KEY MAN: Hammers' fullback Owen Dugdale was one of the stand-outs for the home side as they proved too strong for the Noosa Dolphins on Friday.
KEY MAN: Hammers' fullback Owen Dugdale was one of the stand-outs for the home side as they proved too strong for the Noosa Dolphins on Friday. Troy Jegers

Gympie Hammers beat Dolphins to end 20-year drought

RUGBY UNION: The Gympie Hammers clinched their first win in almost 20 years over Noosa at the weekend, routing the Dolphins 29-0 before a home crowd on Friday night.

"It was sort of a milestone for us. Our defence was outstanding,” Hammers coach Laurence Epstein said.

"I think it's the first time this season where all the guys have played for the full 70 minutes.”

Gympie Hammers - #8 Ariki Edwards
Gympie Hammers - #8 Ariki Edwards Troy Jegers

The Dolphins went into the game having lost just one game this season and Gympie needed a strong performance.

"We have been implementing a structure and the guys are starting to understand it and buy into it,” Epstein said.

"The structures focus on working on the forwards carrying the ball well, maintaining possession and getting over the game line.

Gympie Hammers - #1 Tim Erbs
Gympie Hammers - #1 Tim Erbs Troy Jegers

"We have also been working hard on defence and our line speed in defence.”

It was not the only big achievement on the field, with fullback Owen Dugdale scoring his third hat-trick of the season.

READ MORE

- The Hammers biggest stress in the 2019 season

- Hammers enjoying strong numbers in landmark season

"It was one of my best games. It is one of those games where you feel like nothing will go wrong,” Dugdale said.

Epstein said he was proud of Dugdale's achievement.

"Owen has been one of our best all year,” he said.

Gympie Hammers - #16 Ormand KC King
Gympie Hammers - #16 Ormand KC King Troy Jegers

"He is one of those players that every time he gets the ball he looks like he is going to do something exciting.”

The Hammers started with a high intensity warm-up session which they carried into the game.

"We brought that to the start of the game,” Dugdale said.

Gympie Hammers - #21 Josh Brady
Gympie Hammers - #21 Josh Brady Troy Jegers

"We defended really well. Running hard and putting them on the back foot gave everyone a boost of confidence.”

Epstein could not find fault in the team, but the new structures will be tested this Friday in the annual Bone of Contention match against Nambour.

Gympie Hammers - #10 Callum Phillips
Gympie Hammers - #10 Callum Phillips Troy Jegers

"Noosa were not at full strength. They had a lot of Colts players as they were short but Nambour will be a different proposition and a big physical team,” he said.

"I couldn't fault their effort. Since I have been coaching them that was one of their best all-round performances.

Gympie Hammers - #5 Ryan Gottke
Gympie Hammers - #5 Ryan Gottke Troy Jegers

"The key is to maintain possession and be patient.”

Gympie v Nambour this Friday, 8.15pm, at Jack Stokes.