BIDGEE has cemented its standing as the form team of the pre-season after taking out the Paul Kelly Memorial Shield with a 12-4 win over Darlington Point-Coleambally in Saturday night's final.
Converted tries to Kurt Wilton and Troy Preston were enough to seal victory for the joint venture outfit, which had earned a place in the decider with a gritty 6-4 semi-final triumph over Yenda earlier at EW Moore Oval.
- PICTURES: Paul Kelly Memorial Shield
But despite securing local knockout bragging rights, coach Chris Bamford boldly warned rivals there is still plenty more to come from the Hurricanes.
"We've obviously got the best team on paper in the competition, probably by a long shot. But it's not on paper that you've got to beat teams, it's on the field," Bamford said.
"When we finally click we're going to be unstoppable and hopefully that's going to come but at the moment, we're riding on our individuals a bit too much.
"We've got a bunch of all-stars at the moment and we've got to become one team."
The Roosters had upset Bidgee 22-6 last week in the knockout qualifiers at Wade Park, a performance that prompted a scathing response from recently-appointed Group 20 representative coach Bamford.
"I wanted to get Point again in the final and my wish came true. We got our redemption," he said.
"They're a great side and it was good one back on them."
DPC captain-coach Andrew Herbert said there were still plenty of positives to take out of the loss.
"Compared to where we were this time last year we're a long way ahead," he said.
"Everyone wanted that Paul Kelly trophy because it does mean a lot to the club.
"But whoever made the most mistakes lost the game and that was us."
As expected, gun Blueheelers recruit Kodie Charles (calf) joined Shannon Rupapere (knee) on the sidelines for Yenda's semi-final while New Zealand import Kenny Tata was also a late withdrawal on Saturday.
Their absence was sorely felt but coach Roy Romeo was heartened by his side's defeat to Bidgee.
"If they're the yardstick at the moment, we know we can match it," he said.
"We've got to work on a few things and we'll get there, I reckon."
Semi-finals: Bidgee Hurricanes 6 (try: Wilton, goal: Scott) d Yenda 4 (try: Sellars), Darlington Point-Coleambally 16 (tries: Charles, Mcann, Bryant, goals: Curphey 2) d Hay 12 (tries: Edwards, Kose, goals: Rosser 2)
Final: Bidgee Hurricanes 12 (tries: Wilton, Preston, goals: Scott 2) d Darlington Point-Coleambally 4 (try: Bryant)
Semi-finals: Tullibigeal-Lake Cargelligo 44 (tries: Robertson 3, Barby 2, Smith, T Johnson, J Johnson, goals: Davis 6) d West Wyalong 0, Bidgee Hurricanes 24 (tries: Webb 2, Noonan, Morriss, Smith, goals: McDonald, Cates) d Leeton 0.
Final: Bidgee Hurricanes 16 (tries: Twigg, Serafin, Cates, goals: Webb 2) d Tullibigeal-Lake Cargelligo 14 (tries: Johnson, Hutton, Barby, goal: Davis goal)
Semi-finals: Leeton 36 (tries: Petrie 4, Nikoro, Celi, C Graham, goals: Dickinson 3, C Graham) d Bidgee Hurricanes 0, Yenda 12 (tries: Ngu 2 , goals: Jones-Lewis 2) d Darlington Point-Coleambally 12 (tries: Lyons, Fattore try, goals: Wilson 2) on a countback.
Final: Leeton 34 (tries: Petrie 2, Wallace, Nikoro, Williams, Flood, goals: McVittie 5) d Yenda 14 (tries: Ngu 3, goal: Simpson goal)