JCU Vs Penhryn Sharks

In a day that marked the difficulties of country rugby, (notably work and family commitments) made worse by the new ARU rules of registration (which requires registration through their website which is quite unfriendly), for new and part time players, our Reserve grade was given a forfeit due to the forgoing, and we had 9 players missing out of our A grade squad.

After Penhryn had pushed this year’s favourites for the Premiership, Barron Bulls last week, we were up for a tough game in A grade. Penhryn’s handling let them down and gave us some free possession which was capitalised on with counter attack and field position, until Cameron Austen crossed thanks to some confusion in the defence caused by our pivot, untouched and with the conversion we led 7-0. This was pretty much the story of the first half, as we headed to the break 3 tries to one, Penhryn scoring from some physically committed pick and drive, and us from a beautiful little kick dribble and pick-up by winger Lance Kupa, and Claude Thomsen put into the gap from a quickly taken penalty.

Penhryn were more focussed in the second half and got into their game strength, scoring in their forwards again after a quick penalty following a sustained pick and drive which our boys had defended stoutly. Meantime, halfback Rob “Robdog” Rodokal had seen the opportunity and scored feeding off a forward drive, Liam Duncan back in his old spot of flanker for the day did the same, and the inside backs again used the space well to send Cameron Austen over. Try of the day was started deep in our own half from a turnover, and with a bewildering exchange of drawing and passing between backs and forwards which had the grandstand on its feet, we landed another cruelling 7 points.

Despite 4 forwards playing out of their usual positions, our set plays remained competitive and retained all our possessions, and even added some of theirs. Reserve grade loose head prop Luke Ratcliffe playing at tight head in A grade merits a mention, especially when you consider their heavier pack.

Man of the Match

3 went to open side flanker Bryce Stanley, who played out of his skin in attack and defence, doing the hard yards as well as popping up as the link player or defender when needed.

2 went to captain Claude Thomsen who as usual played well above his weight but kept everyone focussed for the 80 minutes; and

1 went to Liam Duncan who complemented the loose forward trio, and threw the perfect 100% in the lineout.

Manager’s Mug: In a day when no brain explosions occurred it was hard to find a Mug Play of the Day, which should have gone to five-eighth Michael Vanhooren for volunteering to play with a sprained ankle, but it ended up with reserve grade full-back Cameron Austen, playing at outside centre, for his “swanning” on the end of three try movements.

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