NRC Wk 4: Rams Run Riot Over Struggling Stars

Taqele Naiyaravoro on the way to the tryline. Photo: Karen Watson.

Taqele Naiyaravoro on the way to the tryline. Photo: Karen Watson.

Brendan-Bradford-web1by Brendan Bradford –

The Greater Sydney Rams made it two in a row with an impressive 47-18 win over the Sydney Stars at Pirtek Stadium in Parramatta on Saturday afternoon.

A four try first half blitz earned the home side a 29-5 lead at the break and the ruthless try scoring and staunch defence continued into the second half with 19 more points in front of a crowd of 1063.

It’s all coming together for the Rams. Mark Swanepoel and Ben Volavola navigated the side around the park well with some measured injections from fullback Dane Chisholm.

While Naiyaravoro was electric with every touch, on the opposite wing, Penrith speedster Jarome McKenzie was showing why he deserves a chance at higher honours. Up front, Jared Barry has transferred his always impressive form for Eastwood to his new side while Woodies teammates Hugh Perrett and Roach, Chris Alcock and Benn Robinson laid a solid platform for the Rams to attack.

Everything went right for the Rams, but nothing stuck for the struggling Stars. Passes went to ground, attack went sideways too often and the kicking game was aimless at times.

Taqele Naiyaravoro opened the scoring with a rampaging run to beat a few hapless defenders to the left corner for an early 5-0 lead before the Stars had any possession or territory to speak of.

So close, but Jim Stewart is bundled into touch. Photo: Karen Watson

So close, but Jim Stewart is bundled into touch. Photo: Karen Watson

Stars centre Jim Stewart went close to opening his side’s account in the left corner but a brilliant cover tackle denied the Australian U-20s representative.

McKenzie was proving a handful with a clever chip, some hard running, crushing defence. His blistering run down the right touchline put the Stars on the back foot and second-rower Jared Barry powered over for the Rams’ second try and a 13-0 lead with Volavola’s conversion.

It just got worse for the luckless Stars who threw a pass to the ref – wearing a very similar shade of yellow – and Steve Mafi took off down the right touchline. The rangy Mafi offloaded inside for flanker Chris Alcock who had the pace and footwork to score under the posts and take a 21-0 lead after 28-minutes.

Jack Macklin, the man who threw the errant pass to the official, made amends with a well taken try on the right to peg the gap back to 16.

A huge Rams scrum three minutes before halftime was rewarded with a penalty try and a 29-5 lead at the break.

The home-side picked up where they left off in the second half with Hugh Roach barging over from close range for a 37-5 advantage before Will Skelton scored his debut NRC try for the Stars in the 48th minute.

A brilliant Volavola break on halfway opened the Stars defence and a simple draw and pass allowed McKenzie to add to his NRC tally.

Jake Gordon sniped a great halfback’s try around the base of the ruck but Michael McDougall quickly cancelled it out at the other end of the field for a 47-18 scoreline with 17-minutes still to play.

The Rams defended inside their own half for the remaining quarter and did well to hold a valiant but increasingly frustrated Stars outfit at bay until the fulltime whistle.

The Rams will be full of confidence ahead of a trip to Brisbane to face Queensland Country next Thursday while the Stars must dust themselves off in preparation to host the UC Vikings at Leichhardt Oval on Saturday.

Greater Sydney Rams 47 (Naiyaravoro, Barry, Alcock, penalty try, Roach, McKenzie, McDougall; Volavola 4 con) bt Sydney Stars 18 (Macklin, Skelton, Gordon; Dunbar con)