Somewhere between round eight, the long weekend break and round nine, the first grade competition was reduced to eight teams with the unfortunate withdrawl of the Moss Vale Dragons.
But as disappointing it is to see the loss of a great club, the caravan moves and the three games on the weekend offered up some excellent rugby league for local fans.
Narellan Jets defeated Campbelltown City 22-10 at Fullwood Reserve, leaving the Kangaroos still in search of their first win of the season.
Down south at Victoria Park, Picton, the mighty Magpies defeated Mittagong Lions 26-12.
And as MIKE SHEAN reports, Camden finished the halfway mark of the season on top of the ladder, following a gritty come-from-behind win at home over Thirlmere on Sunday afternoon.
The Rams held off the Roosters in winning 12-10 in cold and occasionally wet conditions at Harvey Shephard Field.
Neither side was willing to give anything away early on as they fought to get control in the difficult conditions.
The opening try of the match came on 10 minutes, when Thirlmere’s five eighth Dayne Craig scored from dummy half, following a long run downfield.
Craig crossed beside the uprights, giving the Roosters a 6-0 lead.
That was the only try of the first half, as the Roosters and Rams traded blows in an old fashioned arm wrestle.
Both sides had chances to score points, but the defences held strong.
Halftime saw Camden coach Scott Borg visibly disappointed with his side and calling for a better effort in the second 40 minutes.
Whatever Borg said seemed to work, as the Rams came out firing in the second half.
Camden lifted their intensity, but this was matched by the Roosters.
Thirlmere winger Allan Shipley extended the lead for the Roosters 10 minutes into the second half, but a spate of injuries presented a threat to their chances of holding on for victory.
Captain coach Jake Mullaney, who watched from the dugout with his foot in a moon boot, would have been pleased with the opening 50 minutes, but wary that 10-0 might not be enough.
Camden finally opened their account through backrower Jack Davey, with his first try of the day coming just before the final 20 minutes of play and providing a relatively easy conversion for Chris Browne.
Davey scored his second try of the day 10 minutes later, putting the Rams in front 12-10 for the first time in the game.
Roosters put on a big push to regain the lead, but Camden were able to hold on.
Scott Borg was a relieved man after the match, admitting the conditions didn’t allow for open football from either side.
He admitted a dry field would have seen a different style of football from both sides, and possibly a different result.
RESULTS – ROUND 9 – FIRST GRADE
Campbelltown City 10 Narellan Jets 22;
Camden Rams 12 Thirlmere Roosters 10;
Picton Magpies 26 Mittagong Lions 12.
Campbelltown City 4 Narellan 40;
Camden 32 Thirlmere 0;
Picton 4 Mittagong 4;
The Oaks Tigers 16 Moss Vale Dragons 20.
Camden 20 Thirlmere 12;
Picton 14 Mittagong 28;
Mt Annan Oakdale Knights 60 Moss Vale 4.
GSR WOMEN’S TROPHY
Thirlmere 14 Windang 4;
Camden 8 Corrimal 14;
Picton 6 Helensburgh 38.
Picton 26 Mittagong 4;
Camden 58 Narellan White 0;
City Blue 0 Narellan Blue 14;
The Oaks 10 City Gold 4.
Warragamba Wombats 22 Mt Annan Knights 30;
Oran Park Chargers 24 Thirlmere 18;
Picton 15 Bowral Blues 6;
Campbelltown City 6 Narellan 22.
NEXT WEEK – ROUND 10 – FIRST GRADE
Oakdale v The Oaks (Sat 5.30pm);
Narellan vs Camden (Sat 7pm);
Thirlmere vs Picton (Sun 3pm).