Blues big win over Lions an echo of their glory days

NARRABRI Blues might have produced one of their best wins over West Lions in half a century at Collins Park on Sunday.

North Tamworth pivot Kieran Fisher spirals the Baers onto the attack against Oxley Diggers. Photo:   020814GGD02

North Tamworth pivot Kieran Fisher spirals the Baers onto the attack against Oxley Diggers. Photo: 020814GGD02

The Blues came back from a 22-10 deficit a few minutes before half time to mow down the Lions 50-22 in a morale boosting win for a team so decimated with injuries.

While Jake Rumsby’s season might have ended when he popped his shoulder again in the second half, the Blues welcomed back Brandon Tago and the former Rooster Under 20 spearheaded the Blues to a win rivaling some of the best in the club’s long history.

Former player, official and longtime supporter Trevor Druce watched the Blues ring up their 28-point win and reckoned it was one of the club’s biggest and best over the Lions (formerly West Tamworth Robins).

“Talking to a few of the old blokes they thought it might have been one of the biggest we’ve had over West,” Druce told The Leader.

 “We haven’t had too many big wins over West, we beat them 32-9 way back in 1970 under Robin Gourlay in a grand final out here but that was about all we could remember.”

In fact Narrabri beat West Tamworth 8-7 in the 1971 grand final as well and then 28-5 again in the 1976 Group 4 grand final.

They were heady days for the Blues and coach John Rumsby is hoping the club can regain those glory days with a talented bunch of young players.

After skipper Lachlan Cameron scored beside the posts to take the side to halftime down 22-16 on Sunday, the Blues ran riot in the second half.

It helped when Chris Hunt went off too,” Druce said of the West Lions captain-coach.

“They were in a bit of disarray after that, but the boys did play well.”

Rumsby was delighted.

“We didn’t finish well in the first half,” he said from the local hospital Saturday night where his son, Jake, was having his shoulder put back in.

“We gave them back a lot of ball but played a lot better the second half.

“It’s going to be interesting to see where we are when we play Gunnedah next week.”

The Blues play a Gunnedah Bulldogs side that had a 52-14 win over a Wee Waa side it led just 12-6 at halftime at Captain Cook Oval, Wee Waa.

It was a win Gunnedah coach Shane Rampling was also delighted with.

While teenager Matt Hassan won the club’s players player award halfback Matt Brady had an outstanding game, especially with the boot.

“He turned them around all day, had a couple of 40/20’s too,” Rampling said.

“Martin Day, our mad Pommie, had a big game too. He scored three tries in reserve grade and then two in first grade. He put them off their game. They tried to belt him but he and the forwards were able to give our backs plenty of space.

“Mark Sankey had his second game for us and came off the bench to have a good game too.

“But we were good across the board. We’ve got Narrabri at Narrabri this week. Going to be tough out there.”

While Narrabri and Gunnedah match up on Sunday North Tamworth will host wee Waa on Saturday and Oxley Diggers might also play west Lions at Scully Park on saturday as well, said Group 4 secretary Mick Schmiedel.

Schmiedel, also president of the Oxley Diggers, has to contact west and seek a Saturday game.

He was also relieved to advise that injured Digger, Jason Wheeler, has been released from Tamworth Base Hospital after suffering a neck injury against North Tamworth on Saturday afternoon.

“He’s okay, turned out to be muscle damage but they kept him overnight,” Schmiedel said.

“That’s good – but it was a bit scary there for a while.”