CENTRE Tyler Stevens isn’t quite sure just what has made the Queanbeyan Blues’ left-edge defence so devastatingly effective this season.
Winger Craig Wilkinson credits it in part to a few “left-side” dinners and the occasional trip to the ten pin bowling alley.
Both are lavish in their praise for former Canberra Raiders playmaker Marc Herbert and representative backrower Levi Freeman.
But whatever the recipe behind its success, the Blues’ strike rate down the left-hand touchline looms as perhaps the side’s most potent weapon heading into Sunday’s grand final showdown with the Queanbeyan Kangaroos.
At the Canberra Rugby League awards night on Monday, Stevens was honoured as this season’s top try scorer this season after crossing the stripe 20 times.
Between them, Stevens, Wilkinson, Herbert and Freeman have gone in for 47 tries in just 14 games.
With a tally of 208 points meanwhile, Wilkinson took out the award as the competition’s top point scorer.
“I’m not really sure why we work so well together, I think the fact that we all bring something different to the table helps,” Stevens said.
“Levi’s a big man out there who defends really well, Herbie’s a great playmaker and me and Wilko have got a bit of speed out wide.”
“We spend a bit of time together off the field as well so I think it helps that we all get on pretty well and enjoy playing with each other,” Wilkinson adds.
“It does come down to Herbie a lot as well though. He’s our strongest player and he gets a lot of good ball out to us on that side so for us it’s just about picking the right time to have a go.”
Stevens’ and Wilkinson’s points scoring prowess – the duo scored more than twice as many points as the entire West Belconnen Warriors side during the regular season – is even more impressive given neither was even playing rugby league last year.
Wilkinson is in his first year back on the footy field after a two-year break while Stevens switched codes from rugby union this season.
For Stevens, his first campaign with the Blues has brought a welcome break from the injury concerns that had previously plagued the former Australian Schoolboys rugby star.
For the first time in years, Stevens has played every minute of every game this season, a fact he said had contributed greatly to his try scoring efforts.
“Not having to constantly worry about niggles and injuries has been massive for me,” he said.
“The fact I haven’t had that playing on my mind and that I can just play footy and enjoy it, it’s really sparked my enjoyment to be out there again.”