Devils bounce back against Butchers

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A week after copping a hefty reality check, Wests dished out one of their own with a 24-10 win over Thirroul in their Mojo Homes Illawarra Cup clash at Dapto Showground on Saturday.

The Devils ran in four tries to two but were in far greater command of the contest than the final score line indicated, with the Butchers missing the jump and never really grabbing the momentum.

Hooker Joseph Dickson finished off a brilliant team try three minutes before the break, while Callum Waldock and Jordan McGrath crossed for back to back four pointers in the 17 minutes that followed to give the Devils a commanding 24-4 lead.

The Butchers managed a consolation try to young winger Liam Morath with 13 minutes left, but otherwise never really looked like crossing in a second stanza that saw them out-gunned and out-enthused.

Winning attitude

With both sides down on some star-power, the match didn’t reach any great heights, but the Devils ticked important attitude boxes for coach Pete McLeod after a dismal 30-point loss to Collegians seven days earlier.

“The game itself never reached any great heights, there was a lot of errors in it, but the guys’ effort was really good,” McLeod said.

“We sat in the sheds after the game [last week] and the boys would have rather gone out and played straight away.

“We really let ourselves down in a lot of effort areas and the guys were really motivated to get out there and play 80 minutes [this week] because they definitely didn’t do that last weekend.

“Full credit to Collies, they were really good, but our effort was there today and that’s why we got the result. It was good to put an 80-minute performance in and, although the game didn’t reach any great heights, it was good to get the win.

“I thought [Grant] Millington was outstanding, [Nathan] Leatigaga was good, we had a kid debut on the wing in Te [Heremia-Tukare], who didn’t miss a beat.

“I thought Cal Waldock led the side around really well. He’s done that for Wests since he was 10 years old. J-Rod’s (Justin Rodrigues) done it for him over the last little while, but he really stood up today and I was really proud of him.”

Pascoe takes chargeĀ 

The game was barely 90 seconds old when Levi Pascoe opened the scoring, charging onto a short ball from Waldock and carrying several defenders across on a 20-metre charge to the line.

Luke Dodge produced the Butchers hit-back from close range in the 21st minute, with Steve Marsters’ attempt at the extras waved away leaving the score at 6-4 as halftime loomed.

Dickson beat the buzzer with his try, following a break from Millington and offload from Leatigaga, for a 12-4 halftime cushion.

Waldock again put Pascoe into the clear just four minutes into the second stanza, this time following up in support to score under the posts,

When McGrath snuck across from the dummy-half 14 minutes later the Devils were as good as home.

Heavyweight showdown

With halfback Rodrigues and forwards leader Dylan Lauri both missing through injury, it was a valuable two points heading into another heavyweight showdown with second-placed De La Salle in the the Shire this coming weekend.

The league newcomers are 4-1 on the season and no doubt desperate to claim the first major scalp of their maiden campaign having fallen short against Thirroul three weeks ago.

“We want to play against the best, that’s why we play in this competition,” McLeod said.

“De La Salle have been going really well. I really don’t know a whole heap about them, but we’ll get on a bus next week, head up there and if we turn up with the effort we did today we’ll go OK.”

The Butchers were also without some key men in utility weapon Hayden Crosland and prop Monty Raper, while Mitch Francis’ absence saw regular rake Ryan Fletcher deployed at five-eighth.

Butchers injury concerns

Coach Jarrod Costello has some further headaches after key forwards Harry Leddy (broken hand) and Ammon Munro (knee) couldn’t see out the match.

The Butchers had come into the weekend as the only team without a loss but Costello said his side was its own worst enemy.

“Our completion rate was nowhere near where it needed to be, we made yardage errors and walked Wests out of their half with ill-discipline, everything we didn’t want to do we did unfortunately.” Costello said.

“We weren’t getting carried away with ourselves, we knew we hadn’t had a real test on a dry track. We were pretty open and honest about that so I wouldn’t call it a reality check, but it’s disappointing, we wanted to perform better.

“We’ll look at video and work out where we need to be better, although that’s pretty clear. We’ve got to try and stick with one set of halves, that was our fifth game, our third set of halves.

“We lost Harry with a broken hand first tackle, we lost Ammon Munro as well so we’ve just got to regroup. We get Monty and Croso back, they were just away this weekend, and hopefully we get Caleb Hocking back next week.

“There’s no week’s off, it’s a hard comp, we’ve just got to dust ourselves off and go again.”

Tigers roar

In the second leg of a double-header at Dapto Showground, Helensburgh notched their second win of the season 32-10 over Dapto on the back of doubles to skipper Jordan Bowles and prop Taulima Tautai.

The former Sharks and Eels wrecking ball had two tries in the first half as the Tigers led 22-0 at halftime. They led 26-0 following Bowles’ second 12 minutes into the second half before Dapto hit back through Harry Chater.

Tom Phillips followed up to bring the Canaries back within three converted tries, but it was as close as they got, with Adam Batty producing an acrobatic finish for his side’s sixth try on the bell.

Article: Mitch Jennings courtesy of Illawarra Mercury. Picture: Adam McLean

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