REPRESENTATIVE hooker Jake West paid tribute to his forward pack partners as the top-of-the-table Gladstone Goats ground out a 26-17 win over competition heavyweights Colts.
Up against a slick and speedy Colts forward pack, 20-year-old West and the Goats forwards effectively used tactics to slow the game down to suit their style of play.
While ill-disciplined at times, Gladstone managed to record their fourth win of the Central Queensland Rugby Union A-grade season at Rugby Park on Saturday night.
Colts led 7-0 early after prop Ryan Collins scored before the Goats hit back through centre Julius Fichardt to put them within two points. A wayward pass from a Goats attacker saw Colts flanker Brenton Hoffman score under the posts to give his side a 17-5 lead heading into half-time.
When their scrum saw inside centre George Kupu crash over not long after the break and Aubre Harmse add the extras, Gladstone closed the gap to five.
CQ RUGBY UNION
Gladstone 26 def Colts 17 at Rugby Park
University 52 def Capricorn Coast 0 at Bicentennial Oval
Dawson Valley Drovers 51 def Frenchville Pioneers 0 at Rugby Park
Blackwater 24 def Brothers 5 at Blackwater
The Goats soon took the lead for the first time when Steve Ball scored to put them ahead 19-17 before play was held up. Thirteen minutes before full-time, Colts substitute forward Tony Hytch went in low for a tackle and was knocked unconscious.
Play was held up for nearly 30 minutes as ambulance crews treated him at the scene, before taking him to hospital.
When play resumed, Colts had a chance to take the lead but failed with a penalty conversion before Adam Conway's try a couple minutes before full-time sealed the win for Gladstone. "Colts really didn't have any opportunities in the forwards - we got on top of them," said West who packed down for the 2014 CQ Brahmans. "They have a very fast forward pack, but we slowed them down and were physical with them, which helped tire them out."
No.10 Alex Raguse starred as Dawson Valley demolished Frenchville Pioneers 51-0 at Rugby Park on Saturday night in easily the 2013 grand finalist's best performance of the year.
Coach Ash Kirk said his players were starting to find some cohesion. "Things just came together for us," he said. "It was just a good performance all-round. It has come from within the playing group."
A Jeff Hansen double and tries to Eric Smyth and James Brigham-Watson helped Blackwater remain equal third after a 24-5 win over defending premiers Brothers at Blackwater.