Deniliquin’s barnstorming start to the Southern Inland Rugby Union (SIRU) season continued on
The Drovers beat Charles Sturt University (CSU) 31-14 at Memorial Park number three oval to make
it three wins from three games in the SIRU’s second grade competition.
Deni coach Warwick Strong was proud of his side’s efforts, but said the team must learn to play out
a full game if it wants to trouble the competition’s top clubs.
“I think we just turned up expecting that we’d score tries early on,” Strong said.
“We didn’t quite fire in the first half, but we played really well in the second.
“CSU definitely turned up to play and we realised that from the kick off. We really need to learn to
switch on straight away and play out the full match if we want to go far in this comp.”
The Reddies really took it to the locals early in the match. The visiting forwards were equally as
powerful in both scrums and rucks, while the backs were finding plenty of space. This culminated in
a converted try to CSU.
The Drovers were quick to respond, however, with a converted try of their own through prop
Nathan Transton. This locked the score 7-all at the break.
The second half was dominated by the home side. Transton crossed again for Deniliquin in an
inspiring display of ‘crash and bash’ rugby, as did utility forward Bernard Schoeman.
Deni’s other try went to flanker Reed Jackson who pounced on a clever box kick from halfback Zac
Tamati - much to the delight of the home crowd.
Drovers skipper Jack Ellice-Flint booted three conversions, while winger Todd Thocolich chipped in
“When you consider that we have a fair few travelling players and the side doesn’t really train
together, they go pretty well,” Strong said.
“The most pleasing thing for me is the fact that what we’ve been training on is really starting to pay
“Our tackling has improved a great deal. If every player could just make those first-up tackles, then
anything is possible.”
Tamati was awarded the three votes as best player afield, Transton claimed two, while utility
forward Les Dicker and Ellice-Flint shared one apiece. Transton also snared the Player’s Player
accolade and young second-rower Chris Poka took home the Dingo Award.
“T.A. (Te Aroha Keremeta) played very well and Bernard (Schoeman) was his consistent best,” Strong
“I was also pleased with Stu Kent and Sam Tuliau on the wing.
“Everyone played well I thought.”
The Drovers hit the road this Saturday to take on powerhouse Wagga Waratahs. More details will be
in Friday’s Pastoral Times.