The Braidwood Redbacks hosted the much fancied Bungendore Mudchooks in a fiery local derby at the Recreation Ground on Saturday afternoon. On a windy Braidwood afternoon the Mudchooks came out with a strong backline onslaught and took an early 5-0 lead despite some strong defence from the hosts.
Braidwood then started to play themselves into the game and were rewarded with a penalty goal to Tom Watson, which left the scores at 5-3 for the majority of the first half. The Redbacks scrum with a front row of Buzz McGlone, Bill Hatzis and Nathan Moffitt was starting to dominate, with McGlone replaced by Like Cumming at the 30th minute after by far his most impressive performance of the year to date. Bungendore however, made good use of their strong running backline, crossing over for another try which again was countered by further Braidwood attack, rewarded with another penalty goal from Tom Watson just before halftime. This took the score to 10-6 going into the break.
Early in the second half Redbacks’ Tom Watson crossed over for a 5 pointer which he subsequently converted, on the back of some great kicking by fullback Chris Howan and strong brutal attacking runs form enforcers Nathan Moffitt and Cade Graf. This gave the Redbacks a surprising 12-11 lead with 30 minutes to go. Braidwood continued to dominate the play with excellent forward motion from second rowers Cade Graf and Angus Sherriff supported by strong running from loose forwards Mitch Gough, Nick Roberts and the ever consistent Tim Moffitt. Angus Sherriff was particularly impressive with a number of strong turnovers. Halfback Kiwi Hopkins, relishing in his forwards ability to break the game line continued to deliver clean ball to his backline. Tom Watson, playing five eight due to a shoulder injury to Robbie Bell, kept the momentum flowing by spreading the ball, utilising for the complete Redbacks backline of Will Hall, Will Northcott, Ben Howard and Jeremy Quinlan on numerous occasions.
Just as the Redbacks really started to dominate the scrum with the introduction of prop Ben Elliot, the Mudchooks called non contested scrums due to an injury to one their front rowers. This took some of the momentum out of the Redbacks’ game, allowing the Mudchooks strong backline to again run freely and post three unanswered tries. The Redbacks did not give up and despite the introduction of veterans Adam Dixon and Damo Biggs, Braidwood were unable to post anymore points leaving a final scoreline of 33-13.
Coach George Sherriff could not speak more highly of his sides performance and stated that a win is only just round the corner. George who turned 50 on Saturday replaced Kiwi Hopkins with 5 minutes to run to take up a unique opportunity to play a senior competition game with his son Angus. Going by George’s first pass, which landed about 2 metres in front of five eight Tommy Watson, never getting any higher than 2 inches from the grass, George will remain firmly on the sideline for the rest of the season.
Best and Fairest with three points was Natham Moffitt, two points Cade Graf and one point Angus Sherriff. The Redbacks would like to thanks all their sponsors and the Braidwood community for ensuring there was a large crowd watching. The Redbacks go into a bye this weekend, but the Black Widows will get back on the paddock with a bus trio to Jindabyne on Saturday afternoon.