Last year's runners-up, the Manildra Rhinos, continued their unbeaten start in the Woodbridge Cup with style against the Canowindra Tigers, winning 40-10 at Tom Clyburn Oval.
The win cements the Rhinos among the early season frontrunners as they look to go one step further than last year's Grand Final loss to Trundle, while the Tigers are at 1-2 as they head into the Easter break, having played both of last year's grand finalists in the first three rounds of the season.
Despite a fast start from the hosts, with the Tigers at 10-0 by the 28th minute thanks to tries from Aidan Kennelly and Sia Nemani, the Rhinos absorbed the pressure, gradually working their way into the contest.
By half-time, the shoe was well and truly on the other foot, with scores to Rhinos' centres Mitch Hutchings (one try) and Jayden Fahy (two tries) ensuring that despite the dominating most sets before the long break, the Tigers would concede the lead, the Rhinos leading 18-10.
Clinical conversion work from Hutchings, who would go on to convert five from seven opportunities for the day plus a penalty goal, was also crucial to the change of fortune, with the game all one-way traffic once play resumed in the second half.
The Rhinos scored four tries to none, with skipper Simon Osborne, hooker Jake Mullins as well as bench players Jesse Astill and Luke Wilson getting in on the action, as greater fitness and lack of discipline from the Tigers allowed the Rhinos to run away to a 30-point win.
Trundle and Manildra are definitely the benchmark in the competition...Canowindra Tigers coach Dan Barclay
Tigers coach Dan Barclay, who himself donned a jersey on Sunday afternoon, emphasised that chemistry was still building with his group after a big amount of personnel change over during the off-season.
"Everyone put in 100 per cent effort, but it was a lot of individual efforts, and it's about coming together at training," Barclay said.
"We'll get there... Trundle and Manildra are definitely the benchmark in the competition, but we're a new side, we've lost a lot of players from last year so combinations and things are looking to work... We'll be there by the end of the year."
On the Rhinos' side of things, Osborne was pleased with how his team rebounded after a slow start, and are now 2-0 to start the season after a bye in the first round.
"We had a big chat at half-time about what we needed to do - and control the ruck - we did that, and that's how the scoreline ended up," the prop said, adding he also thought fitness played a part in the second half.
"We do a lot of that at training - working under fatigue - and I think that shows in the second half, with the scoreline."
He also acknowledged it was no secret as to where his team's ambitions lie, but also played down its significance after round three of the home and away season.
"Definitely in a grand final, [to] go one step further, but... it's early in the year."
Both teams have an Easter break, with the Tigers having another week off following, while the Rhinos will host Grenfell at Manildra Oval.
- CANOWINDRA TIGERS 10 (Tries: Aidan Kennelly, Sia Nemani, Conversion: Rob Burn) lost to MANILDRA RHINOS 40 (Tries: Jayden Fahy 2, Mitch Hutchings, Simon Osborne, Jake Mullins, Jesse Astill, Luke Wilson, Conversion: Mitch Hutchings 5, Penalty Goal: Mitch Hutchings)