THE Dubbo Kangaroos have continued their strong start to the Central West Rugby Union first grade competition, overcoming a dogged but outclassed CSU 32-12 at University Oval on Saturday.
The 'Roos overcame a horror penalty count - one observer had it at 28-3 in the students' favour - in the six tries to one victory, which would have been more comfortable had it not been for some wayward goalkicking.
Continuing a frustrating trend, the CSU side were able to match their opposition physically in most exchanges but lacked the poise and handling skills of their opposition, and it cost them big time.
Three of the Dubbo tries came directly from turnovers and five of their six came in a woeful stretch that covered 25 minutes either side of half-time.
That period aside, it was easy to see the areas in which CSU have improved this year and the margin might have been closer were it not for a knock-on ruled against Number 8 Paul Lasalo on full-time as he went to plant the ball over the line.
None of that mattered in the overall scheme of things, though.
"We defended very well, we dealt with their pressure and then we applied it when we needed to which was good to see," 'Roos coach Daniel Armitage said.
"It is always a hard trip here, there is a bit of a circus atmosphere with the music pumping all day and that sort of thing. CSU had a proper crack today as they have been all season.
"It is a very even competition at the moment and the fact that these guys [CSU] led Orange Emus at half-time is indicative of that."
continued page 22
The first 25 minutes saw a good tussle developing but the match was broken open when Luke Ryan scored the opening try for the visitors.
Ten minutes later they scored their second through flanker Shaun McHugh and almost immediately they made it three as Isaac Kinscher ran 50 metres down the left edge to score in the corner.
Trailing 15-0 thanks to the missed goals, CSU were still within striking distance but instantly were on the back in the second half as they gave away a penalty and dropped off a couple of tackles to allow Kinscher his second five pointer.
Things hit rock bottom for the home team when a clearing kick from Dubbo fly-half Filisone Pauta found fullback Cam Backhouse, only for the CSU skipper to be dispossessed when he ran to the Dubbo defence.
McHugh was on the end of a massive overlap from the resulting movement, scoring in the corner for his second.
After gaining a territorial foothold, the students opened their account with 25 minutes to play through Lachie Robinson to get back to 25-5 but they would have still needed a miracle to win from there.
Despite being a player down after Jack Finch was yellow carded for not using his arms in a tackle on Backhouse, 'Roos still managed another try as flanker Eli Kinscher showed rare speed for a forward to race 60 metres and score.
Finally they nailed a goal through replacement James Mata, and the contest was killed off.
CSU showed some enterprise in the dying stages and got a second try thanks to prop Michael Coates, as a frustrated Dubbo team finished the game with two players in the sin bin, Ted Bates and Simon Hegarty.
"Today was the worst we've played I think, we had been improving each week but not this time," said Backhouse, among his side's best.
"We were getting to two or three phases, they'd compete better at the breakdown and we'd make the mistake. We didn't have enough ball security.
"We got given a lot of penalties around the ruck which kept us in the game for a long time but we weren't good enough to take advantage."
DUBBO ROOS 32 (Shaun McHugher 2, Isaac Kinscher 2, Luke Ryan, Eli Kinscher tries; James Mata conversion) defeated CSU 12 (Lachie Robinson, Michael Coates tries; Cam Backhouse conversion)