Men's early season woes continue, while taggers snag a draw

The Tigers men's first grade early season woes continued last Saturday going down to CSU 34-18, whilst our league tag ladies staged a second-half fight back to come from the clouds and salvage a 16 all draw.


It's too early in the season to hit the panic button, but coach Dallas Booth must be worried about his team's early season form slump. In the last two matches the Tigers looked nothing like last year's premiership winning outfit, despite the roster not changing that much, and in the process conceding more than 30 points in both games.

The Tiges started out well and with big Greg Behan leading the charge, dominated CSU in a powerhouse opening display. Livewire hooker, Caylib Marston, was having a field day cutting the students defence to shreds with his darting runs.

The relentless early pressure from the big men soon paid off as the Tigers kept the ball alive by standing in tackles and offloading which resulted in a Lochie Gilmore four pointer, converted by Jake Foley.

As often is the case when playing CSU, this is when they are at their most dangerous. In the blink of an eye they had lifted their intensity and replied with their own try out wide to take the early advantage away from the Tigers and trail by just six points to four.

Not long after, a bad defensive read by the Tigers on their try-line saw CSU get an overlap and hit the front 8-6, and from this point they never looked back. With their game based on a solid structure and simple game plan CSU took control.

The next blow to the Tigers came off the back of a CSU 40/20 kick, allowing the students to retain possession deep in Tiger territory. They immediately capitalised with another converted try to go to the half time break with a commanding 14-6 lead.

With the Tigers' already having front row work-horse Luke Christie-Johnston ruled out of the game through injury, their woes continued as their tear-away second rower, Ty Simmonds, was unable to return in the second half.

The talk at half time for the Tigers was still positive, and the message was that if they could eliminate the high number of errors that were gifting CSU territory and points, they would be able to fight their way back into the contest.

After Jacob Howes barged over early in the second stanza and the Tigers got to within a scoreline of 14-12, it seemed like the visitors were indeed back in the challenge.

However, once again CSU rallied and put on a tradesman-like performance playing with discipline and structure to post the next two tries to keep the Tigers at bay.

To their credit the Tigers did display fighting qualities and, on the back of another Marston break, Trent Guihot managed to wrestle his way over to somehow keep hopes alive as CSU's lead was whittled back to 22-18.

The home team, however, were in no mood to let the game out of the bag, rubbing salt into the Tigers' wounds with a late two-try flurry to post a 34-18 full time score.

Next week the men's side have a much-needed rest due to the fact that the Kandos men's side have withdrawn from the competition. The next outing for Booth's men is on the 15th May when they host Lithgow Bears. Hopefully by then they can find the answers that will see them return to last season's form.

League tag

The ladies league tag team had to scramble to meet the early 11:30am kick, because of the NRL game in Bathurst, with work commitments seeing a lot of the girls turning up just in time to throw on a pair of boots.

Contrasting this was the sight of nearly twenty CSU girls on the field, warming up and going through their drills, well before kick-off. It seemed to give the home team an early advantage, given that by the half time mark they had posted three tries, converting two to blow the Tigers out of the water with a 16-0 half time lead.

Georgie Rich was ruled out before the match, and without her defensive workload, the Tigers middle were called upon to blunt the speed game of CSU. Despite their best efforts, Lourie Bailey, playing full back was called upon in the first half on many occasions as Oberon's last line of defence.

Coach Shannon Foley collected her exhausted squad at half time and emphasised the need to return to their game plan, support each other and work their way back onto the contest.

Early in the second half, Katie Sutherland broke away on an eighty- metre run only to be chased down with the try line in sight. From the next set of broken play Lourie Bailey pounced to put the Tigers on the board, converting her own try to trail 16-6.

The Tigers visibly lifted from this point and it was Bailey again who crossed next with a converted try to have the Tigers edge closer with 16-12 scoreline.

With the girls on fire and the supporters buzzing, Renee Newstead supported another Bailey break only to be tagged in a last-ditch effort over the try-line. With a 'no try' verdict the Tigers remained camped on CSU's line poised to strike again.

In the final few minutes of the match Newstead again troubled the defence and managed to loop an overhead pass to Ella Brien in support who crossed out wide.

With scores locked at 16 all, Bailey lined up the difficult conversion to win the match and struck the ball beautifully, only for it to fall just short under the cross bar.

Next Saturday, 8th May, the League Tag team travel to take on Kandos. Both the men's and ladies will be back at home for round four on the 15th May which will also feature the Oberon Tigers Juniors team's playing beforehand. League Tag starts at 1:30pm with the Men's First Grade at 2:30pm.