THE Junior Juggernaut is showing no signs of slowing.
Just six minutes into Saturday’s 71-7 victory over Dubbo Rhinos, Orange City’s try-scoring phenomenon Sione ‘Junior’ Lafau’ou showed his Pride Park fans exactly why he is regarded as the Blowes Clothing Cup’s sharpest attacking weapon.
Receiving the ball inside his own half, and with limited space to move, Lafau’ou unleashed a display of explosive speed, unreadable footwork and try-scoring nous to leave six opponents in his wake on his way to the afternoon’s opening try.
He secured his second in the 15th minute, swivelling and fending his way through the Rhinos defensive line from short range.
And when the hat-trick was completed in the 68th minute, Lafau’ou had crossed the line for his 11th try in only five appearances this season.
The Tongan winger’s performance was a standout in what was a one-sided match, with the Lions blowing the hapless Rhinos away in the early stages to secure first place on the premiership ladder.
By the time Lafau’ou crossed for his second try - in addition to a five-pointer to skipper Josh Tremain - City had raced to a commanding 19-0 lead.
The Rhinos managed to regain possession from the consequent restart, and sustained pressure and possession saw Kade Goodwin stroll over the line from close range.
The conversion brought the score back to 19-7, but from then on it was all the Lions.
Tries for the home side to John Colgan, Duncan Young, Dan Johnston and Ben Mills saw City go into the break with an unassailable 45-7 advantage.
The quality of play slipped markedly in the second stanza, with both Lafau’ou and his opposite number Joe Tawake given spells on the sidelines for infringements.
Rhinos lock forward Manbar Mann was also given an early shower when he was shown a yellow with only eight minutes on the clock.
Second-half tries to Chris Barrett, Mills and Johnston saw the scoreline blow out in City’s favour.
Orange City coach Steve Hamson thrilled with his side’s performance, especially in defence.
“Rhinos play an unpredictable brand of football, which is not always easy to defend against,” Hamson said.
“So to keep them to one try was a really great effort.
“We spoke about keeping our line in tact at half time, and they didn’t score anymore points. You can’t ask for more than that.”
Rhinos mentor Paul Hausia was understandably disappointed with the outcome, and made no excuses for his side.
“Ill discipline killed us,” he said.
“Orange City are a very good side, and when you give them the kind of ball and the kind of chances that we presented them with today, it’s only going to end one way.
ORANGE CITY LIONS 71 (Lafau’ou 3, Johnston 2, Mills 2, Tremain, Colgan, Young, Barrett tries, Lomoto 7, Lafau’ou 1 convs) def DUBBO RHINOS 7 (Goodwin try, Goodwin conv).