Collies, Wests too classy for game rivals

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Collegians and Wests hold firm to the top two spots on the Mojo Homes Illawarra Cup ladder after seeing off spirited challenges from Helensburgh and De La Salle respectively on Saturday.

The Dogs notched a 30-4 win, though the Tigers gave the competition leaders all they could handle through the first 40 minutes.

It saw Collies holding a slender 10-4 lead at the break before some touches of class, and a second-half hat-trick from Ben Rumble, saw them home.

Nathan Fien’s side came into the contest on the back of a 46-16 rout of Wests that put the competition on notice.

It saw them heavily favoured but, in what was a long-awaited homecoming at Rex Jackson Oval, the Tigers scored first through Isaac Akuoko and only trailed 10-6 at the break on the back of a try to Kome Uili on the stroke of halftime.

Collies proved too classy, but the Burgh showed enough to suggest they will throw a spanner in the top-four works at some point this season.

“It took us a long to get this game under control and I thought, even in the second half, it could’ve gone either way,” Fien said.

“We started to get a few little inroads in and round the ruck late and it opened up for us but they’re a great team and they’re building.

“It’s great to have them back [in first grade] and they’ll get someone [in the top four] at some point in the year. I’m just glad it wasn’t us today.”

After a first-half arm wrestle it was all the Dogs in second stanza, with Jason Gillard snapping the Tigers resistance in the 54th minute and Rumble had a treble by the time it was done.

“They were definitely up for today and with us coming off that high with a big win over Wests into a week off, we probably just missed the jump a little bit,” Fien said.

“We spoke about it but it’s one of those things you can always talk about it. It’s always easier said than done and it’s a hard place to come and play footy.

“In the end we had a couple of key players step up, Boofa (Blake Phillips) was outstanding, Benny Rumble was great, Zeiky [Forster] was great.

“Those guys led the way for us and it was enough in the end to get the two points.”

Devils stretched by De La Salle

The Devils were also stretched in a 25-10 win over De La at Captain Cook Oval, the hosts leading 6-0 midway through the first half on the back of a try to Wyndham Peachey.

From there they conceded tries to Lachlan Hurst, Te Umuariki Heremia-Tukeri and Josh Sainsbury in the space of eight minutes to trail 18-6 at the break.

A 74th-minute field goal to Devils No. 1 Brad Scott was the first point of the second half, taking 13-point cushion and putting the match to bed before trading tries in the final three minutes.

With first-choice halves Justin Rodrigues and Callum Waldock missing, and key forwards Dylan Lauri and Zach Blay also absent, it was an impressive win for Devils ahead of a quick rematch with Thirroul next week.

Thirroul storm home over Cougars

Thirroul were also given all they could handle through 40 minutes at Ziems Park on Sunday, with a traditional Battle of the Beaches clash with Corrimal poised at 14-12 at halftime.

The Butchers scored first through Hayden Crosland before the Cougars fired back through Jiale Seninawanawa. moments after losing back-rower Tonga Tongotongo to the bin.

The Butchers steadied through Steve Marsters and Taarje Whitford, but lost skipper Damian Sironen to the bin for a late shot on Cougars half Harry Rudd.

Tukie Jackson scored via a charge-down on the stroke of halftime to draw back within two at the interval but it was all the Butchers from there.

Ryan Matthews and Wayne Bremner both finished with doubles as the Butchers stormed home with six unanswered tries in the second stanza for a 50-12 win.

Sharks grab first win

In the weekend’s other fixture Cronulla Caringbah overhauled a 22-12 halftime deficit to claim their first win of the season, running in four unanswered tries in the second 40 en route to a 32-22 victory over Dapto at Cronulla High.

Article: Mitch Jennings courtesy Illawarra Mercury

Picture: Anna Warr

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