Raugby League: Oldham punish Bloem for late tackle: Doncaster pay for dismissal while Wigan maintain their perfect record

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The Independent Online
Oldham . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .44

Doncaster . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8

OLDHAM played with all the urgency of a side who realised just how vital it was to gain their first victory of the season at Watersheddings yesterday.

They were helped enormously, however, by the moment of recklessness that saw Doncaster's South African full-back, Jamie Bloem, sent off after only 12 minutes. Bloem, outstanding for the Dons during their impressive start to the season, took out Mike Kuiti with a late, high tackle after he had released the ball to set up Oldham's first try for Gary Lord.

Most eyes had followed the ball and missed the impact, but a touch-judge's report and the overdue clampdown on the plague of high tackles in the early weeks of the season were enough to ensure that Bloem would take no further part.

Doncaster's precarious discipline was their worst failing and they played 10 minutes of the first half with only 11 men after Sonny Whakarau was sent to the sin-bin.

Oldham, battered by the opposition in their first four matches, were invited to take advantage and duly did so.

Paul Topping, who finished with six goals, went over for their second try and when Martin Crompton followed up his own kick after exploiting the absence of Bloem, Oldham were comfortably placed.

Doncaster showed only brief flashes of the strong running and alert support play that have brought them victories over St Helens, Widnes and Wakefield and their chance of making even a modest comeback disappeared when Brendan Carlyle had a try disallowed for a double movement.

In six minutes of the second half, Oldham released all their pent-up frustration, sweeping in for three tries and slightly overstating the extent of their rehabilitation.

A long kick and chase and a fortunate bounce off the post gave Darren Abram the first of the quickfire treble. A flowing 60-yard move produced another for Shaun Irwin and the clever and constructive Crompton started and finished the move for the third.

After Ian Sherratt, an effective and robust leader of Oldham's pack, was sin-binned, Doncaster briefly got into the game when some smart backing up created the position for Glyn Lingard to score.

But Oldham, who now have an almost equally significant match at Hull next Sunday, finished with stylish tries from Joe Faimalo and Nigel Heslop to leave their coach, Andy Goodway, a profoundly relieved man. 'We still struggled at times, but at least it's a start,' he said.

Oldham: Heslop; Jones, Irwin, Abram, Ransom; Topping, Crompton; Sherratt (Richards, 70), Clarke, Parr, Faimalo, Lord, Kuiti (Richards, 30; Gartland, 63).

Doncaster: Bloem; Okiwe (Ellis, 46), Evans, Pennant, Tomlinson; Green, Carlyle (Lingard, 55); Jackson, Whakarau, Lingard (Manning, 9), Miller, Matautia, Turner.

Referee: S Cross (Hull).

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