Oberon record first win of season
Folding at the end of a winless 2007 season, Oberon’s cubs took the game by the scruff of the neck, turning an early 12-0 lead into a 24-4 half-time advantage, effectively ending any hope an injury-ravaged Hawks had of winning.
Hawks lost key figures in Group 10 skipper Todd Barrow (ribs) and then captain-coach James Wynne (bicep) early in the first half, but Wynne refused to use that as an excuse for his side’s first half.
But it didn’t get any better in the second.
Hawks were then forced to play with the bare 13 after prop Anthony Redfern (thigh) and back Kyle Byrnes (knee) both limped from the field.
The Tigers, to their credit, were good enough to take advantage.
Hawks fought back to within 14 points but the Tigers defended well, with Dallas Booth’s second for the afternoon sealing the result and ensuring the Tigers faithful finally got the chance to belt out the team song after their four-year hiatus.
A jubilant Wade Judd said it was time his side fulfilled their potential.
“Our big talk this week was getting rid of the tag ‘we’re a good young side’ and just get that win,” Judd said.
“It was really good to get the monkey off our backs, so to speak, and roll forward from here into Panthers next week.”
The win sees the Tigers leap-frog Hawks on the Group 10 ladder after this weekend’s action threw up some surprise results.
Bathurst Panthers defeated defending premiers Orange CYMS for the third straight time 32-16, Bathurst St Pat’s and Mudgee drew 18-all and Cowra pulled off an upset in beating Lithgow 26-22.
Judd said the Tigers would grow in confidence following their 18-point win.
“We’ve had a tough start to the year but if we can get three or four wins from the first round, come June, July in Oberon, there’s not going to be too many teams wanting to come out there to play. We’ll certainly test them at home,” he said.
And if they can jag a few more away wins like yesterday’s, the Tigers could play finals football in their first year back.
Young backrower Zac Maher was enormous on the edges for Oberon while centre Ricci Arriola was strong out wide.
Up front, Group 10 prop Beahan and Nathan Booth rolled the Tigers forward with great effect and young halves Blake Fitzpatrick and Blake Miller use their speed to threatened Hawks’ defensive line regularly.
For Hawks, Zac Bohan was again his side’s best up front while Jake Davis and Jared Brodrick were dangerous out wide.
Wynne cut a dejected figure after the match.
But he couldn’t have been prouder of the way the 13 men left standing dug in to stick with Oberon.
“We lost Toddy really early and then me as well. We were down to two on the bench and then we lost another two practically straight away. We were down to 13 blokes. I couldn’t be prouder of their effort,” Wynne said.
“Our main focal point this week was attitude and turning up and wanting to play for each other. To compete like that with virtually 13 blokes for a whole game, I couldn’t be happier.”
OBERON TIGERS 38 (Adam Powell 2, Dallas Booth 2, Zac Maher, Ricci Arriola, Justin Evans; Blake Fitzpatrick 5 goals) ORANGE HAWKS 20 (Mitch Hurford, Jared Brodrick, Chris Anau, Tim Trudgett tries; Brock McGarity 2 goals).