Marlins make a splash in a game of numbers
THREE from three within the week, the Southern Cross University Marlins are swimming with the current to catch up with table toppers Coffs Harbour Snappers.
A bonus point win against an understrength Wauchope Thunder allowed the Marlins to storm through to a win 91-7 on Saturday.
Marlins captain Morgan McDonough said his side were left a little battered and bruised from their previous clashes but were well attuned to what was needed at the weekend's game.
The Marlins narrowly beat Hastings Valley Vikings by a point on Saturday, June 25 (18-17) and Grafton Redmen 26-24 in a catch up game last Tuesday.
Up against Port Macquarie Pirates on Saturday, McDonough said the Marlins needed to keep up their tight structure.
On the SCU grounds the Marlins dismantled the Thunder with a solid first-half performance.
"In the first-half we stuck to our game plan,” McDonough said.
But with a little more freedom in the second stanza, the Marlins were able to move the ball comfortably to boost their for-and-against difference.
With four more games to go before finals, McDonough said the Marlins needed to finish strongly to continue to mount pressure on the Snappers.
Despite the big win McDonough remained humble and credited Thunder for its efforts on the field.
Thunder's coach Paddy Bowen said the Wauchope side had struggled for numbers all season.
As a relatively new team to the Mid North Coast competition, Bowen said it was still building its foundations.
"We've only been in the comp for three years,” Bowen said.
"We struggled for numbers all year round.
"We put our a third grade team.
"We will keep building.”
Bowen said Thunder put in a concerted effort to play first grade rugby even when its team lacked strength.
He said this helped players develop by playing top-tier rugby - throwing them in the deep end.
Bowen also coaches the Thunder's women's sevens side. He said his women's side put in a stand out performance, beating SC 45-0.
"They played some clinical sevens,” he said.