ST ALBERT’S College first XV stamped their dominance on the New England Rugby Union season with an impressive win over rivals Robb College at Bellevue Oval.
Albies forwards worked hard in the early stages of the match and the results showed with last year’s grand finalists leading at the break 17 points to nil.
After half-time, Albies showed no signs of slowing down with the backs piling on more points to eventually run out winners 43 to 7.
Coach Tom Newsome was impressed with his side’s performance and said it is a sign of things to come for the club.
“It is always a tough battle with Robb, the big derby and being parents weekend they were pretty fired up because their parents were in the stands watching in the crowd so it was a great day out,” he said.
“Most of our points were scored following multiple phases of play which is good and it was good entertaining footy.
“I am very happy across the board.
“It is a positive and it sets a platform for the year.
Newsome said while it was fantastic to get a big win first up, the club are still wary about getting ahead of themselves too early in the season.
“When you do well early in the year, it is the challenge to maintain that level of form and play and keep improving through the year.
“We have got plenty of improvement in us so it is a matter of harnessing that.
“We certainly have the opportunity to do well.
“The challenge is to keep our heads down and keep working hard and put a game together that can win when it matters at the end of the year.
“It is September when you need to be winning the big games so we will just keep working.”
Defending premiers Armidale Blues began their title defence with a convincing win over Glen Innes.
Coach Luke Stephen said it was great to get a win first up with a new-look side.
“Having 10 new faces from last year’s grand final side is a lot of unknowns in our side before we commenced the game but we were happy with the result, realising of course that it is round one and there is a long way to go in 2016 for us,” he said.
“I think in particular the experienced players led the way.
“We know that our first three rounds are very important to us.
“The grand final re-match this Saturday is critical.
“Fortunately we haven’t picked up any injuries so we will be able to select our best XV for the re-match with Albies at Moran Oval this Saturday.”
The match between last year’s grand finalists will kick-off at 3pm on Saturday.
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