GRUFs open up big lead at top of ladder after victory
By CRAIG ROSScraigr@gladstoneobserver.com.au
GLADSTONE opened up a sevenpoint lead at the top of the Rockhampton and District Rugby Union Sub-districts premiership ladder with a comprehensive 20-0 victory over Mount Morgan on Saturday.
Playing in front of hometown supporters at Meteors Sportsgrounds for just the second time this season, Gladstone overcame a frustrating start to post four unanswered tries, grab a valuable bonus point, and move closer to a minor premiership title.
After finding themselves on the end of a heavy penalty count in the opening 20 minutes, including several decisions which caused bewilderment on the GRUFs bench, the home side began wresting control of the match midway through the first half.
When able to build some momentum, the GRUFs finally opened the scoring after the 30 minute mark when flyhalf Damien Redshaw and fullback Chris Peters cleverly pulled off a runaround move for Redshaw to score.
The GRUFs were over again five minutes later when, after a terrific push by the forward pack gave Gladstone a scrum win and lock Cameron Williams charged from the scrum base to burst through the Mount Morgan defence to set up a 10-0 halftime lead.
Second half tries to prop Rob Wood and halfback Jason Shepherd, the first following a long Redshaw run and clever work from hooker Dave Capra, wrapped up the victory for GRUFs.
Gladstone coach Jon Dalton praised his side's effort to keep Mount Morgan scoreless when starved of the ball early in the piece.
'The nil scoreline was excellent,' he said. "The bonus point was what we needed ? it's only our second one this season.
"The forwards provided an excellent platform for our backs and our backs put it together.'
Despite the absence of big No. 8 Charles Tema and the departure of flyhalf Chris Mouille, the GRUFs were impressive on Saturday with many strong contributers.
Among them were lock Williams, flanker Brendan King, prop Adam Druery, Capra centre Sam Carey and wingers Zad Dreir and Tony O'Connor.