Narromine Gorillas showed a need for speed in win over Temora Tuskers

A fits and bursts performance from the Narromine Gorillas has guided the outfit to a Westfund Ferguson Cup preliminary final against the Bathurst Bulldogs, defeating the Temora Tusker 50-19 at the Cowra Rugby Grounds.

Jumping out of the blocks early, Narromine made the most of their opportunities, jumping out to 17-0 lead by quarter-time.

Not be deterred, the Tuskers tightened the game up in the second quarter, controlling the tempo to mount a feasible case for a second half comeback, keeping the Gorillas scoreless to be 17-7 at half-time.

However, after the long break, the third quarter was nearly all one way traffic, the ball control from Narromine and a scattershot Temora defence allowing the Gorillas' speedy backs to score multiple tries with little pressure.

It meant when the teams came in at three quarter time, the game was effectively done and dusted, the 31 points needed to bridge the 38-7 margin a nail in the coffin for the Tuskers' season, despite a competitive last quarter from Tskipper Nicky Jordan's team.

It was enough evidence for Jordan to suggest they could go the whole way.

"These girls have a real shot at the title this year," she said.

"The way they run off that backline and set-up, they're really difficult to defend against... So if they turn it on against Bathurst next week I think they're a real shot."

Jordan was just as honest when assessing her own team's performance.

"We just didn't turn up... I think we got caught up in their game a lot."

While Jordan was proud of her team's year on the whole, she said it was important that they start where they have finished the year, rather than resetting with a bunch of new players.

"We need to start at this level and then build on that... we've got a lot of younger girls, so they should be around for a few years, which is good."

Meanwhile, Narromine skipper and fly-half Rebecca Smyth, despite her team's dominance at stages of the game, didn't feel it was as one-way as the scoreboard seemed to suggest, especially in the second quarter.

"We weren't sure what to expect, we know they've been improving and they're a great team... They've some really experienced players in there.

"It showed... they were really good in their rucks, they had some good speed out wide and they knew what they were doing in the backs."

Despite some personnel unavailable due to injury and availability, Smyth said she was proud of her team for the ability to respond to that second quarter challenge, making specific mention of her back's speed, which ultimately proved crucial in breaking the game open.

"I'm the oldest in the side, so I don't need to do that running anymore," Smyth laughed.

"We've certainly got some really speedy backs, which is awesome; we're [also] quite lucky that we've some really hard, dominant forwards, and we've got some old heads in the forwards.

"Whenever we're able to get it to them [the backs], we really made every attempt to utilise any gaps that we saw in their backline, and you know, we just gave it our speedy ones and away they ran."

Turning her attention to next week, Smyth, who was unsure of who her team's opposition will be (They will take on the Bathurst Bulldogs), was nevertheless confident her side could match it with whoever they play.

"I'm confident we can match these girls, we can take it to them," the number 10 said.

"A lot of these girls have never played before so they're just really excited to be getting here.

"I truly believe we've got the ability: If we're on our game on the day, then anything can happen."

The Narromine Gorillas will take on the Bulldogs next weekend at a to be confirmed venue.

  • NARROMINE GORILLAS 50 (Beth Stace 4, Alice Theberge 3 Madeline Piccolo tries; Madeline Piccolo 5 conversions) def TEMORA TUSKERS 19 (unknown 3 tries; unknown 2 conversions)