The Braidwood Redbacks hosted Sydney Club Briars and local rivals Jindabyne in a three way trial on Saturday in preparation for the upcoming rugby season.
While the Redbacks are still struggling for full numbers to consolidate themselves in the 2018 competition, a strong squad of 18 presented themselves at the Rec Ground to ensure a competitive afternoon.
In a format where each team would play each other twice over a 15 minute period, the Redbacks came out strongly in their first game against Briars with a two try to nil win, with a try double to flanker Hayden Pengelly.
Led by captain and five eight Kiwi Hopkins, the Redback’s backline, which included new half back Billy Hatzis took control of the game early by spreading the ball wide to the speedy wingers that ensured excellent field position close to the Briars line to support the forwards in setting up the Redbacks scoring opportunities.
The Redbacks backline, featuring young guns Robbie Bell, Ben Howard and the Shoemark brothers Harry and Will, continued to dominate the game with precision passing and strong running.
With the addition of Redbacks regular Will Hall the Redbacks backline looked classy all afternoon. With the eventual inclusion of Tommy Watson there is plenty for the Redbacks coaching staff to be happy about this year.
The Redbacks went on to beat Jindabyne by a single try (to Ben Howard) in the next game, with the final games resulting in a try less draw and then one try loss to a resurgent Briars in the last.
Aside from a strong backline performance, the Redbacks forwards, as they did last year, continue to grow from strength to strength with strong ball running and cracking defence. New addition and No.8 Leland Blyton put on a dominant performance with prop Nathan Moffitt making a number of spectacular line breaks that drew awe from the crowd and earnt him a cup of tea and a scone with the backs after the game.
The Redbacks scrum and lineout were also dominant on the day with injuries to regular props Ben Elliot and Luke Cumming giving opportunity to new boy Josh McNamara with Buzz McGlone having a strong game at hooker. The ever reliable second row combination of Angus Sherriff and tough man Cade Graf admirably supported the new look front row and provided excellent ball position to flankers Hayden Pengelly and Joel Jordon through strong running and clean ball presentation.
The Redbacks would like to thank Briars and Jindabyne for making the long trip to Braidwood.
Additionally, thankyou again to all our sponsors, including Braidwood Community Bank and the Braidwood Servicemens Club who allow us to put these events on.