An early send off wasn’t enough to stop the Dubbo Kangaroos scoring a comfortable 52-26 victory against Bathurst CSU on Saturday.
The Students had the home ground advantage for the Blowes Clothing Cup match and less than 10 minutes in, they had the numerical advantage as well after Sione Lolohea was red carded for a dangerous tackle.
The Kangaroos had chosen to rest some of their players who were carrying niggling injuries, so they came into the match understrength, but still had enough class to cruise to victory.
In an positive sign for the future, a number of colts players played first grade and didn’t look out of place, Roos coach Dean Matthews said.
“It wasn’t too bad a win, all things considered. Some of our colts came in and played really well including Hamish Smith and Michael Bartimote,” Matthews said.
“At one stage in the second half we had five colts on the field at once and they did really well.
“Losing Sione wasn’t ideal, it meant we played 70-odd minutes with only 14 men but everyone stepped up and filled the gaps.”
Lolohea got the Roos on the board in the opening three minutes but went from hero to zero with his red card.
Both teams found the tryline soon after and at 14-7 the game looked like it hung in the balance but Billy Sing gave his team some breathing room with a quick double.
The Roos were able to take a 32-15 lead to half-time and were able extend that advantage in the second half, but Matthews said it was the work by Sing that made the difference.
“He’s as smooth as caramel Billy, and those two tries gave us breathing room that we really needed. He’s been a good find for us,” he said.
Along with Sing, Matt Zell, Sam Clements and Brad Pugh were among the best for Roos.
CSU coach Scott Hatch said it was the best attacking performance his team had managed all season and was pleased they stuck to the game plan.
“Our attack was brilliant. We were holding to ball for up to 15 to 20 phases,” he said.
“Against Rhinos, even though we won, we were usually struggling to hold the ball for even three phases. We just have to learn how to adapt our game against different teams.”
Matthews said next week’s match against Bathurst Bulldogs at No.1 Oval shaped as a big test.
“Along with Emus, they have been the top two all year and we’re going to have to lift to their level. But we had to concentrate on CSU first and now we can look at that game.”
Roos’ Eli Kinscher is in doubt for the Bulldogs match after getting hit in the nose against CSU.