George Hancock and Jono Sharkey sent a timely reminder to their New Holland Agriculture Cup rivals on Saturday after the pair put on a play-making clinic in a 50-21 thumping of Mudgee at Cale Oval, maintaining the defending premiers' place on top of the 2019 ladder.
(min cost $8)
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The duo was near untouchable in the opening 10 minutes as the hosts raced to a 24-0 lead in that time.
Sharkey scored two of his side's tries and set up another for giant lock Lachie McCutcheon while Hancock produced the five-pointer of the game, jinking through the Wombats defence before showing a clean pair of heels on a blazing 70-metre run to the line.
And while Mudgee managed to stem the points hemorrhaging in the first half, even getting a converted try of their own through Scott Hedrick to make it 24-7 at the break, the early jump was too much to pull back.
A lot of the chat around the Central West Rugby Union tier two premiership has been about CSU pair Regan Hughes and Jack Keppell, the students knocking off Narromine earlier in the season and look to be the Gorillas' main rivals to back-to-back crowns.
But the Hancock-Sharkey combination looks in ominous form as the back end of the season draws near.
"It's been a couple of years now together ... we certainly enjoy playing together," Hancock said looking at his halves combination with Sharkey.
The gun No.10 is adamant Narromine, on top of the ladder after round 11, is only going to get better, too.
"We've been talking about it at training knowing games aren't going to get easier from here on and teams are going to improve, we're hoping we're the same," he added.
"It's going to be tough at the end of the year and we'll be expecting (CSU) to lift."
Hancock and the Gorillas had similar expectations going into the Mudgee game on Saturday, too, declaring the Mudgee pack a physical one the hosts had to meet head-on early in the piece.
Narromine obviously did that with their early blitzkrieg but Mudgee scored first points of the second half through Dave Jessiman and at 24-14 had a decent chance of pushing the Gorillas.
It was tough, but we managed to absorb that pressure and get on top. Getting off to that good start helped- Gorillas five-eighth George Hancock.
It was only a fleeting chance though.
Wearing a commemorative jumper honouring the 2009 Blowes Clothing Cup side he was part of, Ryan Pratten turned back the clock on 50 minutes and laid on a try for Scott Robertson before the floodgates opened, McCutcheon and Hancock completing their doubles while Jakob Brennan also crossed late.
Title-winning Gorillas prop Charlie Tuck capped the victory with a conversion after the full-time siren to bring a smile to his 2009 teammates.
"It was never going to be an easy game," Hancock continued.
"Mudgee have a physical pack and they're prepared to grind it out. It was tough, but we managed to absorb that pressure and get on top, which was pleasing. Getting off to that good start helped."
Mudgee prop Tom Dunstan said Saturday's clash with the defending premiers wasn't the ideal time for the Batties to battle one of their notoriously slow starts.
"They're a clinical team and once they get out in front it's hard to get back into it," he said, the Wombats poised to finish the regular season in third.
"We need to stop making little mistakes and play the game in their half. We definitely need to start better too - it's not fun playing catch-up.
"Hopefully we can drive it home at the back end of the year and get another crack at these guys again."
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