Bulls tighten grip on first with 40-point win

It was supposed to be the clash of the year, but Southcity clearly had other plans.

The premiers now have one hand on the Group Nine minor premiership following a 50-10 thumping of Gundagai on Sunday.

In what was expected to be a tight tussle between the competition’s two top teams, the Bulls ravaged the Tigers at Harris Park.

While further boosting their premiership credentials, Southcity also placed massive question marks over Gundagai’s aspirations.

It was the Tigers’ second big loss in three weeks while the Bulls now sit two points, plus a massive points differential clear of the now second-placed Young.

It was a dominant performance from the opening stages by the Bulls, and they did it with plenty of injury concerns.

Scott Bowden made a surprise return to the club in the place of the injured Jesse Greenway before the Bulls lost captain-coach Nick Skinner to a hamstring injury 16 minutes into the clash then Josh Cochrane hurt his ankle.

By the end of the game they had no fit men on the bench with Jake Dooley (ribs) and Ben Marks (concussion) both coming off late.

Without two forwards for most of the game, Skinner was thrilled by his team’s performance.

“I’m real proud with how we went, especially with no bench there at the end,” Skinner said.

“We spoke bout having a plan to stick with during the week and all the boys put in a massive effort.

“We knew we had to take it up another notch, we have probably been cruising a little bit, so we come out, stuck to it, completed our sets and defended well on our line.”

After a near perfect half Southcity took a 26-0 lead into the break.

Kyle McCarthy opened the scoring after five minutes when he showed plenty of strength to force his way over before Steve Tracey scored off a lovely Nathan Rose kick after 15 minutes.

Rose then stepped his way out to two tacklea to a score a 70-metre try before Pani Manawatu exploited some soft defence under the posts.

Usaia O’Sullivan showed his soccer skills, kicking ahead three times before scoring to have the Bulls charging into the break.

While they scored first after the break, when Jordan Shepherd crashed over after 43 minutes, Gundagai started to get going off the back of a couple of errors from the Bulls.

Tyron Gorman and Charlie Barton scored within five minutes for the Tigers to take the scoreline to 32-10.

However Southcity quickly snuffed out any chance of a comeback and seven minutes later Rose charged down a clearing kick from James Smart before scoring.

Ben Lucas then came off the bench and went over following a nice offload from McCarthy before Rose set up O’Sullivan to seal the big win.

With Cochrane hospitalised his ankle is by far the most serious however Skinner is unsure how long he’ll be sidelined after injuring his hamstring for the first time.

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