Batmobile Stalls - Rams Head to Greener Pastures (9 Sep 12)

Penrith Reserve Grade head to Blacktown International SportPark next Saturday to compete in their second consecutive Grand Final after defeating UTS Bats in the knockout preliminary final at Gipps Rd on Saturday.

The Rams had won their last nine games of the home and away series before falling to the Bats at Gipps Rd in the qualifying final two weeks before by 22 points after hitting the front in the third quarter to give the UTS side its second win in three encounters during the season over the Rams. Penrith had to face Uni NSW Bulldogs in the second sudden death semi last week at Henson Park and after a somewhat shaky start, recorded a 36 point win to progress another week.

Selections were somewhat of a nightmare for the coaching staff with a wealth of talent available. Captain Courageous Christian Triffitt succumbed o a bad bug during the week and was unable to take the field and Luke Burcher was bought into the side after playing his last few games in the ones.

UTS were to field a very strong team as always with many having higher grade experience and the stage was set for a huge match with vocal supporters from both sides lining the fence to garner their support.

As expected, the match started at a frenetic pace with the ball travelling from end to end. The Bats got the first goal in a swirling breeze but otherwise perfect spring day but Penrith responded with a Mark Woodford goal. UTS were able to score next to get to a seven point lead but Woody again got into the fray with his second and the teams went to the first break with the Bats holding the smallest possible lead.

The game opened up in the second term and it was all the Rams way. Blake Roberts opened with two quick goals after great work in the midfield, Woody added his third with the Cats seemingly having no answer to the onslaught. Gordon “Combat” Howell stole another and to the cheers of the crowd surrounding the Rams bench, Mitch Reinhard booted Penrith’s fifth for the term in a stunning display of finals football. The massive haul against a UTS lone behind saw the team go to the sheds holding a commanding 29 point lead.

There were cautious warnings handed out in the rooms at the long break. Coaches Mick Bottrill and Nathan White were pleased with the commitment but stressed the fact about the Bats culture of fighting back as they had done in previous clashes.

Play resumed and it was a nervous start for the Rams as UTS changed their structure which immediately paid dividends. They were able to kick the first four goals in the opening 10 minutes with tempers somewhat flaring in the physical encounter. Clinging to just a three point lead, the signs were ominous but Penrith kept their composure and fought back with Blake Roberts adding his third. Minutes later, a good movement downfield saw a shot go across the face of the goals and retrieved by UTS. A smothering tackle by Tayt Corless saw him rewarded with free and he duly converted to give the Rams some breathing space. The Bats were to hit back again but Lachie “G-Train” Geeves, playing in his first year, joined the scorers list with a goal with cheering heard as far away as Wales by his agent, Tim Cummins. With seconds remaining in the third term, Luke Burcher goaled to have the Rams back on track with a 19 point buffer.

It would come down to the final 22 minutes to see if the hard work for the last 8 months would be worthwhile or go down in the books of “what could have been”. Penrith again looked sharp despite relentless defence from their opponents. Tayt Corless was to kick his second with an accurate snap. The Bats responded with one to keep their Grand Final hopes alive but Blake Roberts fourth saw the Bats heads drop and a Chris Manuel goal sealed their fate with Penrith holding a 41 point lead as the final siren sounded.

The club song was sung with gusto in the middle of the ground with Penrith now having to leave the elation behind as they prepare for next Saturdays final match of the year where they will go in as underdogs against minor premiers, Gosford.

It was a committed team effort by the entire teams. Lachlan Smith was outstanding in the midfield and read the play to near perfection with his vast experience. Max “Where Is” McNamara, who missed the previous encounter two weeks previously, dominated the half back line with relentless defence and magnificent clearances. Brayden Wilson continued his fine season form with another hard display of football whilst Matt Cummins, shrugging off a very late night watching brother Patrick represent Australia in the T20, showed no weary signs with a fine match. Up front, Mark Woodford’s three goals along with great rucking were instrumental in the win whilst Blake Roberts four goals in the tough wind showed his class.

It comes down to one game now when the Rams take on Gosford Wildcats at Blacktown next Saturday. New additions to Sydney AFL this year, the Central Coast side have had a magnificent year and rewarded with a minor premiership. In round 4 they defeated Penrith at their home ground, Adcock Park, by 18 points, leading throughout. Penrith reversed the result in round 13 with a 31 point win at Greygums after getting the early jump. Gosford have shown great tenacity in big matches, coming from behind in their last two UTS matches to record victory and are a very well coached team with pace aplenty and will go in favourites against the Rams, who finished the season in third spot.

A big crowd is expected at Blacktown and all players, families and supporters are encouraged to take the short trip down the M4 as Penrith play their fifth grand final in three years.

A post match function will be held at the Red Cow that evening.










































Goal Kickers: A. Dragicevic 5, C. Doherty , C. Errington
Best Players: D. Lowry, J. Ritchie, B. Varden, C. Errington, I. Tsouroutis, I. Weir


Goal Kickers: B. Roberts 4, M. Woodford 3, T. Corless 2, L. Burcher , M. Reinhard , C. Manuel , L. Geeves , G. Howell
Best Players: L. Smith, M. McNamara, B. Wilson, M. Cummins, B. Roberts, M. Woodford


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