WESTERN Division under 16s coach Kurt Hancock wanted his players to show pride in the Rams jersey on Saturday and that is exactly what he got.
His side showed their mettle in defence and class in attack to down the Federation of Italia Rugby League Australia under 16s to the tune of 44-4 at Carrington Park.
“We had a bit of a slow start to our training session the other night, so we spoke about it being rep footy, we are putting that Western Rams jersey on. We have really worked heavily on that this year, instilling pride back in the jersey,” Hancock said.
“The new guys that came in for this really got on board with that.”
As the Rams laid the platform for a commanding win in the first half by putting on 22 points, they also held up a FIRLA player in goal on three occasions.
To Hancock, keeping a clean sheet in those opening 30 minutes was impressive.
“That effort in defence shows they’ve got a bit of pride in their jersey and a bit of pride in each other and their individual performances,” he said.
“Although they made it hard for themselves at times, I thought their effort in defence was great, especially in the first half. That first 10-12 minutes really set us up.”
Those early minutes saw the Azzuri applying plenty of pressure, but the Rams held props Sebastian Valenzano and Nathan Lorenti up over the line with determined defence.
In the ninth minute that pressure was relieved as after a strong run from Blayney’s Dylan Marmion, Bathurst Panthers centre Mackenzie Atkins scored.
Three more tries came before the break, Kyle Hartley crossing with a nice chip and chase play, Iszac Bell taking an intercept to run away and score, while Jackson Bayliss dragged multiple defenders over the line.
Five minutes after play resumed Marmion crossed, muscling his way over after making a 30-metre dash earlier in the set.
Though FIRLA finally got on the board in the 39th minute, Marmion scored again to make it 38-4.
The win was sealed with just over four minutes left when Pat Halsey ran straight over the top of a rival.
WESTERN RAMS 44 (Dylan Marmion 2, Kyle Hartley, Mackenzie Atkins, Iszac Bell, Jackson Bayliss, Pat Halsey tries; Noah Ryan 6 goals) defeated FEDERATION OF ITALIA RUGBY LEAGUE AUSTRALIA 4 (Alex Kuschert try)