SOUTHERN Lakes suffered their biggest loss of the season when swamped 37-7 by Muswellbrook in their Divisional Rugby match at Highbrook Park on Saturday.
Muswellbrook produced their best for their 50th anniversary celebrations, and were cheered on by former players as part of their Old Boys day.
Southern Lakes back-rower Kelsy Johnson said Muswellbrook simply out-enthused the Hammerheads.
“Muswellbrook started the game well; the forwards making big metres and the backs making good runs,” he said.
The home team led 18-nil at the break. They kicked on in the second stanza to score a comfortable win.
Johnson said halfback Paul Parker was the Hammerheads’ best.
“Paul played with his heart on his sleeve. He did a lot in defence and directed the forwards around the park all game,” Johnson said.
Forwards James Burton and Kurt Mckinnon – in his first season back at Southern Lakes from the Morisset Bulls rugby league team - were also strong in defence.
Muswellbrook club president Greg Buckley said Southern Lakes were still the team to beat.
“This was a big test for us against the top-of-the-table Hammerheads. The last time we met was in Round 3 at Morriset, and Southern Lakes took the points with a narrow 19-17 win,” Buckley said.
The Muswellbrook crowd ensured the Hellers were playing high on emotion, he said.
“In front of a vocal home crowd of about 250 to 300 it was a great day for the Heelers. The game was played in great spirit and Southern Lakes provided tough opposition.
“We know the Hammerheads are the team to beat in 2017 and we look forward to meeting them at some point during the final series in September.”
The Hammerheads will take on third-placed Cooks Hill 1 at Gibson Oval, Morisset, this Saturday at 3pm.