Group 20 rugby league
DARLINGTON Point-Coleambally has produced an early-season shock, overcoming the odds to beat a lacklustre Yenda 30-10 in a fiery clash yesterday at Wade Park.
Fuelled by a best-on-ground performance from Chris Latu - who only put pen to paper with the club on Friday - the Roosters were far too good for a Blueheelers outfit that was never in the game.
Latu lined up alongside Sam Dalby up front and the two clicked immediately, with further firepower coming from second-rower Tongia Fox and lock forward Nick Briggs, who both scored a brace of tries.
Whether the Roosters were fuelled by Latu's late arrival, the critics who have shunned them across the pre-season, or the meeting with former DPC stars Josh Curphey and Kyle Charles, the result was enough to send shockwaves through the Yenda camp - and the rest of the competition, after they were widely tipped to struggle this year.
"Coming from outside Group 20 I wasn't expecting too much - I just wanted to concentrate on our boys," said DPC captain-coach Jay Little, who was forced to watch on from the sidelines due to injury.
"We had a gameplan and we were very disciplined in sticking to that, and the forwards Sam Dalby and Chris Latu really laid the foundation for us.
"The club's been in negotations with Chris for a little while and we were able to sign him on Friday - and in my eyes, Sam is just as good as Chris.
"We just stuck to our structure and grinded it out and after we got them tired about 15 or 20 minutes in, we capitalised on our opportunities.
"Our biggest problem in pre-season was ball control and security and (yesterday) we seemed to hold onto it - that went a big way towards us winning the game."
While Yenda were without several top-line stars - and despite Geordie McFarlane, Tevita Make and Dom Richbell-Tekira going down with injuries to leave bench numbers thin - the performance was slammed by coach Roy Romeo, who said the Blueheelers simply expected the win to come their way.
"There's no excuses. They wanted it more than what we did," he said.
"We know where we've got to lift now - attitude. Some of these guys just don't want to be out there.
"It's the first game and you'd think they'd be up for that.
"Some of these so-called stars have got to lift their game or everyone will be finding themselves in reserve grade.
"If we've got to make the changes, we'll make the changes."
And in further good news for Point fans, another new recruit could be announced by the end of this week - and he's "bigger than Ben Hur", according to publicity officer Cameron Muir.
"It could be one of the biggest signings going around today," he said.
Both sides will rest up this Easter weekend but the Group 20 judiciary could be kept busy in the interim, with Romeo claiming Richbell-Tekira was "king-hit" in back play - one of several fights that broke out on-field.
The New Zealand import, playing his first game for Yenda, was taken to hospital with a suspected fractured eye socket.
"It was a pretty shocking incident from all reports and I hope the powers that be take care of that," Romeo said.