The Yass Rams confirmed themselves as finals contenders with a thumping win over 2018 grand finalists, the Bungendore Mudchooks, at Victoria Park on the weekend.
Yass have had a good start to the year with wins over the Broulee Dolphins and the Mudchooks, and their only loss so far has come at the hands of competition favourites, the Taralga Tigers.
Rams inside-centre Andy Hewitt said that the win over the Mudchooks was fairly comfortable.
"We were down a few players, a few injuries, and we just wanted to get through the weekend with a win, but we ended up doing it pretty easy," Hewitt said.
"They were probably just down a bit on numbers and we though we had them pretty comfortably."
The difference on the day, Hewitt said, came down to a number of factors.
"We recruited really well with some quality players, some of the older players like Lionel Hayden have come back and boosted the side, and just a good pre-season with all the fellas has calculated up to a good start of the season," he said.
As has been the theme this year, the Rams got off to a strong start with four unanswered tries and a penalty goal in the first 30 minutes of the game.
The Mudchooks eventually responded in the 34th minute to make the score 29-8 at half time, however Mark Dowling crossed in the 46th minute to make the score 36-8 and put the score effectively out of Bungendore's reach.
This did not deter the Mudchooks, who showed the quality which made them grand final competitors last season, and they scored three tries in the second half, but Yass's lead proved too significant to overcome.
The win sends Yass into its clash against the Jindabyne Bushpigs in good form, however Hewitt knows that the Bushpigs are another side who are shaping up as potential finals contenders.
"We've got a feeling that they're very strong this year," Hewitt said.
"We're expecting them to be very strong down there. They've got a 20 year reunion and they like to play pretty fast, flowing footy, so we'll have to be on our game when we head down there."
Working in Yass's advantage is the fact that they will welcome back a number of players from injury absences over the next week and a half, although Jindabyne are currently at the top of the ladder with three wins from their three matches so far.
No matches will be played over the Easter weekend, and Hewitt said that the break, while not helpful for fitness, will be beneficial in giving injured Rams some time to recuperate.
The Yass Rams will play the Jindabyne Bushpigs at the Jindabyne Sport Ground on Saturday April 27 from 2.30pm.