Last week, Rams coach Kurt Hancock threw down the challenge to his Andrew Johns Cup outfit after a 24-4 round one win over Penrith when he labeled his side’s attack as clunky.
Western’s response was scintillating.
The defending under 16s country champions, Western tore Riverina to shreds at Forbes’ Spooner Oval, running in 10 tries in a 52-0 thrashing of the Bulls on Saturday.
Using a mix of big middle forwards, a deadly two-punch out of dummy-half and two of the more creative halves in the competition, Western fixed its attacking mishaps from a week ago to fire on all cylinders in round two of the championship.
“That’s what we’ve been working towards,” a thrilled Hancock said.
“There’s a lot of things put in place to showcase our strengths as a team and as individuals. It’s satisfying to see they’re taking it all in.”
In his first game back with Western, five-eighth Rylee Blackhall scored a double while halves partner Noah Griffiths crossed for a try in the rout, too.
The hooking duo of Josh Dominello and Elijah Colliss was polished with the ball as Hancock looks to inject both into the fray and urge them to run as often as possible – the former crossed for his second try of the tournament.
The Rams pack, led by the likes of props Harry Sullivan and Charlie Holman, was also instrumental in the win.
Naturally, though, almost everyone in a 50-point triumph shines to some degree but Hancock, of all the bright lights, was especially pleased with fullback-come-lock Jack Smith.
Hancock says the Red Bend product is bucking the modern-day trend of locks essentially playing as a third prop, and the Rams are benefiting big time.
“I kind of like how we’ve stumbled across that, Jack being at lock,” Hancock said.
“We’ve got a very good No.1 there (in Tyler Colley), but Jack’s going to be a real good player. He’s a 13 in our side.
“He’s scored a few tries backing up through the middle and he might have found his place.
“This guy’s got good feet, plays off the back of the nines, supports through the middle and has bit of a pass too. He’s going great.”
Next Saturday Western takes on the also unbeaten Illawarra South Coast Dragons in round three at Woollongong, a game Hancock says will be a good judge of where his side sits in the southern pool.
- WESTERN RAMS 52 (R Blackhall 2, A Nunn, C Monk, J Smith, E Colliss, T Colley, N Griffiths, J Dominello, J Hartwig tries; T Colley 3, N Griffiths 3 goals) def RIVERINA BULLS 0.