Jesse Douglas and Cuban Quinlan-Piper starred as Port City Breakers maintained their perfect start to the 2022 Group 3 rugby league first grade competition with a 30-12 victory over Wingham Tigers on Saturday (July 2).
The Breakers were challenged for 60 minutes, but in the end they had all the answers even after the Tigers closed to within a converted try with 21 minutes remaining.
Douglas and Piper both crossed for doubles while Jarrod Robbins and captain Richie Roberts all scored tries for the hosts while Josh Griffiths and Ryan Weatherall scored the visitors' four-pointers.
Roberts said the Breakers learned a little bit about themselves in a match played in heavy conditions.
"It was a good 80-minute grind for us," he said.
"It's the first time we've played wet-weather footy in the mud and we didn't complete as high as we wanted to.
"Some of our end-of-set kicks weren't the best either so we'll go back to training and work on completions and finishing our sets off stronger."
The Breakers led 8-6 at halftime after an error-riddled first half played in steady rain that saw ball security thrown out the window, but they fixed it in the second half.
"We don't need to be throwing the ball around in those kind of games," Roberts said.
"It was a real heavy track, but we need to play simple wet-weather footy."
Whatever was said at half-time had the desired effect when winger Jarrod Robbins scored just three minutes into the second half and from that point on the Breakers appeared in control.
The Tigers were gallant.
"They had a 15-minute period where they were getting on top in the grind," Roberts said.
"Luckily we came out in the second half with a strong start, a bit more intensity, a bit more energy and we got a bit more comfortable."
It was a similar story at Taree last weekend when the Breakers trailed Taree City 22-12 at the break before they clicked into gear in a 58-22 victory.
Injured Tigers captain-coach Mitch Collins admitted he was confident of heading back down the highway with competition points after their gutsy opening half.
But he lamented a lack of polish on the ends of their sets, especially in the second half.
"I was super confident coming out in the second half that if we did what we did in the first half - and fixed those little errors - we would have got away with the win," he said.
"But unfortunately they came out a lot better than us. Our last-tackle kick options were poor and our fundamental errors (cost us) once again."
There is little doubt Wingham missed the presence of injured halfback Jarom Haines and Collins was hopeful their attack would click when he returned.
But that doesn't look like being anytime soon.
"Once we get him back, he'll make a big difference," Collins said.
"He guides us around so once he gets back it'll make a big difference, but [the Breakers] are on top for a reason.
"They do all the little things right and it showed today."
For the Tigers, Aaron Groom, Blake Sky, Fletcher Lewis and Liam Phillips were strong, but Collins conceded they didn't have much help.
"It was disappointing," he said.
First grade: Port City Breakers 30 (Cuban Quinlan-Piper 2, Jesse Douglas 2, Jarrod Robbins, Richie Roberts tries; Cuban Quinlan-Piper 3/6 goals) defeated Wingham Tigers 12 (Josh Griffiths, Ryan Weatherill tries; Fletcher Lewis 2/2 goals)
Reserve grade: Port City Breakers 16 defeated Wingham Tigers 12
Ladies league tag: Port City Breakers 28 defeated Wingham Tigers 6
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