Collegians outclass Cougars, set up Butchers blockbuster

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Collegians will head into a heavyweight showdown with Thirroul this weekend in a rich vein of form after running in 11 tries in a 62-4 demolition of Corrimal on Saturday.

Meanwhile, De La Salle got the early bragging rights in the Shire, scoring four tries to one in their 20-6 win over Cronulla Caringbah Sharks.

With the Butchers and fellow title fancies Wests forced to put their feet up due to wet weather postponements, the Dogs scored in their first set with the footy and didn’t let up for the following 78 minutes.

Five-eighth Max Devlin was the pick of a host of standouts, scoring a try, laying on three others, and finishing with a personal tally of 22 points in a potent one-two halves punch with classy No. 7 Zeik Foster.

“Last year we gave him a few opportunities but we kept a handle on him and just wanted to give him a taste of it here and there,” coach Nathan Fien said.

“He’s definitely coming on and we need him to because he’s going to be there all year and he’s a big part of what we’re doing.

“I think his combination with Zeik is developing and at this point in time I couldn’t be happier with it.

“He’s definitely challenging the line which is pleasing and he’s just got time. Some players have it and he’s one of them.

“He’s creating space for the guys outside him which we saw there and that’s what we need him to do.”

Devlin’s outside men saw the benefits of that space on the left edge, with winger Sam McCann finishing with a hat-trick, while centre Ben Rumble had a double either side of halftime.

Left edge back-rower Liam Cassidy also had a brace as the reigning premiers piled on the pain through the second 40, a stark contrast to the opening stanza that saw the Cougars on the front foot but unable to turn pressure into points.

Centre James Goring crossed in the shadows of halftime to bring the margin back to a retrievable 20-4 at the break, but it was all the Dogs after the resumption.

“I really challenged them at halftime to go on with it and that’s what they did,” Fien said.

“We’ve got a good bunch of young guys in our team who are hungry and they kept the foot down and we played well. We did what we needed to do and we built on last week as well.

“You’ve got to back, show up and get the job done in this competition and that’s what we did. We’ve had some issues with Corrimal over the years and it was a different dynamic with no games beforehand and walking into the sheds it’s all quiet, but I could see the boys were on.

“We’ll enjoy the win for the work we were able to do get done, but we’re not getting ahead of ourselves. We’ve got Thirroul next week and bigger things to look forward to over the next seven days.”

Thirroul were set to host Wests in a mouth-watering clash of competition heavyweights, but the deluge that saw most sport in the Illawarra called off put paid to their meeting at Gibson Park.

The Butchers piled on 32 unanswered points to overhaul a 16-4 halftime deficit against Dapto last weekend, while the Devils did a 54-10 demolition job on Helensburgh.

Article by Mitch Jennings, courtesy Illawarra Mercury

Picture: Anna Warr

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