South Aussie’s MGRL Summer 9’s 2015/16 Round 3
In Game 1, Blue Lake Knights defeated Naracoorte Jets 78-22. Every time these two teams have met, the quality of game has been fantastic, with plenty of big hits and plenty of smooth plays. Again from the onset the spectators were treated to some great football. With teams barely having long enough to work up a sweat, Jets Tui Makoare crossed for the first try of the game. Some of the Knight’s new players were getting a firsthand experience of what rugby league is about, facing the always consistent and solid Jets. But it did not take long for Knight’s new recruit Karl Schaefer, to cross for the Knight’s first try. This opened the door for the Knights who scored three tries in four minutes with one apiece to Knights newcomers Matt Duncan and Patty Coshan. With the Knights losing both subs in the first 15 minutes of the games, it looked like the pressure was going to be on them for the remainder of the match. But some hard work in defence saw a couple of critical handovers by the Jets leading to Jay Drakeley crossing in the 19th minute to give the Knights a four tries to one lead. But as expected the Jets did not give up easy, and answered quickly with a try of their own in the 22nd minute. With a bit of wind in their sails, the Jets heads lifted with young gun Daysharn Makoare-Whannga crossing minutes later to put the Jets back in range of the Knights. After some loose defence and some unusual poor kick and chase, the Knights Lelo Baleni was able to steal a last minute try to make the halftime score 26-18 Knights way.
Trailing by 10 points, the Jets were looking at coming out hard after halftime but the Knights Tom Dolan took less than a minute to open the scoring with a nice 70 metre sprint down the ground to cross under the posts. The Jets were not ready to lay down and roll over, and replied with a try to Steve Anderson only minutes later. But no matter what the Jets threw at the Knights, they were able to answer. The Knights defence held up under some fantastic attacking plays by the Jets, who were just unlucky not to be able to convert their attack to points. The Knights however were able to convert their attacking efforts to points with a total of 10 tries for the second half to take out a strong win. Try scorers for the half included newcomer to the game Matt Duncan with four tries, a hatrick to Lelo Baleni, and one try apiece to Trust Dube, Donny Wood, Jay Drakeley, Karl Schafer.
In Game 2, Horsham Panthers won their first match of the season defeating South East Dragons 52-32 at their homeground of Pimpinio. It was a hot afternoon which made life hard for the traveling Dragons who competed against a Panthers’ side which had a full bench for the first time in the 2015-16 Season. This allowed the Panthers to make plenty of substitutes and keep their legs as fresh as possible, which paid off late in the game when the forwards were able to lead the charge. The score changed a number of times throughout the game, with the teams deadlocked at 22-all at halftime. However after the main break, it was the Panthers who found a higher gear as they got on top of their opponents. Panthers James Bird was tireless as he ran through the forwards, along with Jayden Gascoyne. Both Panthers broke the Dragons’ line and gained plenty of ground, which opened up space for the backs to run into and set-up a best on ground performance by James Kalms who scored five tries. Other Panthers try-scorers included Captain Josh Hiku and Erik Niyo with two tries each, and Aiden Love and Sean McMaughan with one try apiece.
Coach Rob Gascoyne said he was ecstatic to get the Panthers first win for the 2015-16 Season under their belt. “They trained hard and put in a lot of blood sweat and tears to pull it together,” Mr Gascoyne said. “It was a very tight first half and a see-sawing game that was up and down with lead changes. I got into them at halftime and thankfully they responded.”
He praised the efforts of recent recruit Jason Bird who led the forward pack all day and created opportunities for the Panthers to score. “Jason Bird hit the lines well and tackled really hard,” Mr Gascoyne said. “For a bloke coming from Aussie Rules, playing in his second game, he did really well. His effort was extremely valuable for the team.” The Panthers now turn their focus to their next match where a number of players will not be unavailable for the road-trip to Mount Gambier. However despite the likely loss of up to five players, the confidence boosting win has given the Panthers plenty to be optimistic about.
Round 4 will see rugby league back at Apollo Soccer Grounds in Mount Gambier, with Jets verse Panthers and Knights verse Dragons on Saturday October 31st. In the Women’s Tackle, Storm will take on Jets for their second game of the season.