Bulldogs trample Dragons
RUGBY LEAGUE: Chinchilla fullback Romada Barnes was almost unstoppable on Saturday, adding to problems for a St George team looking for credibility after a series of heavy losses in recent weeks.
The Chinchilla High student posted three tries, creating panic among would-be tacklers, in the Bulldogs' 50-22 win, nine tries to four, at the Dragons den.
And the unassuming No1 can only get better, according to Chinchilla officials.
"There was talk at one time that he might play soccer this season,” said one official, "that's never going to happen.”
Barnes was clearly the quickest player afield and his intuitive decision-making from the back made him a constant threat to St George, who was still hurting from a 66-0 defeat by Chinchilla in their previous meeting and an even bigger loss (72-0) to Wallumbilla/Surat a fortnight ago.
Saturday's display was better but, pitted against a stylish, still-rising Chinchilla outfit, it was always going to struggle.
Barnes apart, there was a lot to like in the Bulldogs' strategy. The forwards, after a ragged early defensive display resulting in two tries, and a 12-0 lead, to the home side, began to assert themselves.
Once the forwards' order became law, the ball was spread wide for the backs. In a twinkling, or so it seemed, the momentum changed. Tries to five-eighth Jeff Gilbert, team captain and halfback Anthony Horswood and - inevitably - Barnes, boosted Chinchilla to an 18-12 lead.
Then St George, still with only a single win in 2018, were taken aback when Chris Davies (31st minute) and Horswood (36th) steered a similar path to the line.
At half-time, the Bulldogs led 28-12, Thereafter, St George was left to limit the damage as Chinchilla ran in further four-pointers via Barnes (44th minute), Gilbert (63rd), Frank Roma (73rd) and Barnes again (75th).
Matt Edwards, who had a solid game on the wing, converted seven of the Chinchilla tries.
The industrious Horswood, who is the A-grade coach backed up by head coach Bill Rackemann, the club's former premier- ship winner, can only have been pleased by the work ethic of the entire team.
Rackemann was fullback in the undefeated Chinchilla team, coached by Tony Mitchell, in the Roma and district competition, in 1990. Then, in 2010, he coached the Bulldogs side in an unbeaten season. Steven Brownhalls was Chinchilla's "players' player” against St George.
For St George, the try-scorers were Corvin Cooper, Radley Bullock, Brett Watts and Adam Parkes. Dan Dwyer landed three conversions.
It used to be that rival clubs feared the long road trip to St George. Not so more recently. Still, judged on this display, better times may be ahead.
There was no lack of spirit in the Dragons' reserves, who comfortably downed Chinchilla 42-16. The Bulldogs side included five players from the under-18 team, left without a game: try-scorer Daniel Gleeson, Bart Dickman, Harry Smith, Matt Ising and Callan Davidson.
Dickman, the reserve- grade players' player and Davidson, both crossed for tries, along with Kieran Oliver.
"We were pleased that the five U18 boys stepped up to play with the Reserves,” Bulldogs president Lee Irwin said.
This week Chinchilla meets Mitchell in the first of two consecutive games at Bulldog Park before an away game with Wallumbilla/ Surat and a final-round game against Miles.