New year, new focus for Boars as defending premiers roll into Parkes

IMPRESSIVE: Young five-eighth Sam Davis was strong in round one. Photo: ALLAN RYAN
IMPRESSIVE: Young five-eighth Sam Davis was strong in round one. Photo: ALLAN RYAN

The Boars went within a whisker of causing the upset of the 2018 New Holland Agriculture Cup season when they led the undefeated Narromine at half-time of their grand final clash at Cale Oval.

But despite the Gorillas sneaking home in that decider there's no word of payback from the Parkes camp ahead of Saturday's rematch at Northparkes Oval.

With a new coach and new players, the Boars' focus this weekend is firmly on themselves, not the all-conquering defending premiers. 

"And that's the honest truth of it ... for us it's all about improvement week-by-week," coach Ben McNiven said.

"It'd be nice to have another game under our belts before playing Narromine but it is what it is.

"Last year's in the past though, isn't it."

The Boars got their season off on a winning note last week at Apex Oval with a 16-8 victory over the Rhinos.

... it's about this year, getting better game-by-game and going from there.

Parkes coach Ben McNiven.

The Dubbo club opened the scoring and McNiven said he was pleased his side was able to bounce back quickly and then take control of the contest.

But there's plenty of room for improvement. 

"There's probably a few things we need to work on; match fitness and our attack. I was happy with defence last week," he added.

"Continuity is something we're looking for more of though. And guys wanting the ball. We've got to be hungry for the ball especially against a side like Narromine."

STOCK AND LOAD: Josh van der Stock scored the five-pointer than sealed Parkes' its round one win at Dubbo. Photo: ALLAN RYAN

STOCK AND LOAD: Josh van der Stock scored the five-pointer than sealed Parkes' its round one win at Dubbo. Photo: ALLAN RYAN

Ben Rathbone and Sam Davis were the standouts against the Rhinos in the Boars' opening round victory last week, the latter filling the sizeable boots left by Lloyd Rogers at five-eighth.

In hot 30-degree Celcius conditions, the Boars were forced to do a mountain of defence early in the contest and by and large held firm in the face of a barrage of Rhinos attacking raids.

The hosts broke through late in the first term though, skipping out to a 5-0 lead.

But the Boars' reply was swift, fullback Jack Laesser scoring on the back of some tremendous lead-up work from Jason Lowe, who showed he's equally adept in the front-row as he is ball-playing with the backs, locking up the scores at 5-all at half-time.

After the break Davis potted a couple of penalty goals to give the visiting Boars some breathing space at 11-5.

That advantage was cut to 11-8 mid-way through the second half when the Rhinos booted a penalty goal of their own to edge back into the contest.

But it was as close as they'd get.

A late try from Josh can der Stock sealed Parkes' a crucial road victory via a 16-8 scoreline. 

McNiven said there would be a host of changes ahead of the Narromine game but he believes a few tweaks to the Boars' attack can help lift the 2018 runners-up.

"We probably left a lot of points out on the field, always going to like that first game of the season though," he added.