FLYING HIGH: The Dalby Wheatmen  started the new season strongly.
FLYING HIGH: The Dalby Wheatmen started the new season strongly. Michael Doyle

Champions begin title defence in fine style

RUGBY UNION: The Dalby Wheatmen got off to the perfect start in 2018, easily accounting for the Toowoomba Bears.

The Wheatmen ran in nine tries to one in a convincing performance at John Ritter Oval on Saturday.

A rusty start with plenty of penalties and errors conceded kept the scoreline close in the opening half hour.

But a late onslaught of tries before half time gave the champions a comfortable 35-0 lead at the break .

Dalby ran in four more tries in the second half while maintaining a solid defence.

The Bears toiled for most of the game, showing moments of promising with good counter-attacking rugby.

A late consolation try for the Bears ended the game with the scoreline at 61-7.

Dalby fly-half Dan Merker was accurate with his boot, kicking eight from nine conversions in the win.

There was a good crowd at John Ritter Oval as the club celebrated Old Boys' Day.

There was plenty of blue and gold in the crowd, which the club hopes will be a feature all year.

Coach Nathan Bradley said he was pleased with the round one win.

"We had a couple of premiership guys on the bench and when they came on they made a big difference,” Bradley said.

"That team worked out we weren't going well in the first ten or 15 minutes but they worked it out themselves.”

The Dalby B-grade side also enjoyed a comfortable win over the Toowoomba Bears. The Wheatmen are striving to compete in a third consecutive grand final this season, and opened the year with a 55-5 win.

The Downs Rugby season has this weekend off for the Easter break.


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