A DOUBLE from Iliesa Navatu has seen the Gunnedah Red Devils return to the Central North winners circle against the Inverell Highlanders.
Playing host to the Highlanders at Gunnedah Rugby Park, the Red Devils were looking to bounce back from their 31-12 loss to the Narrabri Blue Boars last week.
Adding to the home side's desire to win was the memory of their round three loss to the Highlanders.
Enter Navatu who alongside, Cameron Mitchell, Darrell Morrison, George Gribble, Bradley Swain, Ronald Hobden and Thomas Mackey, scored tries in the 53-10 triumph.
Red Devils hooker Matthew Hannay said the 43-point win was "sweet redemption".
"Our forwards set the platform for us from the very first whistle," Hannay said.
"They dominated the set pieces all game, in particular around the scrum.
"We destroyed their forwards and that gave our backs good clean ball and a lot of it."
Hannay said the side heeded the call from head coach Daniel Martin to lower the side's penalty count after "ill discipline" cost them last week against Narrabri.
"We changed our tactics at the breakdown through the week, which helped us get our defence set faster and it also allowed us to work with the referee a lot better," he said.
"We would have halved our penalty count this week, which obviously makes it a much more enjoyable game to play."
As well as the impressive performance of Navatu, Hannay said a debutante helped shape the team's victory.
"Marcus Hayne in his debut run-on game was outstanding," he said.
"I'd also have to say DJ [Darrell Morrison] was also fantastic.
"To be honest, he played out of his skin."
The Red Devils will now turn their attention to a return clash against Pirates at Ken Chillingworth Oval on Saturday.
Gunnedah got the best of the reigning premiers when the sides last met, winning 36-29 in round four.
After the win over Inverell, the Red Devils have bypassed Pirates on the Central North ladder to sit in fourth place.
Hannay said it would be a special feat to defeat Pirates twice in the same season.
"I asked Matt Roseby, who has been around the club a bit longer than me and he said we have never beaten them twice in the same season," he said.
"If we can get it done, it would be a special win, that's for sure."