AFTER their disappointing loss to Cowra last weekend, where the Tigers looked like a team with no energy, direction or passion for most of the game, there was a resolution in the camp to get things back on track against Lithgow Workies. However, it wasn’t until the second half that the Tigers started to click to win 34-6.
With dynamic hooker Luke Carpenter ruled out for the season with a crippling knee injury and both captain/coach Luke Branighan and Brenton Gibson still on the sidelines, Oberon had a reshuffled team to face the always dangerous Lithgow outfit.
The game was played in near gale force winds heavily favouring the team running towards the centre of town. The Tigers won the toss and elected to take advantage of running with the wind, hoping to gain a sizable half-time lead that a tiring Workies outfit wouldn’t be able to run down. To emphasis the strength of the breeze, at one point Lithgow kicked on the last tackle only to see the ball sail backwards over their heads, which meant that it was Oberon who gained metres from a Lithgow kick!
Despite being camped on Workies’ line for long periods in the early exchanges, the Tigers simply couldn’t convert the pressure into points. With props Micky Hawkings and Josh Starling charging in and bending the Lithgow line, and ferocious defence from second rower Tui Oloapu, it was Oberon’s poor ball control that continually let them down.
It took a Blake Fitzpatrick dart from dummy half to spark the Oberon attack. From the ensuing rucks, Josh Rivett was able to score out wide to put the Tigers on the board at the 20-minute mark. Goal kicking on the day, one from seven attempts from the Tigers, proved to be a nightmare.
The Tigers maintained pressure on Workies despite a woeful completion rate of 50 per cent of their sets. Two more tries to the Tigers before half-time to Tyler Hughes and Tui Oloapu saw the men in black and gold go to the sheds with a 12-0 lead.
Tui Oloapu caused all sorts of trouble for Lithgow early in the second half, crashing over to extend the Tigers’ lead to 16-0. Lithgow scored out wide and then posted a rare conversion to narrow the gap to 16-6. Blake Fitzpatrick latched onto a cross-field grubber kick from Ben McAlpine to take the score to 22-6.
The Tigers again silenced the Lithgow crowd after a quick passing movement sent Abel Lefaoseu over the line, followed by Trent Guihot, who scooted over to score his career-first premier league try. On full-time, Lefaoseu dragged defenders over the tryline in a 34-6 victory to Oberon. Players’ player award was shared by Jackson Brien and Abel Lefaoseu with 3 points going to Brien, 2 points to Lefaoseu and 1 point to Josh Starling.
This week the Tigers face the new look St Pat’s in another away game.