The last game of season saw a very lean Redbacks side travel to Taralga. So lean was the side that as we arrived that Big Trev had to visually inspect the bus to convince himself there were no players hiding. Those that did make the trip have been the core of the team this season, injuries and other commitments aside. Taralga took some time to consider the options. Lawn bowls and an afternoon at the pub were considered, but a hit out before the finals was their final call. Game on even if it was 10 aside, and please don’t injure the opposition.
As it turns out 10 aside suits the Redback team. A fast mobile forward pack, sort of, and a confident free flowing backline. The game was played in the best of spirits, hard, fast rugby, no quarter given, none taken. Taralga started the game well, and unlike previous games the Redbacks led by Allen were quickly focussed and into the game. Numbers on the field meant that there was plenty of space, and the Tigers took first advantage scoring after a footrace from a kick deep into Redback territory.
As he has displayed all year Junior Makasiale is a handful for any defender. On this day he only had a handful of defenders to beat and every time he got the ball he looked like beating them all. Out would stretch his arm as a tackler approached and his large palm would direct them away, it was a joy to watch. To Taralga’s credit many a man made a second even third attempt only to meet palm and dirt. Junior was the go to man, and the Redbacks got it to him, or he got to it a lot. Nadin and Steele both benefitted from Junior’s runs and points came the Redback way.
Not to be outdone the forward pack were working hard and searching for points of their own. Steele saw a looming Royds on the wing and kicked cross field and behind the defence. The chase was on and Royds thought he was winning as the ball sat up over the line he dived, stretched, got a hand to the ball only to realise the line and he were still 10 metres out, cursed league field marking. Still it wasn’t long before the forwards pushed toward the line. In what must be his comeback from comebacks, Steve Northcott, playing his thousandth odd game, trailed close behind a rampant Hicks to clean up loose ball and it was his effort if not his hand that convinced the Referee to award the try.
The second half saw the Redbacks running downhill and with a strong breeze at their back. It was not only a game of great attacking play, but solid, committed defence. As usual Northcott , Allen and Nadin never gave up on a chase, as Taralga kicked over the line time and again. Numerous tries were saved by sheer doggedness. Bourne and Halligan although not making all the match, showed their usual strength in both attack and defence. The score board kept ticking and late in the second half tipped to the Redbacks.
First Steele scored a great solo by chipping from halfway regathering and winning the footrace to score his second of the day. Royds had a brain-snap and kicked for the sideline from twenty metres out with a clear path to the tryline. The lineout was pilfered by the Redbacks and Makasiale made hard work again for the Tiger’s defenders as he brushed aside four or five to score and put the Redbacks in front. As had happened on our previous Taralga trip we could not maintain the lead and the Tiger’s won on the day be a fraction. Double bonus points to a losing Redback side.
Well done to all the boys on a hard fought game. Players player deservedly went to Buzz, a nail meant he couldn’t play, but commitment saw him on the bus trip. 3pts to the Gorilla with a boot Johnny Steele, 2pts to tiring Royds, and 1pt to the outstanding performer Junior. Reports of Gorillas, drag rollerbladers, nappied Popeye’s and yellowing Banana’s on the way home may or may not be over exaggerated.
See you all next season, when Rugby will again be the winner on the day.