For the first time in the team's short history, Western Rams under 23s has won its opening representative game, defeating Greater Southern Region 32-16 at Blayney's King George Oval on Sunday.
(min cost $8)
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It wasn't perfect, and the men in green shot themselves in the foot for what seemed like the entire first half but eventually, the cream rose to the top and an impressive final 20 minutes was capped off by a Cody Godden try alongside the uprights, sealing an important victory for the home side.
It wasn't all smooth sailing before that as the Tigers' sizeable forward pack challenged the Ethan McKellar-led Rams from the outset and admittedly, his side struggled to put things together early on.
"It was very sloppy," skipper McKellar said.
"We've got some positives to take out of it but we've got to focus on our negatives today too. Lots of dropped ball. The scoreline could have been a lot bigger for us."
The Tigers opened said scoreline in the eighth minute as an Ailand Davis-Pihema grubber bounced off the uprights and back into his bread basket, allowing him to crash over under the sticks.
There were positives to take out of it.- Ethan McKellar
Western's Wade Kavanagh was rewarded for his awareness just five minutes later, crashing over after a quick tap and narrowing the gap to 6-4 after a missed conversion in the 13th minute.
The match hit a stalemate for the ensuing 20 minutes before a Jay Slavin offload allowed Brock Naden to slice through the middle as he found a looming Bailey Hartwig who finish the job.
Even though the Tigers re-took the lead in the second half, it felt as though Western was always in control and only needed sustained field position to put the game to bed.
The teams exchanged four-pointers throughout the start of the second stanza but once the Rams worked their way out to a double digit lead, the big skipper put the nail in the coffin, bursting onto a short ball from Mitch Burke before ploughing over the fullback to score.
McKellar had a feeling during the match that persistence was key and once they got some good field position, things would open up.
"We knew how to stick into the grind and I thought if we did that we'd start to roll over them," the Orange Hawks prop said.
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