SKINNER THRILLED AT SOUTHCITY'S DETERMINATION
By Les Muir
SOUTHCITY captain-coach Nick Skinner was impressed again by the Bulls steely resolve after they trampled Kangaroos 46-22 at McDonald’s Park on Saturday.
With Kangaroos fighting to save their skin for the season, Southcity was under pressure at times but more than rose to the occasion.
Up only 20-16 at halftime, the Bulls scored five tries to one in the second half to ultimately storm away at the end.
For Roos, the loss was certainly the final straw for their finals hopes, while the victory only strengthened Southcity’s claims for their Group Nine title defence.
At a time when e very team is gunning for Southcity, Skinner is delighted with the way the team is responding to every challenge.
“We had to make sure we dug deep in that second half (today),” Skinner said.
“We did let them back in a couple of times and it felt that we were putting in the effort but a couple of ricochets or something else was letting them get back in it.
“There’s still plenty of improvement in us.”
Southcity always looked comfortable against Kangaroos, but could not give them the slip in the first half.
When Usaia O’Sullivan used his power to score the first of his three tries in the eighth minute, the Bulls would have felt relief as clearly Roos were up for the battle.
Minutes later the pressure was relieved again when Kyle McCarthy chipped across field for Steven Tracey to score a superb try – and Southcity were up 10-0.
Not to be denied, however, Roos kept coming and snatched three tries in 20 minutes to be just four points down at halftime.
Centre Lachie Cuell sizzled over in the 34th minute before a horrendous Bulls mistake gifted Kade MacDonald try 40 seconds from the break.
Rather than go through the motions in the second half, Southcity moved up a gear and put Roos to the sword.
Despite a glitch when Richie Gray crossed for the losers in the 64th minute, it was all one way traffic for the Bulls.
The tries came thick and fast, with McCarthy scoring one and orchestrating a couple more.
Likewise, Skinner was in his element and was clearly the dominant forward, but still got great support from Jordan Shepherd and Tim Hurst along others.
Skinner expects the last six weeks of the regular season to be dogfight for the 2016 champions. “Every team is going to be up to play for us,” he said.
“We have to lift to another level in a way.
“It sounds like I say it every week, but we’re building but we’re still probably a long way off where we want to be.”
The crunch could come for Southcity in a fortnight, according to the skipper.
“We’ve got the bye, then we’ve got Gundagai and we’ll have to be up for that,” Skinner said.
“The bye has probably come at a good time for us.
“We can refresh for Gundagai.”
The duel between the Tigers and Bulls could well be a grand final in July.
Southcity’s triumph was soured by a knee injury to winger Jesse Greenway, who appeared by the victim of suspect tackle.
Not for the first time, O’Sullivan was absolutely breathtaking and he is clearly the best back in the Riverina.
SOUTHCITY 46 (U O’Sullivan 3, S Tracey 2, J Dooley, T Besgrove, K McCarthy, B Lucas tries; P Manawatu 5 goals) d KANGAROOS 22 (L Cuell, K MacDonald, C Morris, R Gray tries; B Jeffery 3 goals) at McDonald’s Park. Scrums: 6-9. Penalties: 7-4