THE Southern Stars rugby league representative side has bought back-to-back Country Tier II titles to the region after cantering to a 50-6 final win over North Coast at Tamworth on Saturday afternoon.
In a game where the Stars seldom looked under pressure, their forwards set a terrific platform and the backs did pretty much as they liked with half Jono Dallas and fullback Michael Lett getting their side around the field again.
Following the match six Stars players, Dallas, Lett, Bronx Goodwin, Damien Pauliisen, Aaron Henry and Yileen Gordon earned spots in the Country team to play Queensland Country in Rockhampton next month.
Joel Roberts opened the scoring early after a great pass from Goodwin, before North Coast had their only reason to celebrate when a great pass centre Beau White put winger Matt Miller over in the corner. White’s conversion gave his side a 6-4 lead.
White was causing the defence all sorts of problems, but his next piece of magic when he got around Goodwin and looked for Miller again, but Roberts anticipated well and grabbed an intercept and raced away.
When he was dragged down 10 metres from the line the ball as spread quickly and second-rower Keiran Rankmore crashed over near the posts for Goodwin to convert.
The next try was a well-worked backline movement that gave right winger Blake Judd room to move, before Roberts showed great strength to barge over from dummy-half to allow his side to go to half-time ahead 18-6.
Robert’s third try surprised everyone, including himself when Bronx Goodwin produced a brilliant tap-on down the blind side from a play-the-ball to see Roberts stroll over for his hat-trick for Goodwin to land a superb conversion and a 24-6 lead.
The writing was well-and-truly on the board for North Coast, with Nathan Ford in fine form around the ruck and the forwards, led by Warilla Gorillas team-mates Damien Paulissen, Aaron Henry and Keiran Rankmore charging up field.
It was another Gorilla, Tyson Brown, who added the next try before Goodwin scooped up a loose pass to sprint 70 metres, before Michael Lett added a double and Dallas put Henry over almost untouched to bring up the half-century.
It is probably unfair to single out any one player as his side’s best, but all six players who made the country team were standouts, while Nathan Ford, Joel Roberts, Pat Cronin and Rankmore were probably unlucky to miss out.