A dominant forward pack and a classy backline has put the Uralla Tigers men’s side well into contention for the Group 19 second division title.
The Tigers hosted Warialda for round 13 on Saturday and overshadowed their opponents.
The Wombats were tipped as favourites for the trophy before a ball was kicked this season but they were no match for Uralla who came home to win 36-20.
“We just ended up rolling over the top of them in the forwards and then our quick guys out the back put the points on the board really,” captain-coach Josh Clark said.
“Kaleb Doran at hooker really led us around on the weekend, and same with Bryce Johnson. Those two fellas led us around the park and made it easier for Kearin Stiff and Jack Doran to get some plays in motion and get points on the board.”
The win puts the Tigers three points in front of the second-placed Wombats team but Uralla aren’t getting too far ahead of themselves.
“It is a good indication of how well we are going but at the same time the boys aren't really getting that cocky, they are just happy to play footy and get on the beers really,” Clark said.
“They are not too worried, they just like having fun with the boys.
“Winning obviously makes that easier but at the same time we have never really talked ourselves up of being any sort of world beaters or anything like that, it is just a week-to-week thing.”
Their next challenge comes in the form of their Tigers counterparts, Tenterfield, for this Sunday’s fixture.
“Obviously they [Tenterfield] are a team that likes to throw the ball around, they have a bit of speed and a bit of skill out wide but I think my centres are better than theirs,” Clark said.
“I think my centres are the two best centres in the comp by a long way. Mainly their defence, I don't think the Tenterfield centres can get around my centres.
“I think we will keep them to a pretty low score.
“I have no doubt my team is pretty well right in most aspects to them [Tenterfield] but they have a few quick players that can create stuff from nowhere and we just have to be aware of that and hold them out.”
Uralla will be without workhorse Duncan Elks against Tenterfield with the second-rower sent off against Warialda and consequently suspended.
“My forwards this weekend are really going to have to stand up to accommodate Duncan not being there.
“They are going to have to do a lot more work but we are going to try our best.”
Earlier this week, Clark’s Tenterfield counterpart Brendan Minns said “they [Uralla] are not overly flash but they are just consistent and we have just got to deal with that and hopefully penetrate their line with our speed and our pace and our flair.”
Clark said it was a fair assessment but keeping their game plan simple has been key to their dominance in the competition.
“That is something we have worked on all year, getting through our sets, completing and kicking.
“We have never tried to be fancy, I don't coach any of my boys to be fancy and I think that is why we are winning.
“Everyone is doing it for each other, they are not doing anything stupid, they are taking the ball to ground when needed and making those tackles.”
Tenterfield will also be wearing commemorative jerseys in honour of late long-time supporter Aub Gillespie.
The jerseys will be auctioned off at the conclusion of the men’s game at the ground and funds will go towards Tenterfield junior rugby league.