By Dan Henderson, Director of Rugby
Back on home soil with a point to prove, the player focus and preparation over the last two weeks had been a good step-up, we just needed to see it transfer to the pitch.
The day began with a struggle as 4th Grade numbers were very poor meaning most of the 3rd graders who turned up early were needed to field a side. The same lads then backed up in 3rds so we were on the back foot from the start. The side produced some great rugby, but as the game wore on the legs ended up being the difference. I have no doubt this team would have won the match if several players didn’t have to play two full matches.
Colts again produced a solid performance against a powerful Knox side. Remembering Colts have won three of our last four matches; filled with belief this side showed signs of great structure, defence and determination linking well with some new combinations.
With a major stoppage and fear of a neck injury to key player Will Brindle, both teams were moved out to the No.2 pitch (Taplin) where Knox drew our players into a very messy ‘smack-talking’ game and managed to get under the skin of our lads and win the game.
2nd grade produced an outstanding win and are showing signs of really understanding roles and game shape. With the return of a few players the momentum should really begin to build.
The highlight was seeing the team’s reaction under pressure with seconds left and the game in the balance. A turn-over in Drummoyne’s favour followed by an offload that saw a prop run some 40m with a defender gaining – only to make a perfectly weighted kick, which saw us go end-to-end, scoring under the posts and rightfully celebrating!
1st grade’s attention to detail and focus to some key areas over the last four training sessions really showed dividends against Knox who had beaten us in our last two matches.
Players were keen to honour the veterans and restore the confidence required to execute a very simple game plan producing some great direct rugby, finding opportunity all over the pitch.
Recognition and animation can be hard things to maintain in dominant performances, and the smallest lapse in concentration saw Knox find wind for their sails allowing them to regain some confidence that was lacking in the first half.
But steadying the ship is what all good captains do, asking the team leaders to get the game back under control, and that’s exactly what was needed to close out the match.
Off to Shammies next round – who can never be taken lightly.