It has been eight years coming, but the Dungog Warriors celebrated victory in their first local derby against Clarence Town Cobras since 2009.
The Warriors were primed for battle after their round one match against Kearsley was washed out and a big contingent of Dungog fans made the trip to support their boys.
Condition were ideal for the large crowd, but on the field it was a lot different with the ground still wet from recent rain and the going heavy for the players.
Dungog had some concerns going into the game having not being able to train at home for three weeks due to the weather and introducing a host of new players.
However, these concerns were laid to rest inside the first 10 minutes with two tries.
Matt Hinton combined with Jeremy Fredericks and Jordan Campbell for Fredericks to score and from the next set of six Fredericks was in again, this time on the back of some great interchange passing and backing up from the Warriors.
An error from Dungog working the ball out from their own line had the Cobras on the attack and after a strong run by Mitch Maytom some quick thinking by Andrew Bashford out of dummy half had the homeside over next to the posts to bring them back into the game at 6-12.
Dungog started to look a little disjointed in attack with a few dropped balls stopping them mounting any decent pressure and forcing them to work overtime in defence.
Dungog finally got its act together just before the break with firstly Luke Rits running a great line to score and hooker Aiden Brekelmans crossing from dummy half allowing the Warriors to go to the break with a handy 24-6 lead.
Dungog extended their lead 10 minutes into the second half when Lee Nevin raced 40 metres to go over for a converted try.
A few injuries in key positions didn’t help the Cobras task at hand but the move of Maytom to five-eight started a Cobras revival.
Maytom took on the defence and proved too big and too strong to cross for a much needed try. He also added the extras to give the Cobras a glimmer of hope at 12-30.
He again orchestrated the next move when he put Johnson through a gap and into open territory.
Maytrom then backed up a nice pass by Brad Johnson, on the inside to outspeed the cover defence and bring Clarence Town back into the game with another converted try to trail by just 12 points at 18-30 midway through the second half.
The Warriors clicked back into gear running in a further two tries inside the last 10 minutes to put the issue beyond doubt courtesy of Matt Hinton and Jordan Campbell.
Jeremy Fredericks slotted over both conversions to finish with 22 points for the game from his two tries and seven from seven with the boot in an impressive debut for the Warriors..
Fredericks, fullback Lee Nevin and centre Jordan Campbell were strong in the backs and in the forwards Jacob Long and Matt Hinton led the way with good support from Aiden Brekelmans and Cody Warwick. Harry Boorer, Scott Robson and Luke Rits off the reserve bench all showed what assets they will be.
Dungog 42: Tries J Fredericks 2, L Nevin, J Campbell, A Brekelmans, M Hinton, L Rits, Goals: J Fredericks 7/7
Players’ player: Jeremy Fredericks; RSL best forward: Jacob Long; RSL best back: Lee Nevin. Rays Reserve: Scott Robson
Clarencetown 18: Tries: Mitch Maytom 2, Brad Johnson, Goals: Maytom 3/3
Best Forward: Sam Dunn; best back: Kurt Blowes; best benchy: Mitch Maytom; supporters award: Ben Bradley; players’ player: Mitch Maytom. Best and Fairest points: 3 Mitch Maytom, 2 Sam Dunn, 1 Kurt Blowes
This Thursday at Bennett Park, Dungog take on Kearsley at 7pm after their 1st round clash was washed out. With Friday being a public holiday there is no excuse to not get along to the footy this Thursday night. Following the game the Warriors annual jumper number auction will be on at the RSL.
Clarence Town have the Easter weekend off and play Gloucester at Clarence Town the following Sunday at 2pm.
Thank you to Ellen Maytom and others who helped raise more than $1100 from the market day before the game. Also Tavis Chivers, Kel Sullivan and Bob Berry for their help with the jersey number auction and Maureen Foot for her wonderful photography.