Central Highlands Rugby League - Round 1 Review
What a great start to 2014! There were some cracking games of footy to start the 2014 season and this year, we might have a real competition on our hands! See below for all the results and reports for Round 1.
Emerald Tigers Ladies 28 defeated Clermont Bears Ladies 18
ETL Tries: Casey Watkins 3, Emma Holzwart, Julie Murchie
ETL Goals: Maria Rawiri 2, Denise Chaplin, Casey Watkins
CBL Tries: Carly Bell 2, Elle Stitt
CBL Goals: Codie Patterson 3
2014 was finally the year when the Central Highlands saw a Ladies competition form and what a competition it’s shaping up to be. In the first few trial matches, there have been some close games, but more importantly big hits, and that’s what the crowd wants to see!
Clermont got the early lead in the first half with some brilliance from the young fullback, Carly Bell and going into the break, the Bears Ladies were leading 18-6. Going into the second half, the story quickly changed with the Tigers Ladies scoring 2 quick tries to level up the score. The Tigers then went on to score two more tries before the full time siren which ended up giving them the first official win of the 2014 season. It was a sombre moment though for the Tigers with it being Julie Murchie’s last game before heading off to join the Defence Force.
Next Saturday, we see Clermont head to Middlemount to play the Pink Panthers and the Tigers have a Bye.
The match on Friday was a testament to all the hard working people who have tried to make the competition possible and Ladies football can only grow stronger with the immense support from the many players, coaches and supporters.
Middlemount Pink Panthers Ladies – Bye
Clermont Bears 36 drew Emerald Tigers 36
CB Tries: Nick Deaves 4, Sean Haufe 2, Max McPhee
CB Goals: Astin Nunan 3, Travis Bettridge
ET Tries: Isaiah Huet 3, Gavin Power 2, Ray Ebsworth, Brendon Kelly
ET Goals: Ray Ebsworth 4
A huge crowd packed the stands at Bear Park for the Season Opener, a Grand Final Rematch on Anzac Day. Before we saw the men kick off, a minute silence was held, along with the Last Post and the national anthem which was a true mark of respect and great spectacle to see the players lined up remembering those who had made the ultimate sacrifice for us to be here today playing or watching today’s match. It was also great to see also that the Clermont club generously donated $2 from each gate entry to the Returned and Services League of Australia. Anzac Day Footy was an experiment conducted by the Central Highlands Rugby League and has certainly paid off and will hopefully be something that continues into the future. Now onto the game…
The game started off slowly before Isaiah Huet from the Tigers broke away and scored the first try for the 2014 season. The Tigers didn’t have the lead for long though as Nick Deaves, the Clermont captain, bagged his first try for the night. The lead kept changing between both sides as it continued to be a try a piece and going into half time, the Clermont side trailed 16-14 with Nick Deaves the only one to trouble the scorers with scoring 4 tries in the first half. The second half resumed exactly the same as the first stirring up the crowd who were eager to see a side dominate. It continued to be neck and neck and with about 7 or 8 minutes to go, Brendon Kelly, the new Tigers halfback replacing Connor Jones, scored what could have been the match winner if Ray Ebsworth had packed the magic boots to convert the try. With the scores locked up at 36-all, the last play after the siren went on for 2 or 3 minutes with the ball staying alive and making the crowd cheer louder and louder eager for a result. The ball was finally dropped and left the opener in a draw, with no team claiming the first win of the 2014 season.
Match fitness and defence is what has been identified to be the key factors to work on this week at training by both clubs. Clermont travel to Blackwater this Friday night to take on the Crushers and the Tigers have a weekend off with a Bye. We will have to wait until Round 11 before these clubs play again to get a result. They will definitely be the two sides to beat in the competition this year.
Bluff Rabbitohs 62 defeated Middlemount Panthers 0
BR Tries: Mitchell Power 2, Liam Law 2, Craig Dodd 2, Peter McLaughlin 2, Daniel Johns 2, Blake Vesey, Mitchell Wyatte
BR Goals: Mitchell Wyatte 3, Mitchell Power 2, Craig Dodd, Joel Munns
MP Tries: Nil
MP Goals: Nil
It is said that the road trip to Bluff is one of, if not, the toughest trips to go and play away at, and heading there with only 14 men is a challenge within itself, let alone adding the trip to Bluff into the mix as well. Bluff drew a strong crowd as they always do and were ready to take on the 2014 season after narrowly bowing out last year to the Emerald Tigers in the Qualifying Final. They have picked up a few new recruits, including Liam Law and the big signing of Mitch Wyatte. From reports of the match, it was all class by Bluff. Keeping Middlemount Panthers scoreless throughout the match and sharing the tries evenly around most of the side. It will be interesting to see how they play away from home this year and next week will be their first test against Springsure next Saturday night.
For Middlemount, travelling with 14 men would’ve hurt, especially being Round 1 and match fitness most probably not being up to scratch. They host their first match of the season this weekend with the Cowboys making their way up north to play. I’m sure being at home, Middlemount will have a full strength side, and will be ready to put this Round 1 defeat behind them.
Emerald Cowboys 42 defeated Blackwater Crushers 4
EC Tries: Liam Kadel 2, Rhys Adams, Jason King, Nathan Horn, Kieren Pratt, Jacob Edwards
EC Goals: Kieren Pratt 7
BC Tries: Kent Booker
BC Goals: Nil
A solid crowd packed McIndoe Park for the first Cowboys home game for the season and both sides on paper made it look set for a really good game of footy. The 2014 Cowboys side is filled with youth, with many of the former Under 18’s players stepping up to play A-Grade and they don’t look one bit out of place. Blackwater’s side also looks impressive with a few new signings to the 2013 side.
The game started off slow before young Rhys Adams, the Cowboys fullback, made a break away and scored the first try right under the sticks. The tries then just kept coming for the Cowboys. It looked like the Cowboys were going to keep the Crushers scoreless in the first half but with about 30 seconds on the clock before half time, Kent Booker crossed over for the Crushers giving them their first try of the night. Going into the break, the Cowboys were leading 30-4. Blackwater came out of the dressing sheds in the second half a completely different side. The side had lacked defence in the whole first half however that changed at the break, and into the second half, the Crushers really started to pressure the Cowboys which lead to a few errors by a few of the inexperienced players. Even with this change, the Cowboys continued to dominate and score two more tries in the second half to end the game 42-4. Congratulations to Kieren Pratt who kicked a perfect 7/7. He’s certainly eyeing off the golden boot this year.
Blackwater are on the way up and will be certainly great to watch against the defending premiers, Clermont, this Friday night. Defence will certainly be the key, especially with the rampaging Clermont side who are one of the best teams to attack the opposition line. The Cowboys may have to work a little on match fitness as signs of tiredness and fatigue were setting in after the 65th minute, but this is mostly due to the inexperience in the squad. The Cowboys have a long road trip ahead of them, heading north on Saturday to play Middlemount who are hungry to get their first 2 points of the season after a drubbing last weekend.
Springsure Mountain Men – Bye
Next week should certainly make things interesting when Clermont travel to Blackwater, Springsure host Bluff and the Cowboys make the trip up north to Middlemount.