Collins Park demolition

Narrabri hammers the Warriors 126-6 at home in third consecutive win

Blues five-eighth Brenton Cochrane scores the first of his six tries on Sunday

If there was any hope left of a fourth team in the Group Four Cup first grade competition troubling the dominant top-three, it was crushed on Sunday afternoon in round nine of the 2017 season.

The first-placed North Tamworth Bears took on the last-placed Wee Waa Panthers, the second placed Narrabri Blues hosted the fifth-placed Collegian Warriors, and the third-placed Gunnedah Bulldogs went head-to-head with the fourth-placed South West Robins.

Across those three matches the top three demolished the bottom three with a combined score of 312-20.

At Scully Park, Tamworth, the Bulldogs easily overcame the Robins 82-10, while across town at Jack Woolaston Oval the Bears demolished the Panthers 104-4.

But the biggest scoreline of the weekend saw the Blues outdo their fellow top-three rivals.

Narrabri welcomed Collegian to Collins Park, and sent them packing following a 126-6 mauling.

Those results saw the top-three remain unchanged – Bears ahead of the Blues and Gunnedah by two points, and the Blues ahead of Gunnedah on for and against difference.

Narrabri hosts Gunnedah in round 10 on Sunday, where unless there is a draw, one side will claim outright second spot.

If the Blues manage to do that they will be playing for equal first spot on the table the following weekend when they welcome North Tamworth to Collins Park.

Against Collegian the Blues ran in 22 tries throughout the match, and kicker Justin Knight slotted 19 of the 22 conversions to finish with 38 points in his return to the field after suffering an injury in round five against Gunnedah.

The side led 60-6 at the break after running in 10 converted tries in the opening 40 minutes.

In the second stanza Narrabri stepped up a gear.

They scored 12 tries, nine of which were converted, to win the half 66-0.

Like Knight, skipper Sean Russ, who lined up on the right centre, and second rower Brendan Davey performed well in their return to footy following injury layoffs.

The pair both eased back into the side with two tries each.

While all 17 players used by Blues coach John Rumsby were far too good for their opposition it was Brenton Cochrane who once again stood out as the key man.

He crossed for six tries in a man-of-the-match performance from five-eighth, which saw him earn three Group Four best and fairest points.

Centre Mitch Dening was also too classy for the Warriors, crossing for a hat trick of tries.

The other multiple tryscorer was Sam Sadler who bagged a brace.

The remaining seven tries were split evenly between Lachlan Cameron, Toby Bentley, Isaiah Adams, Jake Rumsby, Daniel Howe, Hayden Bell and Marshal Tighe.

Jake Rumsby was awarded two Group Four best and fairest points, and Knight picked up one in a clean sweep of the points for the Blues.

As the scoreline suggested Narrabri was dominant from start to finish.