ON a cold and forbidding Saturday, the Tigers were on the road to Orange to take on the Warriors, aiming to protect their undefeated record in both the men's and women's competitions.
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That mission was accomplished as the league tag side earned a hard fought 20-12 victory and the men's opens triumphed 50-14.
IN a brutal contest, the Warriors blasted out of the blocks, sending a clear message that their intent was to come at the table-topping Tigers with a highly aggressive and abrasive style of play.
There's no doubt that the Tigers boast a big pack of forwards, but the Warriors outfit were simply enormous and they used their size and tactics to try to unsettle the visitors.
Thankfully, the experienced Oberon forward leader, Luke Christie-Johnston, managed to keep his team focused on playing football, and they settled down to absorb the early punishment.
It took the best part of 15 minutes before the Tigers could launch their first serious attacking play, resulting in a Ty Simmonds bust down a short blindside, attracting a swarm of defenders before he deftly off-loaded inside to Zane Rowlandson, who was able to get the ball down for the first four-pointer.
Unfortunately, Simmonds dislocated his knee as he was bundled into touch, resulting in a stoppage of play for 25 minutes until the ambulance could attend.
The break in play suited the bigger Warriors players and when play resumed, they managed to take advantage of an Oberon error and post a try to lock the scores at 4-all.
With Charlie Bailey, Nathan Booth and Christie-Johnston taking on the Warriors big men, the Tigers fought their way back into the home side's territory. As he's done all year, Caylib Marston caught the defence napping to dart away on a 25-metre scoot to score.
As Oberon poked their nose in front with a 10-4 lead, they quickly found their groove with Blake Fitzpatrick sparking the attack and Josh Rivett finding plenty of metres with his kick-returns.
With the Tigers full of running, Dave Sellers and Jacob Howes were next to score, while Rivett had his kicking radar working to take the Tigers to the break with a 22-4 lead.
The second half saw Bailey continue to chop down the big Warriors with textbook leg tackling and Rivett keep finding space with his running game.
The Warriors launched a mini comeback to edge closer at 22-14 through two tries, but the Tigers were soon back on top as Sellers found his old mate, Christie-Johnston, with a short pass to crash through and score under the posts. Rivett converted and the Tigers were steady at 28-14.
With 15 minutes remaining, the Tigers really opened their shoulders. Daniel Rodgers, Marston and Bailey all crossed for tries as the Tigers increased the tempo.
The last two tries were gems. Howes scored off the kick-off in a 65-metre bullocking run, and Ryan Thompson emphatically put a full stop to the game as he stripped the ball from the Warriors fullback to score as the full-time siren sounded to clock up a 50-14 victory.
LADIES' LEAGUE TAG
SHANNON Foley's girls continued to shine with a gritty 20-12 victory over the hosts.
The Warriors were first on the scoreboard with an early try to lead 6-0, but Bec Fletcher cut that down to 6-4 straight away as she continued her try-scoring form. The Tigers' Katie Sutherland, in a best-on-field performance, scored next to put the visitors in front for the first time with Foley's conversion putting the Tigers ahead 10-6.
The Tigers' defence was a feature of their game with plenty of talk and encouragement among the team which was clearly audible to the loyal supporters braving the cold conditions.
With the Tigers making a number of clean breaks and seeming to take control of the game, the brave Warriors regrouped and managed to score against the run of play to retake the lead 12-10 just before the half-time break.
The fitness and teamwork of the Tigers paid off in the second half and, despite greasy conditions, they managed to string passes together, resulting in the speedy Brook Webb crossing in the corner, only to be denied by the officials.
With the Tigers now on a roll, prolific try-scorer Lourie Bailey sliced through a narrow gap with a neat swerve to regain the lead for the visitors at 14-12 as both teams headed for a final drinks break. The Tigers were clearly determined to finish strongly in the final quarter - and they did. Ella Brien injected herself into the attack, running off Bailey and Renee Newstead, with the Warriors scrambling to stop her raids.
Players' player, Katie Sutherland, iced the win with a scorching diagonal run that changed the direction of the attack, posting the ball near the uprights for Bailey to convert for a 20-12 victory.
This Saturday, Oberon host last year's premiers, Bathurst CSU, in a heavyweight contest. League tag will start at 1.30pm and the Tigers will be dedicating the round to suicide prevention.
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