THE hardest job following the Oberon Tigers' slashing 36-10 win over Bathurst St Pat's was choosing Oberon's best and fairest player.
The Tigers made the trip to Bathurst desperate to put recent narrow losses to Hawks, CYMS and Mudgee behind them and secure two valuable competition points to stay in touch with the ladder leaders.
And from the onset when Jackson Brien, playing fullback, split the St Pat's defence wide open with his first touch of the ball it was obvious that the Oberon side was "on song".
Captain-coach Josh Starling followed up Brien's inspirational running with an early bone-crunching tackle on ex-Tigers favourite Mick Hawkins, now playing in the blue and white, to send a clear message to the big crowd at Jack Arrow Stadium that this was going to be the Tigers' day.
After just five minutes livewire halfback Matt Ranse had alarm bells ringing for the home team as he stepped his way past a number of defenders only to be pulled down just short of the line.
From the next play Starling barged over next to the uprights and Farren Lamb converted to have Oberon in front early 6-0.
With the Tigers clearly on top, Ranse hoisted a bomb high into the sun which was split by the St Pat's fullback.
Richie Peckham, playing in superb form, swooped to send the ball out wide to the flying Tye Siakisoni to extend the visitors' lead.
After a sideline conversion from Lamb the Tigers were in a commanding 12-0 lead.
From the 25th minute St Pat's were put under enormous pressure with Jake Dawe, Blake Fitzpatrick and the rest of the Tigers pack forcing no less than five goal-line restarts.
With the energy-sapping defensive effort taking its toll, big centre Abel Lefaoseu drove the final nail into St Pat's first half coffin when he surged over for the Tigers' third try. Lamb converted again and the Tigers went to the sheds ahead 18-0.
To their credit, St Pat's lifted their intensity in the second stanza and this time it was the home side who had Oberon camped on their own line early.
St Pat's five-eighth Garry Reilly took advantage of the momentum to open his team's account with a four-pointer under the posts and the conversion closed the gap to 18-6.
With more than half an hour still left on the clock it was Fitzpatrick, playing a huge role in the game, who got the Tigers' machine running smoothly again after stripping the ball from a St Pat's attacking raid.
With St Pat's playing with a lot more confidence, Peckham and Starling were thrown back in the contest after a well-deserved rest on the sideline. Their impact was felt immediately as Peckham produced his trademark hit and swivel from dummy half to crash over and extend the lead to 24-6.
With 20 minutes remaining Pat's failed to make the 10 metres from the restart and the Tigers punished the mistake when club stalwart Luke Christie Johnston, running a perfect line, sliced through to plant the ball down just left of the posts. Lamb converted to extend the lead to 30-6.
Pat's managed a late consolation to trail 30-10 but Oberon struck back in the final minutes.
Peckham, arguably the best on field, picked up a loose ball just out from his own tryline and sprinted 90 metres for his second try of the day. Lamb converted for an emphatic 36 to 10 victory.
Starling, celebrating his birthday, was very pleased with his side's effort.
"It was great to get one over Pat's," he said after the match.
This Sunday, Cowra Magpies travel to the Oberon.
League Tag starts at 10.30am and Premier League kicks off at 2.15pm.