Steamers bounce back to topple Wagga City by 20 points

The Steamers have bounced back from a poor performance to down winless Wagga City, 53-33.

The home club led by only three points at half-time, but exploded after the break.

“I knew they’d come out and see us as a potential first win for them,” Steamers’ coach Paul Musarra said.

“They hit us pretty hard and scored a couple of good tries but, generally, I was overall happy.”

Musarra questioned the team’s direction after a 30-point away loss to Tumut the previous week and even star fullback James Devlin admitted, pre-game, the players weren’t working as hard as the coach.

“Discipline let us down in the first half, we gave away two or three penalties and good field position and they scored from it,” Musarra said.

The Steamers went into the Tumut clash missing at least five regulars, but a number returned and made an enormous impact.

“Joe Druce was outstanding, his missed two games and came back and forced turnovers,” Musarra said.

“His ball running and tackling was just great.

“I had to pick ‘Drucey’ in the back-row because Dave Cooper-Dunn pulled out after training on Thursday with a back strain.

“We missed him because he’s such a powerful defender, ‘Drucey’s’ really my go-to hooker, but he’s very versatile.

“Aaron McDougall is a good hooker too, but he’ll go to prop when ‘Drucey’ plays hooker.

“Aaron also played well, along with Sam Allen at (number) 10, and Richie Manion at inside centre.”

The Steamers’ defence improved in the second half, putting pressure on the Boiled Lollies’ attack and restricting them to only 12 points after the break.

There’s more positive news too for the Border outfit with the classy Blake Le Cornu expected to play first grade after returning from injury in reserves.

He will hand the Steamers another attacking outlet with his pace and evasion.

The club has moved to within a point of the top five.

The Steamers will now face a desperate CSU on Saturday.

CSU was coming off an 80-point loss to undefeated ladder leaders Wagga Waratahs and were expected to push Ag College.

However in the battle of the students, Ag College posted a thumping 47-24 win.

Given the Steamers toppled Ag College, the visitors will fancy their chances of toppling CSU.

And the Steamers will need a win too as they face powerhouses Leeton and Waratahs in the games leading up to a two-week general bye.

The competition then resumes in late June.