Helensburgh Tigers sound warning with huge victory
Helensburgh sounded an ominous warning to their Coal League rivals with a 78-4 thrashing of Aquinas in the opening round of the Illawarra Challenge Cup on Saturday.
The Tigers led 24-0 after just 20 minutes and added another 22 points in the second quarter to lead 46-0 at half-time.
They didn't let up after the break, posting a further 32 points and conceding just one try in the third quarter.
The result an equally impressive victory over Woden Valley the previous week in which they ran in 10 tries and coach Ryan Powell couldn't fault his side's effort so close to start of the season proper.
"We were pretty sharp and executed pretty well," Powell said.
"We really stuck to what we wanted to do and did most things right which is good considering it was only our second game for the year."
The performance showed the benefits of keeping close to an unchanged roster from the side that made last year's grand final.
"I knew it was going to be a pretty similar roster which just allows you to have a little bit longer off and come back a bit more refreshed and not be sick of each other by the time March comes around," Powell continued.
"All the old players have pretty much picked up where they left off and I couldn't be happier right through the group with how they're travelling and where their attitude is."
The Tigers star back three were in the thick of the action with fullback Jason Raper scoring four tries and wing pair Azan Turoa and Wayne Bremner both bagging doubles in the rout. With halves Eamon Hillen and Jarrod Boyle both returning, it leaves only the holes left in the centres by Stewart Mills (Wests) and Jordan Tencate (Corrimal) to fill in the backline.
"Losing Millsy's a big one we just couldn't get in bidding war with Wests but I think we've covered him," Powell said.
"James Newman didn't play last year due to injury and some other things but he's been here for a long time and Simon Maslanka was with me at Shellharbour.
"He felt he still had a bit to offer the Illawarra League so he's joined us as well.
"I'm pretty happy with who we've got there."
In the first leg of the double-header at Rex Jackson Oval, Corrimal claimed a gutsy 14-10 golden point victory over Gymea. Back-rower Brodie Rigg was the standout for the Cougars scoring two tries.
This article originally appeared in the Illawarra Mercury on 22/3/2015