Valleys halfback Gerome Burns looks to push a pass against Southern Suburbs in the Volunteers Cup. Photo: Bruce Clayton Photography
Valleys halfback Gerome Burns looks to push a pass against Southern Suburbs in the Volunteers Cup. Photo: Bruce Clayton Photography

Returning Roosters too strong for Tigers

RUGBY LEAGUE: Valleys has claimed bragging rights in the first all-Toowoomba clash of the Volunteers Cup.

Welcoming back a number of key names, the Roosters had too much firepower for Southern Suburbs, claiming a 32-16 victory at North Ipswich Reserve.

Dual TRL premiership winning captain Hnaloan Budden was welcomed back, along with Gerome Burns, Brock Diment, Dwayne Duncan, Jordan Drew, Dylan Haaijer, Reggie Munn and Junior Chong-Nee.

It was the recipe for a strong bounce-back performance, and that’s exactly what the Roosters did.

“It was obviously good to get that off the back,” coach Matt Schulze said.

“The boys are happy, but we’ve still got a lot of work to do.

“We’re happy with our defence. To keep Souths to 16 is good. They’re a side that attacks a lot and isn’t shy to try things.

“We still dropped way too much ball and took a lot of attacking opportunities away from ourselves. It’s a bit to do with us being underdone in terms of fitness, but if we can control the ball we’ll go better.”

Burns controlled the contest in the halves for Valleys, scoring two tries in the closing stages of the first half to put his side ahead 18-6.

Two tries after the break to Daniel Bain and Dylan Chown pushed the lead out further, before the Tigers managed to claw a couple of their own back before full time.

“Gerome was fantastic. He brings a lot of confidence and was really good, especially for his first game of the year. He didn’t play in any of our trials,” Schulze said.

“Hnaloan Budden was exceptional and played the full 80 minutes in the back row. He was concerned with his fitness before the game, but he was great. Brock Diment played well also.

“We’ve still got a couple that could come back. Some are starting to get an itch. The boys are having a good time.”

Gatton put in a much more polished display against West End after a heavy first-up defeat.

Despite a fightback from West End, Gatton again managed to tie up proceedings at 30-all in the closing stages of the contest, before a late try to the home side saw them sneak home 36-30.