Mareeba striker Ruiz scores five goals
MAREEBA striker Paul Ruiz scored five goals in a 7-0 victory that raised serious concerns about Stratford's finals hopes.
After starting the season winless through four games, the Dolphins rode a wave of good fortune, good tactics and good play to jointly lead the competition going into Saturday night.
But all of that abandoned them at Borzi Park against a Bulls team that finally clicked in what has been a rough debut season for player-coach Josh Ruiz.
Going into the half at 3-0 there was little doubt the Bulls would win. The margin of victory was a surprise even to the coach.
"I didn't think we would win by seven, they are a very good team," Ruiz said after the game.
"But I wasn't surprised with the way that we performed. We've been working on that all year and it just came through tonight.
"We really showed what we are capable of and this should give those young guys a lot of confidence."
His brother Paul struggled to find words to describe his five-goal tally.
"I can remember thinking after I got two, I might get the hat-trick," Ruiz said.
"Then after that I wasn't really thinking about it. The goals came so quickly, I didn't have time to.
"I really have to give a lot of credit to the rest of the guys. The distribution was incredible.
"Everyone was just great tonight."
Everyone from a Bulls perspective, that is.
For Lohmann, it will be a week of contemplation before taking on the league-leaders Marlin Coast.
One of the key players expected to miss the match is Michael Van Hooren, who injured his hamstring against Mareeba.
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Surrounded: Southside's Wayne Mann and Luke Zappala move in to tackle JCU's Ryan Aspinal in a premier reserve league match at Fretwell Park yesterday. JCU won the match 5-0. Picture: BRENDAN FRANCIS