The Wellington Redbacks are sitting comfortably among GrainCorp Cup Northern Division’s benchmark teams after securing their third solid and consecutive win over the weekend.
The 17-6 victory over the Trangie Tigers is Wellington’s third from five games and has placed the club at equal third on the ladder alongside Coolah and one point behind Molong.
Wellington appear to have found their form as they put on an “unbelievable” defensive show against the Tigers, an attribute coach Snow Brien hopes the team can maintain as they head into the Round 6 match against Coolah.
The Redbacks took an effortless lead over the Tigers with a try to Noah Cox three minutes in. Brad McCarroll kicked the goal to take them up 7-nil to open the game.
Wellington lost structure and let Trangie back into the game through scrappy play and penalties within kicking range to which the Tigers capitalised on and trailed 6-7 at half time.
What the Redbacks lacked in go-forward come second half they made up in defence and stripped the Tigers of any opportunity to add to their scoreboard.
“Second half defence was unbelievable,” Brien said.
“We went times without a lot of ball; five metre scrums against us, there was 10 minutes there early in the half we defended our line, so our defence is something that’s really starting to impress us now.
“If you can stop them scoring tries you only have to score more points than them to win the game so the defence was really good, it was probably the best aspect of our game on Saturday.”
It wasn’t until half way through second half Wellington were able to take control of the game and through structured play picked up the ball off the back of the ruck and drove for 13 phases.
“It seemed to be the turning point of where we should be,” Brien said.
“We took a bit of charge, started bending their defensive line and opened up a few holes for us.
“We scored a run-away try through Henry Redfern off a little flick pass, there was no fullback and he ran the length of the field to score.”
This week the three points went to Zac McManus at breakaway who also earned the Chick’s Pick, two to Simon Baxter at prop who also earned Player’s Player, and one to Jake Newman at inside centre.
“Zac was all over the field, he was gaining some good metres and his work on the ground and on that ruck ball.. he’s pretty handy,” Brien said.
“Simon is just a work horse – he’s the last bloke to get up off the bottom of the ruck, is too happy to hit the ball up in attack, and is just a good all-round workhorse.
“Jake had a bit of a position switch and he didn’t let us down defensive wise. He hit the ball up hard and made some good metres for us.”
The current deadlock between Wellington and Coolah will be broken on Saturday as the two clubs clash at Bicentennial Park, Montefiores at 3.15pm. The round will double as the club’s annual Sponsor’s Day, with supporters and sponsors alike invited to attend in support of the club.
The event will continue on back at major sponsors, The Lion of Waterloo, following the game.
“Finishing in the top two is a bit of a goal for us, and turning the corner into the second round is going to be handy to get on top of those stronger teams and repeat the dose on them a bit, give them a taste of their own medicine,” Brien said.
“It’s a good chance to get on top of those teams we earmarked at the start of the season as being a bit of a threat in Geurie and Molong.”