The Deni Drovers have bounced back from their loss to Hay in impressive fashion, defeating Southern Inland Rugby Union McMullen Cup ladder leaders Griffith at Rotary Park on Saturday.
The Drovers won quite comfortably in the end, handing the Blacks just their second loss of the season with a 36 to 17 win.
Deni appear to be Griffith’s kryptonite having been the only side to defeat them this year, with the Drovers beating the Blacks in round two thanks to a last-second try from Dennis Feagai.
Drovers coach Mark Thompson said it was his side’s best game of the season.
‘‘It was easily the best we’ve played, with everyone playing smart,’’ he said.
‘‘Our defence was again extremely good and was much better than the last time we played Griffith.
‘‘They (Griffith) played hard but we didn’t let up.
‘‘It was a massive confidence booster, because not only have we beaten them twice, but we improved on the result that may have looked like a lucky win last time.
‘‘We have struggled a little bit against lower ranked sides this year.
‘‘Our four best games have come against the top two sides in Hay and Griffith, so if we can start to turn the results around on Hay then that will put us in a good spot come finals.’’
After a tight tussle early, Thompson made the decision to move Staci Richardson from number eight to outside centre.
The move proved to be a masterstroke with Richardson earning plenty of metres gained and scoring two tries.
Others to hit the scoreboard were Hugh Sutton, Adam Marshall, Con Thalasinos and Ross Gardner with one try each. Gardner also managed to land three out of six conversions.
‘‘Moving Staci helped us open the play a bit with the side playing with a bit of style,’’ Thompson said.
‘‘It helped us make up a bit more ground and allowed us to control the pace to a level that we wanted it at.
‘‘Griffith were getting a bit frustrated and a bit undisciplined but we managed to keep our heads and not get sucked into it.
‘‘The most pleasing thing from the game was also seeing the development of Jayme Glanvill. This year is his first crack at rugby and he’s starting to show his knowledge of the game is growing.’’
Votes from the clash went to Hugh Sutton (three), Kayde Richardson (two) and Jayme Glanvill (one). Glanvill also earned the Players’ Player award.
The Drovers will have a week off with a bye this week before returning to action against Tumut on Saturday, July 20.