DARREN Jackson’s Rams channelled the Western Division style of days gone by on Saturday when posting an upset 50-12 win over Federation of Italia Rugby League Australia at Carrington Park.
The convincing win was built around a big but mobile forward pack which made good yards in attack and hit hard in defence.
It was in stark contrast to the 2016 meeting between the pair when the slick FIRLA backs stole the show, with this year’s edition featuring doubles to Rams forwards Chris Bamford and Blake Seager.
Orange CYMS prop Bamford was named the Rams’ best on ground, but fellow front rower and skipper Brent Seager, his brother Blake and late call up Tui Oloapu were just as impressive.
Having absorbed early pressure, the Rams opened the scoring in the 11th minute.
Oloapu spun in a tackle and found Jake Betts in support, who in turn sent the ball out to a flying Tom Satterthwaite. The Orange CYMS winger crossed in the corner to make it 4-0.
FIRLA then sent the kick-off out on the full to put the Rams back into attack. The hosts did not waste the opportunity, Jackson Brien crossing in the left corner.
Warren Williams’ conversion attempt struck the post and bounced away to leave it at 8-0 after 17 minutes.
Nine out from half-time, halfback Chad Porter forced a line drop-out. From the set that followed, Group 10 player of the year Bamford steamed over to make it 12-0.
With five minutes of the half left, after a Blake Lawson line break, Brad James scooped the ball up from dummy half and sprinted down the right flank.
He ran away to score and with Porter adding the extras, it made it 18-0 to the Rams.
The Rams had the breeze at their backs in the second half, but it was strong running that saw them extend their lead after four minutes.
Blake Seager charged over in the left corner after his fellow forwards had eaten up the yards.
Finally, with 47 minutes gone, FIRLA got on the board. Halfback Todd Sapienza sliced over from close range and converted his effort to make it 22-6.
The Azzuri clawed more ground back following an attacking scrum, fullback Christian Bate forcing his way over next to the sticks.
Sapienza again slotted the conversion to move his side within 10 of the lead with 24 minutes remaining.
However, when Rams prop Bamford picked up his second try via a hit and spin move with 17 left, it swung things back in favour of the hosts.
Blake Seager joined Bamford on a brace for the match soon after while Sam Dwyer scored on the following set.
Brien and Dwyer then crossed again in quick succession and Lithgow winger Keelan Bresac dived over on the siren.