St Marys Saints showed they will be one of the favourites for the Ron Massey Cup this season after a ruthless 56-6 win over the Kaiviti Silktails at McCredie Park in Guildford today.
There had been plenty of hype around the Silktails after they relocated to Australia for the next seven months to take part in the competition but they proved no match for a team that had made consecutive Grand Finals in 2018-19 before sitting out last season due to COVID-19.
Winger Luke Geary had a day to remember after scoring four tries while fellow winger Ratu Luke Nadurutalo was also strong after bagging a hat-trick. Halfback Zac Greene was on song with the boot after landing his first seven conversions before finally missing one.
Silktails coach Wes Naiqama said it had been a tough afternoon for his team but they would learn from the experience. Their fans finally had something to cheer about late in the second half when centre Ratu inoke Vasuturaga, whose wife gave birth to his second child this week, grabbed a try.
“I don’t know if they’re a 56-point better team than us but I’ve always said it was going to take a couple of weeks or month for us to get used to the intensity of this competition,” Naiqama said.
“Regardless of the scoreline there’s a lot of positives and a lot of things we can learn from in that game to be better at next week.
“That’s part of this journey. St Marys have been a very strong team for a very long time but it was good to get a gauge of where we’re at, we’ll identify areas that we need to be better at the first one being discipline to adapt to that six-again rule.
“Once the boys see this on video and we break the game down in certain parts they’ll see the bigger picture video but the week-to-week goal is to be better every week.”
The opening 40 minutes was tough going for the Silktails, who lacked possession and struggled to contain a Saints outfit which was full of running.
Saints prop Samuel McGregor’s afternoon came to an early end after he reeled out of an attempted tackle and dropped to the ground. He failed his HIA and played no further part in the match.
Despite the setback, the Saints quickly regrouped and needed only 11 minutes before backrower Arthur Crichton was crashing through the goal line defence. Greene added the extras for Saints to take a 6-0 lead.
Centre Raymond Lesoa was the next to score for Saints in an almost identical play after showing the defence a little bit of footwork before crashing through them to score.
That opened the floodgates for the Saints with winger Geary bagging a first-half hat-trick and fullback Jake Toby also scoring. Greene turned in a flawless display with the boot, landing all six conversions, to help the Saints to a 36-0 lead at halftime.
Saints picked up from where they left off when the second half got underway with Geary crashing over out wide for his fourth try of the afternoon. Green again added the extras to put the Saints up 42-0.
The Silktails stemmed the tide, and then came close to scoring themselves on a couple of occasions, before Saints went on the charge again and scored in the corner through winger Nadurutalo. Greene converted from the sideline to make it 48-0.
Nadurutalo got his second try for the afternoon before Greene finally showed he was human and missed a conversion from the sideline to leave the score at 52-0.
The Silktails finally gave the loyal fans who had turned up to McCredie Park who had turned up to cheer them on something to celebrate when Ratu inoke Vasuturaga finally found a way through the Saints defence. Waisale Nayavucere converted to reduce the margin to 52-6.
Nadurutalo would bag one more try to make it a hat-trick for himself before the full-time siren to complete a dominant 56-6 win by Saints.