A FOUR-TRY performance from Feleti Wolfgramm was the highlight on Saturday as Orange City outclassed the Dubbo Rhinos at Caltex Park.
The Rhinos, playing their first home game in the Blowes Clothing Cup since returning to the competition this year, showed plenty of fight in the first half to be down only 19-0 but they tired badly in the second half as the Lions piled on seven more tries.
Three of those went to Wolfgramm following his first shortly before half time and City coach Steve Hamson couldn't praise his barnstorming flanker enough after the match.
"He's pretty handy," Hamson smiled.
"...to his credit in the off-season he's done a lot of fitness and you can see he really wants to be there and he's been our best player over the first three rounds by a country mile.
"Today he got four and he's got doubles in the other games and he's good and wants to be there."
Dubbo Rhinos co-coach Dave Stuart admitted the visitors were a class above but was still pleased with the effort of his side.
The Rhinos never stopped working but the pace of the Blowes Clothing Cup is taking some getting used to and City's running rugby had a real affect on their fitness.
"It blew out there at the end but I was pretty happy there at 19-0 at half time and I can't fault the boys," he said.
"They kept putting in and didn't put their hand up at the end and it's a big step up.
"These (City) guys are fit and fitness showed at the end and it will take us a while to get that fitness up."
Less than five minutes had gone by when Jake Davis scored in the corner before missing his own conversion.
Shortly after Logan Brockmann capitalised on sustained pressure when he went through to score under the posts and Davis' successful conversion made it 12-0.
The Rhinos weren't giving in at all and some push and shove showed how much they wanted to be there and then Ricky Wetherall, who battled a serious flu all match, almost created a try out of nothing with his sheer pace.
Corey Cox and Sam McLeod entered the match midway through the first half and added some steel to the side but City never allowed the home team into the match.
Wolfgramm's first of the day set up the 19-0 lead at the break and the big number six grabbed his second shortly after the break.
Joey Lasagavibau was another standout at fullback and he scored a deserved try before finding himself in the bin alongside Rhinos' prop Neil Madden after a scuffle broke out between the pair.
Rhinos had a good stint of possession following that but couldn't make it count and City went the length of the field to allow Wolfgramm to get his hat-trick when he burrowed over from close range.
Approaching full time the Rhinos were out on their feet and Brockmann, captain John Colgan, Wolfgramm again and then Blake Hummerson all crossed to help City well and truly seal a convincing bonus point win.
In a tough day for his side, Stuart highlighted fullback Ed Morrish, Kane Rich and McLeod as his best but again reiterated that fitness is the difference at this stage of the season.
"These guys have been around the grand final for about the last three years and it blew out at the end but I'm happy with the work rate and the effort for the full 80 minutes and that's what we're aiming for," Stuart said.
"In the end when you run out of legs it's hard to keep up with these blokes."
ORANGE CITY 64 (Feleti Wolfgramm 4, Logan Brockmann 2, Jake Davis, Joe Lasagavibau, John Colgan, Blake Hummerston tries; Davis 6 conversions) defeated DUBBO RHINOS 0
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