Dominant was the only way to describe the Dubbo Kangaroos opening Blowes Clothing Cup home game of 2017.
The hosts piled on the points against a new-look Orange City Lions side to take a 33-5 lead into half-time.
They let the foot off the gas in the second period, scoring just two tries to Orange City’s one, but the damage had been done and Roos claimed the win 45-12.
City skipper Sam Coote admitted the game had been lost in the first half.
“We didn’t play well at all really,” Coote said, as coach Steve Hamson delivered some stern words.
“Our pre-season was rubbish and we’ve had a huge player turnover and … our club’s lacking depth but that’s to take away nothing from Dubbo who came out and really put a clinic on in that first half.
“We fought back in the second half which was some positive signs but really the game was over at half time.”
It was a scrappy affair in the opening minutes as the two sides tested each others’ defence. It wasn’t long before the Roos found a hole in Orange City’s line.
Dubbo spread the ball wide from the scrum with Brad Pugh wriggling his way through tackles and over the line to get the home side on the board in the opening 10 minutes.
It opened the flood gates.
The next try was delivered to the hosts by their skipper Shaun McHugh.
The rampaging No.6 busted through Orange City’s line before being dragged down less than 10 metres from the line. But the damage was done and Sam Clements pushed over in the next play.
Orange struck back in the dying minutes of the first half with an athletic effort from Jackson Coote reducing the half-time deficit.
“A lot better performance than last week which is pleasing and pleasing to get a first win for the season,” McHugh said.
“Our discipline still isn’t great – well it was better than last week so it’s improving.
“Our scrum and set pieces could be a hell of a lot better so we can tweak them, give our backs the ball, they’re pretty dangerous when they can get it so we’ve got to make sure they get a bit more of it I think.
“We weren’t talking in the second half, we got a bit flat and just thought ‘oh, the game’s in the bag’. We just sort of let our foot off the pedal a bit.
“But we’re going to get bteter the more games we play and fitter the more games we play so that will improve our second half but … to get that sort of lead first half and dominate a good City team, it’s always pleasing.”
“We easily could have lost by 80 if we’d put our heads down so there’s some positive signs of some attitude to move forward,” Coote said.
“In the second half, to only lose 12-7 after being down 33-5, it was a good fightback.
“It’s just the more time we spend as a unit, we’ll get better and our match fitness, everything was just below Dubbo today. They were just a far superior team.”
DUBBO KANGAROOS 45 (Johnny Mafiti 2, Brad Pugh, Sam Clements, Luke Ryan, Viliame Turuva, Billy Sing tries; Hamish Gordon 5 goals) def ORANGE CITY 12 (Jackson Coote, Sam Coote tries, Keegan Harding goal)