It’s a sign that something special is brewing at the Valleys Diehards club after their 60-16 win over Logan Brothers in the Premier grade division played at the impressive Emerson Park on Saturday.
The Diehards, who sit in third spot on the ladder, never looked in doubt of losing as the home side taught the Leprechauns a lesson in rugby league in a star-studded performance.
The Diehards, superbly steered around the park by halfback Simon Fairbairn, took only two minutes to go in and score. Dynamic fullback Kere Bawatt was on the spot to collect a neat pass from centre David Tusiane and he slid in nicely to plant the ball down beside the sticks.
Bookends Joel Harris and Daniel Nolaw provided the extra muscle upfront, however hooker Duma Ivanouchkine and lock Josh Tunnicliffe were also proving a handful for the Logan side.
After Bawatt’s superb try, the Diehards crossed again, this time through winger Jon Collins who took a superb three-man cut-out pass from five-eighth David Mayfield and the flashy winger had no problem placing the ball down out wide.
Logan appeared to be fatigued as early as the 10-minute mark and with Coach Peri Creamer already making interchanges, it was going to take a monumental effort to stop the early Valley’s onslaught.
At 10-0 on the scoreboard, things went from bad to worse for Logan as the home side scored another try courtesy of Diehards winger Roland Inwood. A scintillating touchline conversion from Fairbairn shot the men in royal blue and white to a 16-0 lead. But, with Valley’s possibly letting their guard down just for a split second, Logan lock forward Tala Kami found a chink in the Diehards defence and crossed beside the sticks.
Further tries to Valleys Ant (Anetere'a) Tiplady and a second scorcher from Inwood right on the halftime buzzer had Logan on the ropes 24-6 at the break.
After the whistle sounded time-on, Valleys again were flexing their muscle. Some incredible defence put on by Harris and Nolaw had the Leprechauns rattled. But, just as Valleys were enjoying a now 32-6 lead, Logan’s Andrew Pratt was instrumental in stepping his way through a yawning gap to cross under the posts.
With Fairbairn showing his panache with the ball, the mercurial half would send in centre Andrew Zavo to further increase the scoreline now reading 44-12. The brilliant halfback’s passing and attacking game was the highlight of his presence on the field culminating in an all-round stellar performance.
But true to Logan’s toughness and willingness to play with pride in their jersey, the Leprechauns snuck in a late try to hulking prop Earnest Lolomau who charged his way over to score to add some credibility to the scoreline.
But with the Diehards piling on another two back-to-back tries, the Leprechauns were no chance of a late comeback. Bawatt put the visitors out of reach after the custodian showed remarkable strength to power over and score the final try.
Final score Valleys Diehards 60 def Logan Brothers 16.