ORANGE Hawks continued its winning ways on Sunday in Oberon with a gritty 16-8 Group 10 premier league win over the Tigers.
Despite an 11th hour reshuffle, the two blues secured their fifth consecutive victory, having lost Deryne McKenzie and Max Wolfson when they were stood down as part of the CRL’s investigation into last Thursday’s Astley Cup rugby league brawl.
In conditions Hawks’ stand-in coach Sandon Gibbs-O’Neill labelled “disgusting”, the two blues’ diminutive forward pack - including McKenzie and Wolfson’s replacements Nathan Potts and Kian Shead - dominated their much bigger opponents.
Gibbs-O’Neill called the clash “a classic wet weather game”, and said despite a comedy of errors his team’s performance was impressive.
“It was all through the middle,” he said.
“It was all about the forwards and even though ours were much smaller they got the job done. The boys played out of their skin, and it was great to see big Arty (Shead) get to play his first game with his son too.
“We had to reshuffle pretty late, but that’s part of footy. Hopefully the boys aren’t kept out for too long.”
Hawks’ centre Jared Brodrick scored the only points of the first half, scoring in a snow covered in goal midway through the first period.
Halfback Brock McGarity couldn’t add the extras to leave the score at 4-nil at the break.
A Rhys Finlay brace in the early stages of the second period gave Oberon an 8-4 lead before Travis Bubb sparked a Hawks comeback.
The lock forward crossed to even the scores, and the visitors took the lead with McGarity’s conversion before Joe Lasagavibau scored in the final stages to secure victory.
“We completed pretty well considering the conditions, and defended incredibly,” Gibbs-O’Neill said.
“Everyone just had a blinder. We knew it would be tough coming out here, and knew it would be cold so we had to adapt to the conditions which we did well.
“We just defended, defended and defended against a big pack, and took our chances when we got them towards the end. It was a great result, and the best possible preparation for Cowra next weekend.
“It was a tough game, and a tough win.”
ORANGE HAWKS 16 (Jared Brodrick, Travis Bubb, Joe Lasagavibau tries; Brock McGarity 2 goals) def OBERON TIGERS 8 (Rhys Finlay 2 tries).