Mariners 14 – 34 Bulls
JCU went into this game full on, not using our lack of depth and inexperience on the day as an excuse. Missing key players and carrying a few injuries, we wanted to bring up the surprise win against whom many consider the top side again this year.
Unfortunately we did not make the best of our opportunities in the first half, engaging in some individual play and poor decision making, coupled with some dropped ball. Our first try came from good defensive pressure especially from centre Suma Nona, who was rewarded with the ball popping up for him to gather and score un-chased, under the posts. Barron hit straight back scoring in the corner. We again pressed their line for Nick Cameron to dive over near the posts. Defence was key on both sides, and we held them till near half-time when they again scored in the corner. However, neither of their tries were converted so we went to half-time up 14 -10. We won all our ball in the set plays and some of theirs as well, probably an unexpected outcome from our smaller pack.
Some time into the second half, Barron edged ahead 15-14, and then later on 20 -14 as we showed signs of needing replacements. Each try was scored in the corners, as our defence in field held. The difference in the game came as both benches took the field and they were able to finish the stronger, fielding experienced players against our inexperience, and setting up two converted tries to finish 34 – 14. Although the score line looks ominous, our lack of depth on the day, was always going to test us in the last 10 minutes.
The forward pack again showed they play above their weight and kept us in the game. Although showing an edge in set plays, they will improve further.
Man of the match Points
Although Bryce and Claude were well on top in the stats, 3 went to Nick Cameron for his robustness and discipline in contact, and alertness in loose play and scoring the try.
2 points to Kai Lowah for his work at tight head in the scrums and a much improved performance in aggressive ball running.
1 point to Suma Nona, having to play in the centres with a variety of partners, and for his defensive pressure and try.
Managers Mug. It takes some grit to play in the middle of a scrum with a sore lower back – Liam Duncan
Tries:- one each to Suma Nona, and Nick Cameron
Conversions: 2 from 2 to Bryce Stanley