Monaro’s first and second division rugby in pre-season Gala Day

TEAM BY NAME, TEAM BY NUMBER: The Redbacks and the Black Widows at Saturday's Rugby Gala Day. Coaches are happy with their pre-season prep. Photo: supplied

TEAM BY NAME, TEAM BY NUMBER: The Redbacks and the Black Widows at Saturday's Rugby Gala Day. Coaches are happy with their pre-season prep. Photo: supplied

Fourteen teams from Monaro’s first and second division rugby descended on Braidwood on Saturday for a pre-season Gala Day.

The Redbacks had their first hit-out for the season, going down by a narrow margin to Gungahlin, drawing with Easts, but being comfortably beaten by Bungendore.

The men really showed great skill, strength and cohesion in the first two games, but a lack of match fitness showing in the last game against the Bungendore Mudchooks.

A number of strong sessions on the scrum machine at training has really paid off for the team.

The Redbacks’ scrums matched even with those of the much more experienced opposition on the day.

The forwards combined well, completing many strong phases in attack and setting up quality ball for the backs.

The signs are looking good for the upcoming season, where the Redbacks are expected to play a strong part in this year’s competition.

The Black Widows played against the Gungahlin Eagles and came out as 24-15 winners. The women again showed plenty of heart in beating an established Canberra side.

Ultimately the team won what was a tough game by applying their strong basic rugby skills learnt under the guidance of Mick Toirkens.

Coaches George Sherriff, Nick Kemp and Toirkens are extremely happy with how far the Redbacks and Black Widows have come during the pre-season campaign.

Two injuries suffered by Braidwood players on the day was the only low note.

Tommy Watson hyper-extended his elbow and Madi Bennet broke her ankle. Hopefully both players will have speedy recoveries.

This was the first game for the Redbacks this season, who have been training since February.

The Widows had competed in a pre-season 10s competition the previous Saturday, losing to Tuggeranong and the Uni Norths, but with a late rally beating Goulburn.

Thanks to James Royds and the canteen volunteers for pumping out the steak sangers all day.

The season proper kicks off on Saturday, March 25 with a home game against the Gungahlin Eagles at the Braidwood Recreation Ground at 2pm.

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