week and played about 70 minutes, during which he “ran through them time and time again”.
It was a close call between him and fullback David James as their best.
“Without him it would have been 100,” he said.
In the other game St Alberts beat Barbarians 45-25.
Albies came out firing laying on four tries in the first half.
Baa Baas came back at them early in the second but the students responded and kicked away again.
There was a lot for coach Tom Newsome to like about the performance.
“Our forwards played the house down and our outside backs converted,” Newsome said.
“A lot of the passes that have been going down all year are starting to stick.”