North Sydney Bears took full control of their match against Wests Tigers to claim a dominating 26-8 victory.
Cody Walker was simply outstanding for the Bears, while John Olive returned from first grade to score two tries in the opening 15 minutes.
The match saw the Bears welcome new-recruit Paul Carter to the side, and they were further boosted by the inclusion of regular first-graders Jason Clark and Cameron McInnes.
Cheyne Whitelaw also returned from a long-term injury, giving the Bears a formidable lineup for the contest.
The opening five minutes belonged to Wests Tigers, as Kurtis Rowe scored in the right corner with their first attacking opportunity.
Unfortunately for the Wests Tigers, the Bears re-gathered the kickoff and were in complete control for the remaining 75 minutes.
Olive got the Bears on the board for the first time when he was on the receiving end of a wonderful Darryl Millard cut-out pass to get it back to 4-all.
Four minutes later, Olive was in again. He weaved through defenders and used his big frame to force his way over the try line and give the Bears the lead.
Wests Tigers almost hit back in the 22nd minute but some great defence denied Keith Lulia from scoring.
This great Bears defensive play resulted in a 12-point turnaround as Olive made a linebreak from the next set and passed to Walker to score a remarkable try. Darren Nicholls got his first conversion of the day to make it 14-4.
Walker thought he was in again 30 minutes into the game, but was curiously ruled to have dropped the ball.
Young-gun McInnes was rewarded for a solid first half when he scored a powerful try from dummy half on the stroke of halftime. Nicholls converted and the halftime score was 20-4.
Clever kicking out of dummy half by McInnes put the Wests Tigers on the back foot, and their forwards were forced to work tirelessly in defence, which consequently caused fatigue to set in.
Walker was in on the action again when he pounced on a loose ball, flew through a hole and successfully took on Tim Moltzen to score his second try of the day, which brought the score to 26-8.
The final 15 minutes of the game did not see any tries; however there was an outstanding run by Wests Tigers’ centre Nathan Milone, who almost scored after breaking a number of tackles.
It was an excellent team performance from the Bears, who will make a serious charge to the finals if they continue their recent form.
For the Wests Tigers, it’s been a frustrating run of inconsistent performances and will look to regroup following their first bye of the season this week.
The Bears will take on Mounties next week at North Sydney Oval, while the Wests Tigers will take on the Manly Sea Eagles in two weeks time at Brookvale Oval.
North Sydney 26 (J Olive 2, C Walker 2, C McInnes tries; D Nicholls 3 goals) bt Wests Tigers 8 (K Lulia, K Rowe tries) at North Sydney Oval.