Chinchilla Bulldogs carry on winning
Rugby League: Winning on the football field can become habit forming.
Through the autumn and early winter months, winning has become addictive for Chinchilla rugby league fans.
Even when there are untidy elements, as sometimes happens, it's been a smooth ride for the premiership front-runners.
"Winning ugly” is a trendy term with pundits nowadays, but surely a misnomer in most instances.
Still, there was nothing "pretty” in Chinchilla's 26-12 win over Mitchell at Bullldog Park last weekend.
Typically, it was built on the forwards' dominance, coupled with astute work in the back line. Chinchilla fans had few complaints.
"It probably wasn't our best performance,” said one supporter, "but a win's a win. And they owed us” - a reference to the Magpies' victory in the previous clash at Mitchell in May.
The capable Mitchell side, currently on fourth on the Roma and District premiership table behind the Bulldogs, Roma Cities, and Wallumbilla/Surat, took advantage of Chinchilla's hesitant start, characteristic of some recent outings.
The Magpies jumped to an 8-0 lead after 12 minutes with tries by Jackson Spears and Thomas Kennedy, probably Mitchell's stand-out performer, along with his centres partner and brother, Jack.
Martin Sheldon, whose clever kick led to Kennedy's try, also did well at five-eighth, as did hooker/ dummy half Charles Aitken.
But, if Mitchell had ideas of another win over Chinchilla, the early scores proved a false dawn.
Chinchilla, as happened at St George a week earlier, soon took charge.
After 28 minutes, they led 14-8 (the half-time score) via tries by Romada Barnes, Justin Travers and Chris Davies.
The forwards clocked up substantial metres as the Mitchell pack tired.
If it wasn't Dylan Moli, Simon Colls, Steven Brownhalls, Hayden Bender or Dylan Taylor making inroads, robust Frank Roma, off the bench, always made ground.
Ultimately Travers and Moli shared the players' player award.
The Magpies, for all of their endeavours, would fly just once more.
Thomas Kennedy's jinking run to touch down, evaded several tacklers a minute after the second half resumed and was as much as the visitors could manage.
Both teams suffered occasional lapses in ball handling, both were guilty of stealing metres at the play-the-ball or breaches by the markers, features not lost on referee Brenton Burke.
Between stop-and-start passages of play, Bulldogs captain and halfback Anthony Horswood followed his own kick before regathering the ball when it struck a goalpost, presenting Matt Edwards with a simple conversion.
Then, five-eighth Jeff Gilbert exposed the growing frailty in the Mitchell defensive set-up en route to the try line.
Edwards again kicked the extras to complete the scoring.
The 26-12 scoreline was about right, according to the Bulldogs' true believers.
Footnote: The Bulldogs had a day out with big wins in both reserve grade and under-18 competitions.
The reserves comfortably downed Mitchell 34-4 while the U18 scoreline (68-14) might easily have short-circuited the scoreboard.
No fewer than eight players scored tries.