FOR a moment at Pride Park on Saturday, Dubbo Roos looked like their Blowes Clothing Cup premiership defence was mounting an almost irresistible charge.
Up 10-7 over the current competition leaders Orange City, a Filisione Pauta-inspired Dubbo outfit had ‘we’re back’ written all over it.
But, it was only for a moment.
The Lions flexed their considerable muscle on last year’s champions in a 27-17 bonus point win based on the brute strength of No.8 Tatatu Na’aniumoto and the shadow-like presence of Duncan Young on Roos wrecking ball Pauta.
After scoring a first half try to hand his side the lead, everywhere Pauta popped up from that moment on Young was virtually glued to the former NSW Country centre in a brilliant performance from the Lions’ openside flanker.
Na’aniumoto was simply devastating in offence, twice smashing Roos defenders on his way to five-pointers.
“He’s only going to get better the fitter he gets, and the fitter he gets the scarier he gets,” City co-captain Josh Maley said.
“It’s good to have him play week in, week out.
“They’re battling to stay in the top five and we knew they’d come at us hard. To get a result like that today is pretty pleasing.”
“Our fitness showed, and our willingness to spread the ball.
“When it got back to 17-all, teams could have turned it off from there but we got another two tries late to get the bonus point and stay at the top.”
Roos skipper Shaun McHugh thought Roos stuck with City fitness-wise but out wide the Lions were simply scintillating.
“I don’t think they’re better than us though,” McHugh said.
“We put it to them. We’re excited. Come finals footy, we’ve been there the last couple of years, we know what to do.
“We’re keen to have another crack at them, even come down here and have another crack at them. We’re excited about the opportunities ahead.”
o ORANGE CITY 27 (Tatatu Na’aniumoto 2, Joe Lasagavibau, Cameron Dennis, Sam Coote tries; Duncan Young conv) def DUBBO ROOS 17 (Moa Kavafiaficaeta, Filisione Pauta, Ned Williams tries; James Mata conv)