Thunder destroy Bulls after “disgraceful” performance

Posted June 16th, 2019 by admin and filed in 南京夜网
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ON A HIGH: Albury halfback Cameron Breust jumps into the arms of teammate Adam Coote after the Thunder’s grand final romp at Equex Centre yesterday. Pictures: Michael Frogley

Group Nine

THE inspiration was supremely simple – Albury was not prepared to settle for being second best.

And that’s all it took for the Thunder to turn the Group Nine grand final into a rugby league car wreck at Equex Centre yesterday.

In the most lopsided first grade decider in history, Albury smashed Southcity 45-4 to give outgoing coach Josh Cale the perfect farewell.

Calling it quits after six years in charge, Cale was afforded the luxury of leaving on his own terms as the Thunder ravaged the Bulls by eight tries to one.

Recovering from a second minute hicccup – Southcity was denied a try when referee Bernie Nix ruled Nathan Rose dropped the ball over the line – Albury subsequently meted out 78 minutes of football misery on the woeful Wagga team.

Amid the carnage, the Thunder extended their fabulous premiership streak to three and left the Bulls absolutely devastated.

Only the third team in 60 years to land a Group Nine grand final hat-trick, Albury did it in blistering style by thrashing Southcity by the biggest margin ever – 41 embarrassing points.

Twelve years on from Temora crushing Turvey Park by 40 points (52-12) in the grand final in 2002, Albury turned the blowtorch on the club that was formed after the Lions merged with Magpies in 2005.

A shell of the team that collected the minor premiership in the last week of August, Southcity was battered into submission by the most dominant Group Nine force since Kangaroos won a treble in 1999-2000-2001.

Taking stock of the stunning demolition later, Cale was quickly able to nail down the inspiration for the towering triumph.

“They just wanted it more,” Cale said.

“They were as hungry as the first time.”

Point-blank refusing to hand over their crown they got for the first time in 2012, the Thunder turned around three losses to Southcity in as many previous games this year to make a mockery of the statistics.

For Cale, the victory was a fitting way to end his tenure as coach – and hand over the baton to replacement Ben Jeffery.

“It’s unreal,” Cale said.

“I’m sure Ben will do a great job.

“Most of the crew will be here and I’ll be around somewhere.”

Significantly, Cale described Albury’s last-gasp loss to Southcity in the major semi-final a fortnight earlier as a critical turning point for the border juggernaut.

“Everyone lifted,” he said.

“We were ready for today.

“The boys trained hard and prepared well. They all played their part.”

The truth of the sentiment would certainly not be wasted on the vanquished Wagga team.

On a day when Albury produced an exhilarating performance of superbly slick attack and brutal defence, the Bulls were plainly outclassed across the field.

Little wonder Southcity captain-coach Daniel Fitzhenry later described the effort as “disgraceful”.

“A few calls didn’t go our way, but in the end there are no excuses,” Fitzhenry said.

“How could there be?”

Fitzhenry’s nightmare started the moment Albury playmaker Willie Heta made mincemeat of the Bulls’ defence to set up Ben Jeffery for the first of his two tries in the sixth minute.

The signs were even more ominous when Albury halfback Cameron Breust was able to weave left without any pressure and link with Jake Grace before Jeffery blasted over again nine minutes later.

When Breust chipped brilliantly for winger Daniel Jacobs to leap above Jack Lyons for a try in the 21st minute the clock was ticking on the Bulls.

Up 24-4 at half-time, Albury seemed to have the premiership on toast, but Fitzhenry was hanging on hope.

“I thought we might be able to come back,” Fitzhenry said.

“It didn’t happen.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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