A clinical first half display from the Gunnedah Bulldogs gave the home side enough points to score a comprehensive win over Narrabri at Kitchener Park.
The 52-20 win saw the home side reclaim the John “Dallas” Donnelly Cup on the back of the first half effort.
“Our completions were good. I think we dropped the ball on one set,” Gunnedah coach Sean Hayne said.
“Other than that, we controlled the ball well, had good line speed and our defensive effort was good.”
It took Gunnedah less than five minutes to score their first points through hooker Callum Hayne and from there the Bulldogs ran away with the game in the first half.
Two minutes later Reece Jaeger busted the line before passing to Lachlan King who ran the rest of the way to score.
Tries at regular intervals from then on saw Gunnedah gallop away to a 30-0 lead at the break.
However, the half-time break appeared to be the Bulldogs worst enemy.
“Our talk dropped off and our intensity dropped off,” Hayne said.
“We tried to push too many passes at times instead of just getting back into the grind of the game.
“The first set was good and then we went away from our game plan a bit and our structure.
“Full credit to Narrabri, they came back at us and scored a couple of tries.”
The first of those tries came eight minutes into the second half when Chris Morris crossed.
Gunnedah then hit back to post a 32-point lead before Narrabri scored two tries on the trot.
Both four-pointers were almost identical as hooker Jacob Nichols caught the marker defence off guard with two scooting tries from dummy half.
The final 15 minutes was all Gunnedah as the Bulldogs grabbed a treble of tries – the last going to Rodney Orcher who showed some nice footwork close to the line – to finish off the big win.
Wingers Lachlan King and Jason Fenn both grabbed doubles while halfback Matt Brady also snared two tries.
Gunnedah had seven different try-scorers in total which included Dylan Lake and Hayden Smith who picked up three and two points, respectively, toward the North West Machinery best and fairest award.
Hayne was happy with how the whole side played on the day.
“I think everyone played their role,” he said after the match.
“It was a good team effort – all 17 blokes.
“The whole unit worked well for the first game of the season. It was a pretty good hit-out.”
First grade: GUNNEDAH 52 (Lachlan King 2, Jason Fenn 2, Matt Brady 2, Rodney Orcher, Callum Hayne, Hayden Smith tries, Reece Jaeger 4, DJ Smith 2 gls) d NARRABRI 20 (Jacob Nichols 2, Chris Morris, Adam Suckling tries, Blake Hilderson 2gls) North West Machinery B&F: 3 Dylan Lake (G), 2 Hayden Smith (G), 1 Jacob Nichols (N).
Second grade: GUNNEDAH 26 (Jimmy Pascoe, Joshua Matthews, Jack Reeves, Steven Taylor, Blake McIlveen tries, Pascoe 3gls) d NARRABRI 20 (Kurt Wallace 2, Liam Doyle tries, Kaleb Mowle 3gls) B&F: 3 Steven Taylor (G), 2 Tom Mason (N), 1 Dan Russell (G).
Ladies League Tag: GUNNEDAH 60 (Zoe Fleming 3, Carys Griffiths 2, Nautica Eather 2, Maddy Adams, Laura Fulwood, Chelsea Campbell, Tarryn Heinrich tries, Khobi Devine 5, Campbell 3gls) d NARRABRI 6 (Natalia Smith try, Rebecca Armstrong gl). B&F: Maddy Adams (G), Zoe Fleming (G), Gerri Cruckshank (N).
Under 18: GUNNEDAH 18 (Oscar King, Izaiah Talbott-Hatch, Liam Ireland, Sam Hibbert tries, Hayden Baker gl) drew with NARRABRI 18 (Angus Taylor, Harry Pattison, Lachlan Hedley tries, Jordan Mowle 3gls) B&F: 3 Kurt Wallace (N), 2 Jordyn Mowle (N), Nick White (G).
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