Reigning Leagues Clubs Australia Ron Massey Cup premiers Hills Bulls avenged a 12-point loss in Fiji nine weeks ago with a resounding 38-6 win over the Kaiviti Silktails at Crestwood Reserve on Sunday.
The six tries to one win more than made up for the 36-24 loss the Bulls suffered in Round Five at Churchill Park, Lautoka, back in April.
Although the Silktails led the penalty count 5-3, ill-discipline in having second rower Manoa Vilikesa sin-binned in the 72nd minute allowed the Bulls to run in three tries – two to former NRL star Martin Kennedy – in the final eight minutes.
Another former NRL player in True Blue James Roberts set up the Bulls’ second try before he was forced from the field with an Achilles injury.
The Silktails were still in the fight at halftime despite being down 14-0.
They had won their past four matches in Fiji and were looking for their first away win this season. They are now 0-6 on Australian soil in 2023.
But the breakthrough win wasn’t to be even if their defence kept the Bulls in the grind until the 27th minute, when five-eighth Mitchell Francis scored the home side’s opening try.
A second in the shadow of the halftime siren to winger Logan Aldridge – off the Roberts’ flick pass – shifted momentum to the Bulls.
And coach David Heath’s men kept their feet on the accelerator pedal in the second half with four tries to hooker Brad Keighran, second rower D’arcy Hardman and the double to prop Kennedy.
Keighran converted all six tries and also landed a 36th minute penalty giving him in individual haul of 18 points for a handy afternoon’s work.
The Silktails only points came midway through the second half when hooker Rusiate Baleitamavua scurried over from dummy-half next to the uprights, giving centre Tomasi Seru an easy shot at goal.
The Silktails have a bye next week (Round 15), while the Hills Bulls take on Mounties at Aubrey Keech Reserve next Saturday (8 July).
There are four rounds left before finals for the Leagues Clubs Australia Ron Massey Cup begin on 12 August.
This article was written by NSWRL.