Group 10 have set up a local derby clash with defending Country Rugby League Tier 2 champions Group 11 next week after the Dave Elvy-coached side defeated Castlereagh League Cougars 48-18 at Gilgandra on Saturday.
Orange Hawks and NSW Country Seconds representative Todd Barrow, and Oberon’s Zac Maher crossed the try line twice in the match as Group 10 led for the entire match.
Although Elvy was pleased with the 30-point victory, he said there was plenty of work to do before next week’s Group 11 match at Bathurst.
“We can still play better next week,” the former NRL player said.
“You can’t expect a group of blokes who haven’t played with each other before to be spot-on straight away.
“Our completion rate wasn’t great, it was about 60 per cent. You need to be up to 80, 85 per cent.
“Most of our drop ball was in their 20; I think we tried to score too often.
“We need to improve.”
Castlereagh coach Tony Wilson was impressed with his team determination.
“I wanted the boys not to give up, never say die, and they didn’t,” Wilson said.
“I was really proud of their effort, we were in the mixed with them.
“If you look at the whole scheme of things, they are two totally different comps. But my blokes can hold their heads up high.”
The scoreline indicates Group 10 were never troubled throughout the match as they took a 28-12 lead into the sheds at half-time.
But the Cougars came out with their claws sharpened and matched it with their much-fancied opponents in the second half.
Elvy said he made a few changes at half-time to “give everybody a run” but Castlereagh found easy metres up the middle.
The Group 10 mentor said Maher and Mudgee Dragons’ Chris Ward played well. Ward was moved to centre at the start of the match after Bathurst Panthers’ Christian Luyks was a late withdrawal.
“Chris Ward played very well. I might keep him there next week,” Elvy said.
“Luyks deserves to be there somewhere, even if it is on the bench.”
Wilson said his two front rowers Anthony Kelly and Adam Hazelton were hard to stop up front, centre Kieren Hazelton was another standout while the two halves, Dunedoo’s Tom Besgrove and Warren’s Thomas Wilson, directed the team well around the paddock.
Group 10 will play Group 11 at Bathurst’s Carrington Park on Saturday, May 19 at 2pm.
GROUP TEN 48 (Todd Barrow 2, Zac Maher 2, Jarrod Broderick, Claude Gordon, Matt Kirkland, Chris Ward, Matt Mizzi tries; Barrow 4, Jono Van Veen 2 goals) def CASTLEREAGH LEAGUE 18 (Kieren Hazleton, Blaire Hooper, Tom Besgrove tries; Anthony Fuller 3 goals).