Avondale have ensured they will head into next weekend's Illawarra Rugby grand final rematch full of confidence after they claimed a comprehensive victory over Kiama on Saturday.
Coming off their first victory of the season a week earlier, Kiama fought hard and pushed the Wombats throughout the early stages of the match, however Avondale proved too good, running out 55-12 winners.
With coach Joe Aiono away coaching the junior Illawarra representative teams, former coach and current club president Murray McDonald took the reigns on Saturday and he was pleased with the way the side powered over the top of their opponents.
"It was a bit of an arm wrestle early on, then the boys flexed their muscle," McDonald said. "It's been good to get some consistency after a disruptive start with Easter and Anzac Day.
"We handled the windy conditions really well at Kiama. A lot of the guys played really well yesterday. The backs looked pretty slick at times, the forwards were rumbling up the middle. It was a consistent game all round for the boys."
After dropping their first game of the season to University, the Wombats have now won four matches in a row, with the team nearing the form that sent them to last year's grand final.
That day did not go well for Avondale, with the side struggling to hold on to possession in the face of a committed Bowral defensive effort. As the errors mounted, Bowral were able to gain the ascendancy to claim a 34-18 grand final victory.
While McDonald believes his side won't be out for revenge, he said everyone at the club is looking forward to ensuring a different outcome eventuates next Saturday.
"We don't like to look back on past grand finals, but I'm sure the boys will go out there and play their best, maintain possession and put the pressure on them. Everyone's looking forward to it.
"You always want to beat the best teams in the competition. It will be a good quality game of rugby, a good one for everyone to come down and watch."
Like last year, Avondale have taken a bit of time to build into the season, with regular changes to the lineup hampering efforts to form combinations. McDonald is confident, however, that those combinations are starting to develop and the team is building nicely as the competition approaches its middle stages.
"We've had disruptions with players missing games, the backline's been changing a little bit here and there, but we're getting there.
"The last two games, consistency has been getting better, we're getting used to our patterns of play and our structure. The boys will find out how they're going after next week. We're a different team to when we played University with that first loss. The boys are looking forward to next week."
In other matches, Vikings claimed a 44-7 victory over Shoalhaven and Bowral beat Campbelltown 34-21.
Shamrocks defeated Tech Waratahs 50-11 and University overcame a 12-point halftime deficit to defeat Camden 24-22.
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