We travelled to Port Douglas with only A grade playing. Unfortunately, Port was depleted by 4 of their run on forwards due to a car breakdown.
JCU was also missing players with outstanding utility Cieran Connelly, (stepping up from Reserve grade last year), coming from the second row last game having to fill in at inside centre, and Paul Spinelli from openside flanker in Ressies to play on the wing. Andre Klink, normally a winger, filled in at outside centre. Rookie Luke Ratcliffe stepped up from Reserve grade to loose head prop, and even tried his hand at tight head later in the game. Pushing for permanent spots, we saw Impressive cameos came from bench players, Navy man Eugene Connelly, now rehabbed and starting to get fit Mosese Naikatini, and the impactful and hard-working Reece Phillips. These latter players helped us keep our momentum in the second half.
With the wind behind them, Port contested with the will to win, and after 15 minutes put the first points on the board with a well kicked centre-field penalty from 35m out. Our well organised backline responded with 3 tries, and the hungry forward pack with 6 tries, to close out the match with a bonus point 57-3 win.
It was a good win, not for the scoreline, but because we maintained our concentration for 80 minutes and improved in the targeted areas of our game.
Score: JCU 57 – Port Douglas 3
Man of the Match:
3 went to Cieran Connelly for his 2 tries and mid-field defensive effort,
2 to tight head lock Jesse Kautu for his improvement in scrummaging and physicality, and
1 to Andre Klink for a barn storming debut at outside centre.
Managers Mug was earned by Bradley Manoi’s kicking!!