THE Taroom-Wandoan Battlers have shown they’ll once again be the team to beat in the south western Reserve-grade league comp, crushing a hopeful Chinchilla Bulldogs outfit on their home turf in round two.

The Battlers’ dream undefeated run which led to last year’s premiership trophy ended unceremoniously during this year’s preseason, when they were knocked out early in both the Lindsay Williams Shield and Terry Charles Cup competitions.

But their display at Bulldog Park on Saturday will put any concerns about loss of form aside, as they racked up a 38-10 victory against a strong Chinchilla squad.


Led by the slick nine-seven combination of Ashley Harth and Nathan Widgell, the Battlers managed to dominate field position for most of the game despite a strong kicking game from Bulldogs hooker Declan Bell.

Front rowers Toby Bennett and Jayden Baker were fierce through the middle in defence, and a majority of Battlers tries came on the edges.

Bullddogs hooker Declan Bell looks for space against the Taroom Wandoan Battlers

Coach Brian Argus said it had been a promising start to the season for the reigning premiers.

“It was a bit scratchy but we’ve got a pretty young side at the moment,” Argus said.

“Last year was pretty good, we were pretty dominant, and we’re just trying to build on it. 

“A number of things we’ve been working on came up pretty well – speed of the play-the-ball, and running in behind the ruck and catching lazy defenders.

“We haven’t had much speed for a while so it’s good having more youth coming through.”


Ringers player Tovia Tanrelu celebrating the occasion with the Chinchilla Bulldogs


UNFORTUNATELY the A-grade game on Saturday was called off early in the second half, when a Western Ringers player suffered a potentially serious neck or spinal injury.

The player was ultimately airlifted to Brisbane but was thankfully cleared of serious injury. He’ll fly home to Charleville on Monday.

The Bulldogs had dominated the game, in which Chinchilla halfback Jeff Gilbert and Ringers halfback Nathan Widgell both made successful 40-20 kicks.

Gilbert’s fellow Bulldogs veterans, prop Jono Drysdale and second rower Darren Hooper, led the charge to the try line. Hooper scooted through under the post midway through the first half while Drysdale bagged two meat pies.

The final score was 32-6.


It was a long trip to Chinchilla with an unfortunate ending for the Western Ringers, which comprises players from around the Charleville district some five hours’ drive to the west.

Club president Sean O’Connell said the team this year was largely made up of Samoan and Solomon Islander nationals who are working at the Charleville meat works.

“We’re going alright. We’re just trying to get the guys into the community,” O’Connell said.

“A lot of the boys have only played rugby union but they’re all keen and enjoying playing a bit of league.

“The good thing is they’re in the community. They go down to the IGA and people say g’day. They’re not on their own.

Eddie Ramo runs it straight against the Chinchilla Bulldogs

“The town’s really supportive, we’ve got a lot of great sponsors this year. We want to get better as a team and it will come,” O’Connell said.

“Last week was a great home game. The guys were singing songs and they say a prayer before every game. It’s a different culture, which is good out west.

“The idea is to get the young ones coming up so they’ve got somewhere to play football when they’re older.”

In other south western rugby league A-grade fixtures, St George beat Miles in a tense showdown at Rowden Park, 34-28. Roma is hosting the Michell Magpies this afternoon while the Wallumbilla Surat Red Bulls have a bye.

Ringers second rower Jack Winters gets wrapped by Bulldogs halfback Jeff Gilbert and lock Matt Eising
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