Masterful performance

Tumut prop leads Blues to emphatic victory over Brothers

There was no stopping Zac Masters on Saturday, with the barnstorming front rower too big and strong for Wagga Brothers at Twickenham.

Zac Masters will be in the nightmares of Wagga Brothers players for some time, after the bullocking bookend dominated his rivals during Tumut’s 44-18 victory at Twickenham Oval on Saturday.

Whether it was with the ball in hand when on one of his rampaging runs, or in defence when seemingly manhandling Wagga attacking players; Masters was diabolical and reaffirmed his status as the competition’s number one front rower. 

The 23-year-old even crossed for two tries; the second of his efforts garnering a loud roar from the Madigan Hill. 

Masters was taking a regulation hit up from near halfway, before leaving two Wagga defenders in his wake.

The burly front rower then showed a turn of foot that would make the quickest of winger’s blush, outpacing Wagga fullback Cade Price to score next to the posts. 

Prior to this try, Masters was rattling some cages and even found himself in the sheds for 10 minutes, after being sin-binned for a high shot on hooker Aaron Wynn that found the usually tough rake carted off to hospital in an ambulance. 

Blues co-captain/coach Dean Bristow was in awe of Masters’ efforts and highlighted his importance to the team and the consistent nature of his performances for the Blues. 

“The forward pack we have complements him so well and he is obviously the leader of them, and he thrives in these conditions and I can’t speak highly enough of Zac,” Bristow said. 

“He does the hard yards and a lot of the time that hard work goes unnoticed, but he does this week in and week out for us and we wouldn’t be in this position without him.” 

Bristow believed that Masters really aimed up for Saturday’s contest, with the Blues now certain of a top two spot and second chance come finals after crushing Brothers.  

“He obviously looked forward to this clash and he will continue to build on it that’s for sure; he will only get better over the next few weeks,” Bristow said.

Masters didn’t want to focus on his own game though, and instead praised the Tumut pack in general, indicating it was the forwards who took the game out of the visitor’s hands in the opening stages. 

“I think everyone stood up today, we expected Brothers to come out firing and they did but we really stood up and took it to them and that really set the platform for us,” Masters said. 

When quizzed on scoring two tries, which were accompanied by tries to fellow forwards Jacob Sturt and Jed Pearce, Masters joked it was a rare occurrence to see half the forward pack scoring, before insisting his tries were owed to Tumut’s speed around the ruck. 

“It’s unheard of, I could easily get used to this,” Masters laughed. 

“Sometimes it falls in place, all of the other boys are doing great work and getting quick play the ball and it is easy to work off the back of that, so they deserve the credit if anything.”

In a separate battle played out at Twickenham on Saturday, Masters also got the upper hand on opposition front rower and reigning Group 20 player of the year, Hayden Philp. 

“I think front rowers generally aim to go at each other and obviously Philpy is a really good player and I knew he was going to turn up and play, as he does every week and it was a good hit out,” Masters said.

Masters and the Blues will have to lift again next week, when taking on the ladder-leading Tigers at Anzac Park, with the winner assured of the minor premiership and a home ground advantage in the first week of the finals.