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Big wins for Round One of Men's Country Championships

The Riverina Bulls have made a statement in Round One of the 2023 Men’s Country Championships after scoring a comprehensive 46-12 win over the Monaro Colts 46-12 at NSWRL HQ in Bruce on Sunday.

Wagga Kangaroos fullback Latrell Siegwalt and South City Bulls centre James Morgan were both in stellar form as the pair crossed for a brace of tries in the dominant win.

But it was Riverina’s big men who stole the show, with Royce Tout, Josh Ayers, Billy Reardon, Zac Masters, Jake Walker, and Michael Fenn proving too big, strong, and powerful for the Monaro pack.

“Our forwards laid the platform for blokes like Latrell and that to score those tries,” Riverina Bulls coach Aaron Gorrell said.

“We scored a lot of points, and you could say we played flashy, but I think we ground out a good win and we laid that strong platform with good go-forward and our defence.

“At one stage, we didn’t have a lot of ball and they had three sets on our line, and we kept turning up and finding a way, and from that, we played really smart footy.”

Playing in warmer than usual conditions in Canberra, Monaro struggled early in the contest, while Riverina were strong from the outset following a good 26-18 trial win over the Western Rams last month.

Photos courtesy of Trisha's Sports Photos
Photos courtesy of Trisha's Sports Photos

“That’s why we wanted to have a trial; to blow those cobwebs out,” Gorrell said.

“We only get one shot, and there was no point going into Round One underdone or being caught out.

“We had done a little bit before that trial, and some things worked, and some things didn’t, and we fixed those things up, and it’s a real credit to the boys for how they adjusted and played.”

Gorrell will have to contend with some “good selection headaches” when it comes to picking his side ahead of their Country Championships Semi-final against Northern Rivers on March 19.

Reigning Group 9 Weissel Medallist Lachlan Bristow is expected to return from a broken jaw at hooker, while Jacob Sturt will look to put a bout of tonsilitis behind him when he lines up in the front row alongside Tumut teammate and Riverina captain, Zac Masters.

The other Northern Pool matches saw the Northern Rivers Titans prove too strong for the North Coast Bulldogs 42-6 at Kingsford Smith Park; while the Newcastle Rebels accounted for the Central Coast Roosters 36-14 at Morry Been Oval.

The Southern Pool matches saw Illawarra South Coast Dragons ride the back of a Kieren Moss hat-trick to beat Macarthur Wests Tigers 58-12 at Kirkham Oval; and Western Rams beat Northern Tigers 64-18 at John Simpson Oval.

Riverina Bulls 46 (Latrell Siegwalt 2, James Morgan 2, Hamish Starr, Royce Tout, Michael Fenn, Tristan Eldridge tries; Siegwalt 4, Star 3 goals) def Monaro Colts 12 (Jack Hayman, Jack Davison tries; Robert Roberts 2 goals).

Acknowledgement of Country

New South Wales Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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