Tigers make it five straight

GUNDAGAI captain-coach James Smart may not be totally satisfied, but the Tigers have still completed their best start to the Group Nine premiership in more than a decade.

Dane O'Hehir scored three tries in Gundagai's win over Tumbarumba.

Dane O'Hehir scored three tries in Gundagai's win over Tumbarumba.

With Smart pondering ways to improve the team, Gundagai overwhelmed Tumbarumba 40-16 at Anzac Park on Sunday.

The hard-fought six tries to three victory was the Tigers fifth in as many games to open the season, a performance unparalleled in their recent history.

“What’s that – five from five,” Smart said.

“I don’t know when the last time the club would’ve done that.

“We’re in a good position.”

Despite the unbeaten run, which has put Gundagai on top of the table, Smart feels the team was playing better at a similar time in 2016.

“At this stage last year we were flying along and holding teams to nil,” he said.

“We were just grinding teams into the ground, but it doesn’t matter come August.

“It’s still very early in the season.”

Against the odds, Gundagai gave Tumbarumba a head start on Sunday, conceding a try in the ninth minute to trail 6-0.

Smart, however, righted the situation when he threw a quality pass for Damian Willis to crash over for a try four minutes later.

And when Dane O’Hehir (22nd minute) and Dylan Cole (25th) scored tries the Tigesr were up 18-6, an advantage they held to halftime.

Tumbarumba’s physicality was a test for the Tigers in the first half, but painful errors held the Greens back in attack.

Likewise, Smart believes Gundagai was well off the pace needed to compete at a higher level.

“It was all right (performance),” Smart said.

“We probably played with a little bit more consistency than last week, which is a positive, but there were still too many errors.

“If we did that against a top three side we’re not going to win the game.

“It’s as simple as that.”

 Gundagai showed more poise with the football in the second half, but still pushed important passes which cost the team points.

Although backed by a 10-3 penalty count, Tumbarumba found it tough to split the Tigers, who scored four tries to two in the second half.

Significantly, Smart found at least one area in which the team really shone.

“The boys on the left had their best game of the year,” he said.

“It was good to see them get some points.”

Ultimately, the Tigers were just not as precise as they needed to be.

“Far too many errors,” Smart lamented.

“We have to cut that down.”

“(But) At the end of the day it was a step forward from last week.”

With a string of upcoming games against other teams in the top five, Smart wants the Tigers to lift there.

“We just have to start improving,” he said.

“(But) I’m not concerned.”

When things clicked for Gundagai, the team looked sharp and decisive and scored some crackerjack tries.

The two best tries came in the second half, with Blake Dunn putting Willis over for a gem in the 59th minute and Cameron Woo offloading for James Luff to steam across in the 65th minute.

The try was a great reward for Luff, who was superb at dummy half and sensational in defence.

Others to shine were Chris Rose, O’Hehir (three tries) and Vince Brown.

Far from outclassed, Tumbarumba showed glimpses of hope for the future and will worry several teams ahead of them on the ladder. 

Greens skipper Robbie Byatt was a trojan, while fullback Jordan Anderson rivalled any player on the field for guts and determination.


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