In an unusual scenario after just three competition rounds five teams sit equal at the top of the ladder on four competition points.
Going into the round both the Dunedoo Swans and the Gilgandra Panthers were the only undefeated teams, but now neither can claim that mantle after both lost their games by six points.
Hosting the Gulgong Terriers the Swans would have rated themselves a good chance but the visitors seem to be continuing their fine end of season form from last year and they took an entertaining match 26 to 20, indicating that they are well and truly one of the contenders in 2013.
The recent tradition of tough, close and uncompromising games between the Warren Bulldogs and the Gilgandra Panthers continued at The Boneyard on Saturday with the Doggies eventually winning the game 34 to 28.
The Panthers got off to a flying start when they scored in the first minute after a Warren player dropped the ball from the kick-off but after a fiery first half, which saw an all in and a player from each side dispatched to the sin bin the hosts had worked their way to a 16 to 10 lead.
An early try in the second stanza saw them go out to 22 to 10, but the Panthers came roaring back to score two converted tries and with 20 minutes remaining it was game on with the scores locked up at 22 all.
Despite being on the back foot through conceding a number of penalties the Dogs were able to score back-to-back tries before a last minute touchdown to the Panthers completed the scoring for the afternoon.
Warren’s lock, Sean Robson was a standout while his opposite Simon Cass was among the Panther’s best. Graham Lake in the centres also had a busy game, denying Gilgandra a couple of tries with some vital interceptions as well as having a good game in attack
In the other games the Coonabarabran Unicorns proved to be too strong for the Coolah Kangaroos in a Friday night game at Coolah, winning the game 66 to 22 and the Coonamble Bears notched up their first competition points for the year at the expense of the Trangie Magpies, winning a good contest at Trangie 46 to 28 after leading 16 to 6 at half time.
The Grizzlies’ front rower Scott McKenzie was the difference between the two sides, scoring four tries and generally being a handful for the Magpies defence. Jye Carter, Trangie’s second rower was their best, scoring a double as well as being prominent in defence
Round 4 shapes as an important one for a number of clubs, given the closeness of the competition after just three rounds.
Much attention will focus on the clash between Gilgandra and Dunedoo with the losing side slipping off a share of the competition lead.
The Swans always seem to save something special for the Panthers and if they come in attacking frame of mind, and Gilgandra use their talented backs a fast flowing game could well be on the cards.
After a disappointing first round loss to Coonabarabran the Gulgong Terriers have shown that they are a very competitive unit and they will be keen to build on the momentum gained in their wins over Warren and Dunedoo when they host Coonamble.
It is another long road trip for the Bears and they will be desperate to record back to back wins to stay in touch with the other teams on the competition ladder.
Coolah face a daunting task in trying to topple the reigning premiers, the Warren Bulldogs at The Boneyard while Trangie also face a difficult assignment in trying to wrest the Boronia Cup away from Coonabarabran on the Unicorns home ground
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