Report provided courtesy of the Pastoral Times
Deniliquin continued its great start to the Southern Inland Rugby Union (SIRU) season on Saturday, playing perfect wet weather rugby to defeat Leeton.
The Drovers beat the Phantoms 21-7 at Memorial Park’s No. 3 oval to make it five wins from eight games in SIRU’s second grade competition.
Deni coach Warwick Strong said Leeton never looked like winning.
‘‘We were expecting a wet day and we started really well,’’ Strong said.
‘‘We got away early and they never looked like beating us.
‘‘It was a good, important win for us because it was our last home game for three weeks.’’
Deni opened the scoring through loose forward Justin Barnett, who picked the ball up from the back of a ruck and dived over the line right under the post.
Hooker Bernard Schoeman scored next. The forwards set it up with some good pick-and-drive work, before Schoeman touched the ball down in the corner.
The Drovers’ third try of the first half came from halfback Zac Tamati, who scored off his own clever grubber kick, regathering the loose ball to score.
Young fullback Todd Thocolich kicked all three conversions, including one from right on the sideline in terrible conditions.
Deni led 21-0 at half time, but Leeton fought back in the second half.
‘‘The second half was a bit of an arm wrestle. They came back at us and it got harder as it got wetter,’’ Strong said.
Reed Jackson was awarded the three votes for best player afield, while T.A. Keremeta claimed two, and Schoeman and young winger Kiennan Jones shared one each.
Zac Tamati snared the Player’s Player accolade and Storm Tamati took home the Dingo Award.
‘‘Todd Thocolich was fantastic at fullback and Pete Gow and Robbie Fisicaro were good in the backs,’’ Strong said.
‘‘In the forwards, I though Scott Ison, Stu Kent and Storm Tamati were really impressive.’’
The SIRU has a general bye this weekend, with the Drovers on the road to play ladder-leader Ag College on June 15.