AFTER a slow start to the season defending Central Queensland Rugby Union A-grade premiers Dawson Valley Drovers are back in the premiership race.
Drovers lost the opening two games of the season and were then hammered by Gladstone.
But, after stringing together a few wins and finding some confidence, Drovers turned the tables on Gladstone recording a 34-22 win in Moura on Saturday - a win that escalated them into second spot on the premiership ladder.
Drovers coach Ash Kirk said he was happy with the way the season was progressing.
"It wasn't ideal, losing a few of our earlier games," Kirk said.
"But we lost a few key, experienced players from last season and the team started working under a new coach.
"We didn't have the luxury of playing any pre-season matches, so it took a little while for the team to gel.
"It was good to get a win against Gladstone on the weekend, especially after they thumped us earlier in the season."
The CQRU has a hiatus this weekend with matches called off due to the Wallabies versus British/Irish Lions on Saturday at Suncorp Stadium.
Kirk said he was hoping Drovers would continue their winning form when the competition resumed on June 29 against Blackwater.
Gladstone coach Henry Holdaway said they knew the road trip to Moura would be tough.
"The way they started, they brought a hard intensity and played us out of it," Holdaway said.
The Gladstone team was not too disappointed with the loss, having not won in Moura for more than 10 years with the coaching staff stating they took a lot out of the game that could become useful in the back half of the season.
"We took more out of that game than them, they will be in the top four and we have seen what they are capable of and what we have to do to beat them," Holdaway said.
"That's the hardest game all season, we have some home games coming up which give us a good opportunity to put some performances together," Holdaway said.
Kirk was also full of praise for the Gladstone outfit.
"I have no doubt, along with Brothers and University that Gladstone will feature in the finals."
Central Queensland Rugby Union A-grade ladder