Undefeated Blacks eye top of the table

Rugby union

Griffith ............... 31

Wagga City ............... 20

GRIFFITH is the only undefeated team left in Southern Inland Rugby Union after keeping their unblemished record in tact with a stirring comeback win over Wagga City on Sunday.

For the second consecutive week the Blacks struggled out of the blocks and were down 15-5 at the break, but some inspired tactical switches from coach Seru Rogo helped swing the match their way.

"I pulled out a grey hair from my head this morning - that was from the first half again," Rogo laughed.

"The boys were probably just sussing out how Wagga City were.

"From the sidelines I could see that some of them were going away from the gameplan, not doing what we talked about.

"But in the second half, they just killed it."

At half-time Rogo removed Dan McGreal and Lafaele Lale, who both carried injuries into the game and were clearly struggling to keep up the pace after failing to train during the week.

Michael Stalley came in for McGreal, while Luke Ratu was moved to number eight, Andries de Meyer to hooker and Nick Gleeson to prop.

The reshuffle worked a treat as Griffith's big guns started to click, piling on 26 points to just five in the second half.

Marika Vunibaka continued his excellent start to life in the Southern Inland competition with another two tries, putting him top of the scoring charts with seven after three matches.

"He had a really good game, again, just leading the boys in the backine well in defence and attack," Rogo said of the former Canterbury Crusaders star.

"It's really good to have a player like him out there."

But it was Ratu who came in for special praise after backing up from second-grade duty to play an integral part in the Blacks' comeback.

"I've been watching him play over the last couple of weeks," Rogo said.

"He's been playing really well - most of the second-grade coaches and old boys that have been watching have been talking about him.

"He had another good game in the seconds and did well for us."

The Blacks sit in fourth spot on the ladder, just two points adrift of leaders Wagga Waratahs but with a game in hand, and the second-best points differential in the competition.

It is a terrific start to Rogo's coaching career but the softly-spoken mentor wants Griffith to keep the season in perspective.

"It's just that first half we need to work on - it would be very worrying to come up against like Albury or CSU like that, but we're getting there slowly," he said.

"Everyone's been doing all their individual stuff during the week - the important little things we talk about.

"Preparing is one of the biggest things in football these days and the boys are doing their bit.

"It shows when we go out onto the field."

Griffith's first-graders have the bye next week but the seconds will front up against Deniliquin, giving the seniors a perfect opportunity to reset and get over niggling injuries before taking on Temora at home the week after.

GRIFFITH 31 (Marika Vunibaka 2, Ina Pulega, Dan McGreal, Tino Kaue tries; Vaea Mateo 2 cons) d WAGGA CITY 20 (Rambo Lagaali, James Blanchard, Elioni Raisele tries; Rhys Cummins con, pen) 

POWERHOUSE: Griffith's Marika Vunibaka breaks through a tackle on Saturday. The former Super Rugby star is now the leading tryscorer in the Southern Inland competition after extending his tally to seven for the year. Picture: The Daily Advertiser

POWERHOUSE: Griffith's Marika Vunibaka breaks through a tackle on Saturday. The former Super Rugby star is now the leading tryscorer in the Southern Inland competition after extending his tally to seven for the year. Picture: The Daily Advertiser

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