ST Pat's started and ended Sunday's Peter McDonald Premiership match against Cowra Magpies with a big run of points to run out emphatic 48-0 winners at Jack Arrow Sporting Complex.
(min cost $8)
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The Saints put on 20 points over the opening half hour of the match but they would have to wait another 30 minutes to find their next points of the match as errors invited the Magpies to repeatedly pressure their try line.
St The Pat's defence was strong enough to see off several close calls in the second half and they would rally off the back of those efforts to completely run over the top of a tired and understaffed Magpies side - scoring five tries across the last 18 minutes.
It was a far from flawless showcase of football from the Saints, despite what the scoreline would say, but coach Zac Merritt said the dominant passages of attacking play from his team are encouraging to see as his team pushes for a finals appearance.
"We wanted to play simple and that's what we did for the first 20 minutes, but that patch in the middle was where we got lost," he said.
"It was great to see us over the last 20 minutes getting back to what we do best - working it through the middle - and that's when the points started to come.
"For us it's a week at a time. We need to keep winning to make semis. We need to just make sure we're focusing on ourselves and not worrying too much about what everyone else is doing.
"I thought today that Aiden Stait was great on debut. Jackson Brien, Lee McClintock and Hayden Bolam all stood up, as they usually do in every game for us."
With a little under half of the Magpies first grade team backing up from reserve grade it was always going to be a big ask to keep Saints at bay.
But for a half hour stretch of Sunday's match they looked the an equally threatening side, and coach Jack Nobes believes his men should be proud of the effort they showed.
"As a whole club we're in a spot where there's around six or seven guys backing up to play first grade. Our biggest thing at the moment is just putting in for the guy next to you," he said.
"I really can't commend the 17 guys there enough. For a lot of those guys to back up, against a very good St Pat's team, is a big effort.
"To be 20-0 down at half-time, and keep them there for the next 20 minutes, was huge from our guys. Obviously 48-0 doesn't look good, but that doesn't show how proud I am of the guys."
Pat's took apart the right side Cowra defence during a red hot opening 15 minutes.
Derryn Clayton crashed over for the first try in the fourth minute and was almost over on the next set of six but dropped a tough pass to the wing.
Pat's didn't have to wait long for their next chance to score as Jackson Brien scored and Matt Beattie converted to make it 10-0.
The Saints make a mistake from the kick-off to give Cowra an opportunity to score, but when that chance was soon squandered down the right wing Pat's then made the Magpies pay.
This time it was Lee McClintock who scored down the left side for St Pat's to keep his team's score in line with the clock, at 14.
Pat's knocked on an opportunity across the line in the 26th minute but on the very next Saints set Hayden Bolam scored in the left corner after slipping away from a would-be tackler and muscling his way to the line.
The hosts struggled to get anything going over the last 10 minutes of the half and had to settle for a 20-0 lead at the break.
Things got messy for Pat's over the first 20 minutes of the new half as errors began to pile up, mostly from trying to do too much with the ball.
Cowra weren't short on chances over that stretch of the game but where the Saints were lacking in attack they were making up for in defence, keeping the Magpies out across several sets close to their try line.
When Beattie scored against the run of play in the 62nd minute it opened to floodgates for a rush of Pat's points.
Tye Siakisoni's strong run down the right wing was rewarded with a try and Matt Ranse got on the end of a short chip kick near the Cowra posts to make it 36-0.
Brien and McClintock each found their second tries of the day across the last seven minutes to pile on the pain for a depleted but still enthusiastic Cowra squad.
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