ILLAWARRA COAL LEAGUE
Helensburgh chalked up their first win of the season with a convincing 28-6 victory over Dapto on Good Friday at Dapto Showground.
The Tigers appeared to be carrying heavy legs early in the match coming off a tough 16-all draw with Thirroul on a heavy track last week but found their groove to run in five unanswered tries after being down 6-0 after 25 minutes.
Ultimately it won’t be Helensburgh’s most impressive win this season but, post-game, coach Ryan Powell was satisfied.
‘‘We didn’t play how we wanted to but we still did enough to get a pretty convincing win,’’ Powell said.
‘‘It was a slow start but we did enough.’’
After weeks of wet weather Powell was happy to see the wheels on his potent back-line spin on a dry track.
‘‘We’ve got a pretty handy backline so it was good for the halves to get the ball in their hands and play width,’’ he said.
‘‘Both sides did that today and there was some good footy played but in patches it was pretty ordinary as well.’’
The early momentum was largely with the home side who stretched the Tigers defence on the edges and created several opportunities but couldn’t convert the early pressure into points.
They looked to have opened the scoring after 20 minutes when halfback John Kennedy won the race to a Trent Ryan kick in the Tigers’ in-goal but couldn’t ground the ball.
The Canaries wouldn’t be denied minutes later when fullback Troy Pieper reeled in a pinpoint Kennedy chip-kick close to the Tigers line to open the scoring.
The try stung the Tigers into action and they looked certain to hit straight back only for star fullback Jason Raper – who made a strong return from injury – to spill an offload from back-rower Chris Lewis that would have seen him stroll over unopposed.
He made amends minutes later with a deft grubber into the Dapto in-goal that forced a line dropout.
In the ensuing set Helensburgh opened their account through five-eighth Jared Boyle who muscled his way over from close range to cut the lead to 6-4.
Raper struck again late in the half making an incisive run out of dummy-half to put Eamon Hillen over next to the posts. The Tigers were in front 10-6 and never looked back.
Boyle continue to pepper the Canaries back three with swirling kicks and the pressure told when when Pieper and Ryan let one bounce straight into the arms of Azan Turoa. His try secured the Tigers a 16-6 lead at the break.
The Tigers put paid to the Canaries soon after half-time with a try to impressive substitute forward Abe Attalla.
Turoa bagged his second four pointer (from a Boyle long ball) late in the half to cap the 28-6 result.
For the second straight week Dapto faded after a strong start and have managed just one try in 160 minutes of football.
Coach Chris Leikvoll said his side will have to learn to play 80 minutes if they want to turn around their 0-2 start to the season.
‘‘First 30 minutes I thought we were well in the game but errors cost us again,’’ Leikvoll said.
‘‘It it was the same story last week... in the game for 25 minutes and it fell apart.
‘‘We’ll just get back to work this week, we’re the only ones who can get us out of it.’'