By Lance Jenkinson
There are no certainties on a rugby league field, but if you are a Werribee Bears player at the moment, you can depend on your teammate.
Teamwork has been a feature of the Bears during their run of five wins in six games in the NRL Victoria first grade.
It was on show again for the Bears in a 52-12 thrashing of Sunbury Tigers at Langama Park on Saturday.
Bears coach Curtly Tuala is thrilled with the togetherness of his team in recent weeks.
“I put a lot of ownership on the players this week to just do the little things right,” he said.
“What that means is just keep turning up for your mate in both attack and defence.
“In defence, get numbers in the tackle and work hard from marker and keeping your bodies in motion, in attack, always being an option, always being a threat.”
To emphasis the point, Werribee had a massive nine individual tryscorers in its 10 tries in the win over Sunbury.
Only youngster Niko Patelesio scored multiple tries with two.
Tuala likes to see variety in his attack and show the opposition they have multiple avenues to the try line.
That is only possible if the Bears maintain a high work rate, which they showed against the Tigers.
Tuala was thrilled to see Patelesio cross the line twice and has forecast a big future for the young winger.
“Niko’s a promising talent, not just for our team, but for Victoria in general,” Tuala said.
“He gets himself into a zone where we call it ‘beast mode’ at training, where he just turns it on.”
Werribee went into the Sunbury game undermanned due to injuries and unavailability.
The Bears needed their leaders to stand up and captain Sepu Ryder and veteran Chase Hoare did just that.
Whatever Ryder asked of his teammates, he was willing to do himself.
“He’ll always push the question to himself and to the team about owning that responsibility on the field and making sure you’re fulfilling your role on the field,” Tuala said.
“He had a lot of good passes in his game that allowed a couple of our forwards to get over.
“His work rate in the middle is why I gave him the best player.”
Hoare was superb in the second row.
His experience brings a calmness over the Bears and he sets the tempo according to how his side wants to play.
“He just gives you so much in regards to leadership and understanding of how the game should be played, especially when we get into their green zone within their 40, playing that patient game and allowing us to build that pressure from there and sustain it.”
Huteau Aukuso has been a revelation for Werribee. The front rower was the pick of the Bears’ forwards.
“It’s his first year playing rugby league,” Tuala said.
“He’s been giving us so much impact over the past couple of weeks.
“He’s starting our sets so fast, pushing hard up on the ball and always turning up for his brothers on the field.”
Tuala also praised Werribee president Jarrod Buchanan, who does the unrewarded things behind the scenes to make life easier for the players.
“He’s not just the president, he’s the manager for our team and all the things he does for the club, the boys really appreciate it,” Tuala said.
Second-placed Werribee will hit the road to play Northern Thunder on Saturday.