Western produced its best country championship outing in a decade to thump the Greater Southern Region Wests Tigers 60-12 on Saturday.
Orange CYMS winger Travis Adelerhof emerged as a NSW Country bolter with a stunning hat-trick while he also set up another four-pointer for his left-edge partner in crime Sam Simmons, the boy from Bourke bagging a treble as well in the Rams' 11-tries-to-two mauling of the toothless Tigers at Bathurst's Jack Arrow Oval.
Adelerhof has scored five tries in his two appearances for Western this under 23s campaign and his athleticism and blinding speed down the Rams' left edge has been a highlight of their country championship campaign in 2019.
Despite losing 62-20 in their opening round clash at Parkes last week, Western's relentless run against the Tigers very nearly netted the green and whites a spot in the under 23s semi-finals.
Western finished sixth in the new format, easily the Rams' best finish since divisional footy returned to the representative calendar in 2013.
They're on another level those two ... that combination and their speed was phenomenal.Ethan McKellar on Travis Adelerhof and Sam Simmons down Western's left edge.
Saturday's 60-12 victory is Western's first in that period and skipper Ethan McKellar says being able to show future Rams teams they can compete with other regions was a satisfying outcome.
"We knew we had it in us," McKellar said post game.
"There wasn't a lot said, it was just about going out and playing football and that's what we did.
"It's awesome, first win ever in under 23s, so to be part of that first win is awesome.
RAM-PAGE@WesternRams has thumped the GSR Wests Tigers at Bathurst, running in 11 tries in a simply stunning display of attacking footy.— Nick McGrath (@nickmcgrath4) March 16, 2019
Skipper Ethan McKellar says it's a great feeling to be able to show Western is capable of competing at this level #CRLU23spic.twitter.com/lbwGVY5KR6
"We stuck to the plan. Everyone did their job."
None more so than Adelerhof and Simmons, the latter waltzing over to open the scoring in just the fourth minute.
Adelerhof crossed for the next two tries of the match to help Western out to a 14-0 lead and when Forbes rake Hayden Bolam and Orange Hawks backrower Rakai Tuheke scored the Rams raced to a 26-0 lead at better than a point-a-minute.
The visitors did hit back through lively fullback Daniel Muir to bring the margin back to 20 points and given the howling wind the Tigers were running into that margin would have been kind.
But that wind played one horrible trick on the Tigers just after they scored those points, picking up a bomb from half Will Kerr and rocketing the ball downfield before Western halfback Jack Beasley pounced on the pill.
Western swung the ball right on the next play and Cowra gun Zac Browne finished the movement untouched in the corner, gifting the Rams a 32-6 lead at the break.
The Tigers were gone.
Simmons completed his hat-trick with a try in the 48th minute and a stunning 70 metre solo effort in the 72nd minute, which followed tries from Jed Betts, Mitch Burke and another from Adelerhof as the Rams ran riot in the 48-point triumph.
Forbes recruit Bailey Hartwig showed he'll be a handy pick-up for the defending Group 11 premiers, as well, playing in the centres, backrow and in the halves during the championship.
He also slotted eight from 11 in nigh-on impossible goal-kicking conditions.
Despite the skipper lauding Western's team effort in the lopsided victory, McKellar reserved special mention for his left-side attack.
"They're on another level those two," he said of Adelerhof and Simmons.
"That combination and their speed was phenomenal."
- WESTERN RAMS 60 (Sam Simmons 3, Travis Adelerhof 3, Zac Browne, Mitch Burke, Hayden Bolam, Rakai Tuheke, Jed Betts tries; Bailey Hartwig 8 goals) def GSR WESTS TIGERS 12 (D Muir, I El-Omar tries; J Simpson 2 goals)