Group 20 rugby league
WEST Wyalong has maintained its perfect start to the Group 20 season after comfortably accounting for a disappointing Waratah Tigers outfit on Saturday night in Griffith to make it eight straight wins.
The rampant Mallee Men prevailed 50-12, keeping the Waratahs scoreless in the second half with a near-faultless defensive performance at Exies Oval.
On the back of last round's shutout of Yenda, the Mallee Men have now conceded just 12 points in total across their past two games - and, heading into their scheduled bye this weekend, they have already defeated every team in the competition once this year.
Captain-coach Rohan Loudon said he was delighted with his side's execution and intensity against one of Group 20's most physically-imposing teams.
"Our extra effort in defence was very good," he said.
"We had three and four getting in to push blokes over the sidelines.
"We were pretty good defensively and that's where it all came from.
"It had to be - they all get offloads, so we had to get numbers in to stop it from happening.
"Against Yenda, that was the turning point for us - defensively, we've become a pretty good unit.
"We can obviously score tries but we've got to stop them and the better we get at that, the easier it gets."
Loudon said the Waratahs started well and scored their two tries for the match - through Johnny Teleaga and Sam Rauluni - in quick succession after approximately 30 minutes of play.
But the home side made a mistake in the second half that led to an early West Wyalong try, and from there it was all one-way traffic.
"They probably ran out of legs because they didn't have much ball in the second half, more than anything," Loudon said.
West Wyalong's tries came from BJ Kerry, Willy Jones, Chris Mayberry, Dan Wallace and Craig Iverach, who all scored doubles.
"We shared it around," Loudon said.
"Everyone got plenty of ball and that's when you have fun - when everyone gets a touch and everyone gets tries.
"We're going really well, everyone's putting in."
The only sour point from a West Wyalong perspective was a potential back injury to Mitch Pettit.
But Pettit will most likely be fit for the team's next match against Hay at Hay on June 29.
Loudon's men are sitting pretty on top of the ladder and are undoubted premiership favourites at this point, but he isn't yet comfortable with that tag.
"Everyone's going to get better," he said.
"Lakes will find an extra gear soon, so will the Waratahs and the Point and Yenda.
"I just look at last year, when Yenda were running fifth all year, snuck into the finals and probably should have made the grand final.
"It's only halfway through the year - there's a long way to go."