WESTERN Rams under 16s qualified for next weekend’s CRL Regional Championships final thanks to two big wins in their preliminary games.
Orange’s Jack Bastick starred for the Rams in wins over Central Coast on Saturday and Southern Redbacks in Sunday’s semi-final, in Wollongong.
Despite Central Coast opening the scoring, Western romped home on Saturday, winning 44-4 thanks to a quartet of tries to Forbes star Matthew Woolnough.
After taking a 14-4 lead into half-time, Western piled on 30 unanswered points in the second half to qualify for Sunday’s semi-finals.
Western ran away with the game, finishing 40-0 winners, thanks to a man of the match performance from Parkes’ Jesse Parker.
Parker opened the scoring for Western in the 13th minute but failed to convert, before Narromine’s Isaac Thompson extended the lead to 8-nil 30 seconds later.
Parker converted before sending Wellington’s Graham Peckham over, and adding the extras giving Western a 16-nil lead.
Unrelenting Rams’ pressure in the final 10 minutes of the opening half eventually gave Forbes Magpie Mitchell Andrews his first try, and Parker’s conversion made it 22-nil at the break.
Tries to Lithgow’s Nick Miller and Oberon’s Jayden Fagg, and a Thompson conversion gave Western a 32-point buffer with 12 minutes remaining.
Parker grabbed his double, before front rower Caleb Wardman, from Nyngan, scored in the shadow of full-time to put one last nail in Southern’s coffin.
The under 16 Rams take on Greater Northern Tigers at Tamworth’s Scully Park as a pre-cursor to the senior championship finals next weekend.
The Rams under 18s, led by Orange Hawks’ Tony Pellow, Deryne McKenzie, Max Wolfson and Jedd Kennedy, suffered back-to-back defeats over the weekend.
Western led Central Coast 16-6 after two thirds of Saturday’s campaign opener, but conceded three converted tries in the final 15 minutes to let the game slip away, going down 24-16.
The Rams improved on Sunday, going down by two points to Southern.
Both teams scored three tries, but in windy conditions the only conversion of the match gave Southern a 14-12 victory.