Whiskey Jacks dominate in return to action

Daily Herald File Photo Pelasio Vereakula of the Prince Albert Whiskey Jacks used his speed to get around members of the Saskatoon Gophers last year.

In recent years, the Prince Albert Whiskey Jacks have shown some rust after having some time off.

That wasn’t the case Saturday afternoon at Max Clunie Field.

In their first game since June 23, the Whiskey Jacks turned in a dominating performance as they improved to 3-2 for the season with a 61-12 win over the Saskatoon Gophers.

“In the past when we’ve had some time off, we’ve really struggled at the end of the game with our overall fitness,” coach Dominic Elsbury said.

“That was something we really worked on in practice over the last three or four weeks. We’ve tried to mimic the scenarios that we will face in a game so that we aren’t struggling out there in the last 10 minutes.”

Although the game was done over four quarters instead of two halves due to the low number of players the Gophers had in attendance, it allowed the Whiskey Jacks to experiment a bit over the course of the match.

“We worked a lot on our skills today, especially as we have some big games in the next few weeks,” Elsbury said.

“There was one or two things that we’d work on in each quarter. For example, our lineout play was really good at the start of the game, so we changed our focus to our defensive play as the afternoon went along.”

Tristen Franc, Pelasio Vereakula and Tuks Ratuki each had a pair of tries for the Whiskey Jacks, with Verakula also having a pair of successful converts.

Colm Courane, Ashton Milligan and Eli Kirkloy also had tries in the win, which saw Courane kick five converts.

Byron Ferrell had all of the points for the Gophers in the loss.

It won’t be as long of a wait for the Whiskey Jacks’ next game, as they’ll return to their home field Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. to take on the Saskatoon Wild Oats.

“We went down to play them in Saskatoon six weeks ago and they won by a comfortable margin (35-7), so we’re looking to turn the tables on them on our field,” Elsbury said.