Match Report - Sunbury 2011 VRL Frist Grade Premiers
Sunbury United Tigers have been awarded the 2011 VRL First Grade Premiership after an enthralling victory over North West Wolves on Sunday 4th September at Fregon Reserve. The victory could have went either way as the scores were locked at 26 all after regular time, however the Tigers showed too much class to overcome the gutsy Wolves outfit 32 – 26 with a try in an extra time thriller.
The Wolves came out firing from the kick off, making good meters through the middle and they immediately went on the attack. They Wolves looked hungrier than the Tigers and it resulted in the first try of the match, Wolves skipper Thomas Webb forcing his way over from dummy half to take a 4-0 lead within the first 5 minutes of the match.
A couple of poor 5th tackle options from the Tigers gave possession to the Wolves who were able to capitalize through Peter Iese barnstorming his way over the line to score the second try of the match. The conversion was unsuccessful leaving the scores at 8-0.
A Wolves mistake and then 2 consecutive penalties gave Sunbury a chance to attack North West’s try line. They did manage to cross, however the try was disallowed by Referee Monty Beecroft as the ball was dropped. The Wolves made them pay for the missed opportunity as they were next to score and extend their lead even further; some good ball movement found left centre Kody Simeki who drew in the Tigers winger to open the gap for Sam Lalatoa, who still had some work to do to find the try line. The conversion was successful by Eugene Mihaere, The Wolves now in a great position at 14-0.
With little time left before the break, the game intensified through some heavy defense. Sunbury looked eager to get on the board before half time, and with 1 minute remaining, a short ball from the ruck found Jonathan Lima to bust through a tackle and muscle his way across the line for the Tigers first try of the match. Jason Naumoski converted right on half time to make the scores 14-6 in favour of the Wolves.
The Wolves came out howling after the break; a huge set of 6 from the kick off made 100 meters and caught the Tigers in goal to force a drop out. The Wolves looked to have scored in the corner however a forward pass denied the try. After handling errors from both teams, Sunbury found themselves working out from their own half. At the half way line five eighth Joe Kamana split the Wolves defense, flicked the ball to Eddie Fa’amausili who was tackled in prime attacking position. A penalty then gave the Tigers another set at the Wolves line, however they only required 1 tackle as Damian Paila forced his way over the line from the tap restart. The attempt at goal was unsuccessful taking the scores to 14-10.
A loose carry from Sunbury turned the ball over and immediately the Wolves bounced back. Halfback Dean McDonald took on the line with a left foot step, splitting the defense to score adjacent to the posts. Eugene Mihaere converted his second for the day, the scores now at 20-10.
With 13 minutes remaining, Sunbury were in need of a try, and it was backrower Jesse Parete that delivered, finding the line in the corner. Jason Naumoski converted the try from the sideline to take them back within 4 points. The Tigers confidence was growing, after the kick off, working out from their half, Joe Kamana accelerated through the defensive line and beat the fullback in a brilliant 60 meter try. Naumoski again converted taking the Tigers to the lead for the first time of the match, 22-20.
All the momentum was now with the Tigers, from the kick off; a huge run from Herman Bahn made 50 meters. The ball shifted to the right and found centre Damian Paila who provided a great flick pass to Jason Naumoski who kicked the ball down the touch line, re-gathered with a superb pick up to score in the corner. Unable to convert his own try from the sideline, Sunbury now lead 26-20 with 5 minutes remaining.
In the next set, the Tigers made a costly error allowing the Wolves a chance to attack. The ball found Saipani Aiolupo who was too hard to stop as he charged his way over to score a vital try for the Wolves. Eugene Mihaere was cool under the pressure as he split the uprights to level the scores 26 all with 1 minute remaining.
A Wolves mistake gifted Sunbury a final attacking opportunity; however an error gave the ball back to the Wolves. A missed field goal attempt from Ashley Lanfranchi after the siren had sounded was the last play of regular time.
Both teams had their chances in the first 5 minutes of extra time however it was the Tigers that were able to find the match winner after Steve Liki broke the line with a strong run to score, Jason Naumoski converted to make the scores 32-26. No tries were scored in the final 5 minutes of extra time; therefore the final score of 32-26 remained in the VRL 2011 First Grade Grand Final.
Sunbury’s Joe Kamana was named Player of the Match.
SENIOR GRAND FINAL RESULTS
Fregon Reserve, Sunday 4th September 2011
* First Grade – SUNBURY UNITED TIGERS 32 def NORTH WEST WOLVES 26
* Second Division – CRAIGIEBURN PHOENIX 34 def ALTONA ROOSTERS 28
* Women’s Tag – DOVETON STEELERS 20 def NORTH WEST WOLVES 4
JUNIOR GRAND FINAL RESULTS
Fregon Reserve, Saturday 3rd September 2011
* U18 – ALTONA ROOSTERS RED 27 def SOUTH EASTERN TITANS 20
* U16 – NORTHERN THUNDER 20 def CASEY CHIEFS 16
* U14 –CRAIGIEBURN PHOENIX 24 def SOUTH EASTERN TITANS 8
* U12 –SOUTH EASTERN TITANS 14 def WAVERLEY OAKLIEGH PANTHERS 6
* G/T –NORTHERN THUNDER 16 def ALTONA ROOSTERS 10
* U11 – SOUTH EASTERN TITANS 24 def CRAIGIEBURN PHOENIX 12