It was a day when we were vulnerable in both grades because of unavailability of a lot of players. However, we had the numbers to get by, with many playing out of position, especially in Reserve grade.
In the Reserve grade game, it didn’t help that we lost two players showing impact, Jordan Moss within the first 2 minutes of the game, and Lachie Aruha shortly afterwards, both with possible season ending injuries, and so unavailable to return to the game or bench for A grade. However, showing some ticker, the side went on to win against Innisfail in a closely fought battle, 15-13. Well handled under difficult circumstances.
A Grade started against Brothers with the wind at their backs, and judicious and accurate kicking by new flyhalf Michael Vanhooren put them into an attacking part of the field where Lance Kupa’s speed scored in the right corner from a line-out set play. Bryce Stanley converted from the sideline, 7 – 0. A breakout behind the opposition ruck saw Bradley Manoi skilfully weaving through the cover defence, and hallelujah! deliver the final pass to a supportive Christian Aruha to score under the posts. 14 – 0. It was pleasing to see the hard working lock Jesse Kautu gaining in confidence and being rewarded with a drive at the line and scoring his first try of the season. 21 – 0. Captain Claude Thomsen then took advantage of a penalty 8 metres out and with a quick tap and selective running line scored near the posts almost untouched. 28 – 0.
At half-time, the challenge was to play to the game and not to the scoreboard for another 40 minutes. Brothers had used their big forwards to pick and drive and soften us up, but the boys had defended stoutly, not letting them gain momentum. A tactical change saw Brothers use their backline a bit more but it wasn’t until mid-half that that paid dividends when a defensive lapse saw us not take the man with the ball, and they scored out wide, slotting the conversion. 28 – 7. Jesse Kautu again scored from ruck play, and a bustling run from wing replacement Nathan Kei added another, but Bryce (maybe suffering foot-itis confusion syndrome?) missed the extras. The final score of 38 – 7 gave us a bonus point win.
It has to be said that our defensive line-out and scrummaging held a much, much, bigger pack, and nullifying that contributed to our win.
Man of the Match points went to:-
1 Bradley Manoi for playing two full games and showing some maturity in his game.
2 each to the locks, Cieran Connelly and Jesse Kautu for their tireless effort in defence and attack and their effectiveness in set plays.
3 went to Michael Vanhooren for orchestrating the win.
Managers Mug was given to rookie outside centre, Suma Nona