FIRST GRADE MATCH REPORT v SYDNEY UNIVERSITY
Parramatta First Grade v Sydney University 21st May,2016
Congratulations to Andrew Cox who played his 150th First Grade game. Andrew is unique in the modern era where loyalty and tribalism for your club are found in the past. Andrew has been an outstanding Captain and player, well done. Your achievements may never be equalled again. Keep up the good work.
A big thank you to the newly formed Cumberland Council for supporting the Subbies Super Saturday at Merrylands Oval. The night game gets a big tick. Thank you to Sydney University for also supporting the initiative.
Merrylands Oval brings back fond memories. It is the traditional home of Merrylands Juniors where great legends of our the past played such as Greg Bower, Jeff Morgan, Ron Dalkeith, Bruce Pitt, Steve Bouvet and Wallaby Mick Martin. Mick’s childhood home can be found just behind the electronic score board. Club Patron Eric Tweedale formed the Parramatta Juniors and started the Merrylands Club. Parramatta Life Member Frank Lawson and Parramatta stalwart coached here before moving onto grade with Parramatta.
Thank you to the Apprentice and the Phantom for taking over my editorial duties in my absence from the desk. As reported I went missing in action after hanging out with the Third Grade Premiers of 1976. Some things don’t change. No matter how old you are you still get into trouble.
Having an electronic score board and wired for sound makes my job easier. I was able to listen to all the referees’ calls during Saturday’s games. Prior to Saturday I thought the referees just penalised Parra for just being Parramatta but they do actually have reasons for our misdemeanours.
Parra kick off to the north towards the Merrylands pool. The first penalty goes to Parra for Uni not rolling away. Woodsy kicks to the Uni 22 on the far side of the field. Parra drive forward and Captain Cox leads the charge. Uni are penalised again for collapsing the ruck. Tom Woods takes the penalty conversion. It is never in doubt as he steers it over for a 40 metre conversion Parra 3 Uni 0.
In a sign of what is to come Parra knock on from the kick off in our 22 metre. Fortunately Uni turn the ball over through a knock on. It must be the lights or maybe the night mist. Parra scrum on half way we are going well and we are strong up front. Fly half Robbie Mate kicks out on the full. Uni lineout on halfway. Uni then apply pressure to Parramatta as we witness a series of penalties. Uni tap and run. Parra defend stoutly leading to a Uni scrum 5 metres out from our line. Credit to Parra as our scrum holds, 18 months ago Uni crushed us with a number of penalty tries. A short arm is given to Uni. They take the scrum. A penalty try must be coming. Parra receive its 3rd penalty in a row for not staying bound. Uni tap and run, they spread this time to the backs and former Waratah centre Tom Carter scores between the posts with a bumping run. Uni convert. Uni 7, Parra 3 after 12 minutes. On the credit side Parra have a propensity to let the opposition score in the first 5 minutes of play. Parra have not done this over the last 2 games. With the glut of penalties Uni were receiving wasn’t going to stop Carter at 190cm, 95 kilos and 10 metres out from scoring. It was a good rugby league type try where you just hit it up.
The kick returns witnessed Fly half Robbie Mate hit the ball up and split the Uni defence with a run of 30 metres. Unfortunately we drop the ball cold. Uni scrum on the Uni 35. Parra continue to dominate up front and push Uni backwards. What I wouldn’t give for a penalty try against Uni with Waratah hooker Silatolu Latu in their pack? Parra are turning the tide with their go forward. Parra line out and Uni are penalised for offside. Uni’s centre Jim Stewart is the culprit. How good is being wired and I can even tell you about the opposition? Parra lineout 5 metres out. Parra knock on. This is the story of the night, we can’t sustain pressure on Uni. Coxy steals the ball and we straight away turn it over. University scrum 25 metres from the Uni line. Lock Andrew Vatuvei is down. The game stops as Andrew is stretchered off and an ambulance is called. What are the chances of this happening to Andrew after being injured last year? All the best mate, you will have good company with Colts prop Jobo dislocating his knee and also being taken to Westmead Hospital. Andrew is replaced by Tyrone Viiga.
The restart witnesses a Uni scrum. Uni spread wide to the western touch. Penalty Uni for Parra not retiring. Uni take the penalty kick but are unsuccessful. The score is still Uni 7, Parra 3. Now it is Uni’s turn to kick out on the full. Parra line out on Uni’s 30. Fly half Robbie kicks to the Uni 5 metre. Parra are in command as they challenge Uni’s defence. Again Parra knock on. This is killing us! Robbie Mate kicks an up and under. Uni knock on 15 metres from their line. Parra scrum. Parra exert so much pressure that Uni are penalised for collapsing in front of the posts. The Parra engine room is fantastic. Tom Woods walks up to take the kick. The conversion is successful. Uni 7 Parra 6
Its only minutes to half time as wing Josh Minhinnick turns the ball over for Uni scrum on their 22m. We have to hold Uni out and make it to the change rooms. Unfortunately Uni has other ideas as they win the scrum and turn the ball left to Winger Matthew Narracott. Has this boy got some speed. He scorches down the sideline centimetres in from touch. Boys you only have to touch him to put him out as the cover comes across. The winger has too much pace as he touches down for a beautiful try under the posts. The bell sounds for half time as Uni kick the conversion. Half time score. Uni 14, Parra 6.
The second half starts with Uni running to Merrylands pool they set up for a traditional kick to the left then hastily kick it right to our backs. Our backs are equal to the task and fly half Robbie kicks through and there is a good chase. Parra scrum 20 metres out. Great work! We have started well. Uni are penalised for off side, Parra tap and run. Prop Nigel knocks on. A certain try went begging there. Uni offside, Parra kick for touch on the Uni 22. Parra form a rolling maul. That’s it boys go. Uni are penalised. The Uni flanker Jack McCalman is sin binned for a professional foul. The scrums and the penalties are going our way. We must score in these 10 minutes against a 7 man forward pack. The game has now turned into a battle of attrition. Uni are soaking up the time with scrum after scrum. Parra are on their line but can’t put them away. Uni finally get breathing space with a deep kick. We knock on once again, then again. I haven’t seen so many scrums. Replacement Tyrone hits out but is pulled down. The Uni flanker returns without Parra scoring. We have now had at least 15 minutes of scrums and there is 18 minutes to full time. No matter the final result Parra have improved significantly. We have been the dominant side in the second half but we are running out of time. Parra are now on the back foot as the ref awards a short arm penalty. Captain Cox argues the decision to no avail. Woodsy takes the high kick and is slammed head high to the ground. Woodsy’s dive would make the Brazilian soccer team proud. The ref does not have a bar of it.
Parra are then penalised for not releasing. Once again Coxy argues his case declaring his experience having played 150 first grade games and being a current referee. It doesn’t work. Uni elect to take the penalty goal 27 metres out. The conversion is waved away. There is a god! Parra take the 22 dropout and kick deep. The team is running out of time. Parra are awarded a penalty for Uni being off their feet. Parra tap and run. Parra has been brilliant but continue to let themselves down with poor handling. We must be in double figures for dropped ball and it’s been mostly the forwards. There are minutes to go. Parra are awarded a penalty, we tap and run. Again Uni are offside. Andrew elects to take the kick so that our efforts are not all in vain. Woodsy lines up in front and converts for the bonus point. Uni 14, Parra 9. Parra are still alive as the final bell sounds, however, the ref is in charge of the time. Uni are again penalised for offside. Parra kick for touch 10 metres from the Uni line. Parra lineout we might scratch out a win! However, poor handling again raises its ugly head as we knock on for a Uni scrum. The ref blows full time.
A gallant effort boys, you gained University’s respect. You have the opposing teams worried. We won ugly against Gordon last week but couldn’t bring home the prize against Uni. Sydney University are the only team of the modern era that we haven’t beaten. We held University in the second half but couldn’t finish them off. Congratulations to Uni for not having their try line crossed. Final score Uni 14 Parra 9.
All it takes is all you've got
LOWER GRADE MATCH REPORTS - 21st MAY
The day started earlier than intended for many of the blokes in our squad. The 5th grade side was invited to play against Hawkesbury Valley’s 3rd grade side. The Club was celebrating their ‘Back to Hawkesbury Day’ in their 30th anniversary year, so we were honoured to be a part of this milestone.
The 5th’s turned up in numbers; I think we had six reserves. The game was played in great spirit, as one should expect, with Parramatta winning the game comfortably. Our team certainly earned the praise of those looking on.
On another significant note, we’ve all been spared the horror of having Steeeemaaa perform the obligatory ‘no try for the year nudie run’, as he finally managed to squeeze in beside the corner post for a five pointer.
There wasn’t much time for celebrations though as the boys all had to hook it down to Merrylands Oval to bench for 4’s.
These blokes are true believers and the commitment they show is worthy of very high praise. Funny, but it’s some of the same blokes who turned up for this game who were the ones seen helping take the gear back to Granville on Saturday night close to midnight. I know Belly and Director Peter were very grateful for the help.
The 4’s started their match terribly. Gone was the belief that we had shown over the past few weeks. Heads went down and our defence often appeared optional, completely lacking structure. We looked like headless chooks. The score was an unbelievable 0-42 at half time, and a flashback to the bad old days seemed certain.
I’m not sure what was said at half time – maybe Johnny put something in the water, but a different team emerged in the second half. Back came the belief; back came the structure; back came the determination. Parramatta 4’s won the second half 7-0!
I really don’t know what to make of all this. If these guys were race horses, then we’d all be up before the racing tribunal.
Ice and Lui can only scratch their heads and wonder at the turn around. There’s got to be a button to press that get’s these guys going and rest assured the search for the secret will continue.
Our 3’s played possibly the best game they have played all year. Napier feared the worst as the warm up was ‘rubbish’, but five minutes after the guys got on the paddock, it changed. An early try was conceded [again!!!], but perhaps this was the tonic required, that kicked the boys into gear.
Uni were met by a very physical, determined group of players, who have all finally grasped the idea that the game is essentially based on controlled violence. We need to get tougher and much harder and that’s what happened. There was no room for the faint hearted, as some of the midfield hits from George and Lucas were outstanding. We had our opportunities to score in the first half, but again execution at vital moments cost us the chance. The defence displayed at the later half of the 1st half was not only tough, but smart. We didn’t panic, soaked up the pressure, regained possession, and through a series of great phases, saw us close out the first half on our terms.
I had nothing but praise for the blokes at half time. The score was still close 0-12 I think, but it was an irrelevance. Our blokes were competing with the best side in Sydney.
The second half produced more of the same. Uni weren’t going away and importantly, nor were we. Uni scored a try, which was answered with a fine raid of our own. We actually got over the line, but were penalised for not releasing the ball before continuing.
Uni, got their final try from a scrum ‘pushover’, taking the game well beyond our reach at 0-24.
Parra weren’t done yet though and in the last few minutes we scored a fine converted try to have the game finish at 7-24. Any one in the change rooms after the game would have thought we’d won. The boys had smiles like split watermelons.
Words cannot convey the pride I feel from this effort. Individually we played well, but as a unit we played even better. As a coach, it’s terrific to see the systems and style that you put into place being played out on the field. We’re now getting more of the things that we practice at training right on the field. The potential has always been there, but now the understanding is there.
Perhaps the time has passed for being happy with just competing well. Perhaps we should start aiming a little higher. If we keep working hard to get the little things right this team could become a very dangerous Rugby side.
Lui, Ice, Napes and Tulls
SECOND GRADE MATCH REPORT v SYDNEY UNIVERSITY
Parramatta Second Grade v Sydney University.
The second grade game was a tale of two halves. Parra came out of the blocks and flanker Adrian Musico nearly scores from a charge down. Parra have taken control with intelligent chips and are looking to turn Uni around with every opportunity. The Parra forwards are recycling the ball. The Parra No. 8 Junior bursts down the side line with 2 good runs on the clubhouse side he scores in the corner. James Benton is on song and kicks a 45 metre conversion from the sideline. All is looking good. Parra 7 Uni 0. Once again No.8 Junior peels off from a Parra rolling maul and scores in the score board corner. A great team try. James Benton takes the same kick from the other side of the field and converts. Parra 14 Uni 0. From the kick return Uni burst out and only the tenacity of winger Hayden Cole chasing down the last Uni player for a great ball and all tackle. Hayden’s never give up attitude saved a certain try. Uni then give up a penalty for being offside. James takes the kick from 37.2 metres out. There is no angle or a hint of a breeze. James nails the kick. Parra 17, Uni 0 with 12 minutes to half time. A great start! Finally Uni set up an attacking raid and sprint down the clubhouse side to Merrylands Rd. Wing Nicko lines himself up for a try saving tackle but unfortunately the Uni winger brushes him off. Rugby is a cruel game as the Uni winger scores. Parra 17 Uni 7 at the half time break.
The first points in the second half go to Parramatta. Uni are penalised for not rolling away. James Benton 37.3 metres out from the goals posts with an angle of 3 degrees. James moves in and the kick goes straight between the posts. Parra 20, Uni 7 after 12 minutes of play in the second half. A Uni lineout follows as they spread wide. Flyhalf Jason who is “maintaining the width” on the sideline intercepts but breaks down with a hammy. The old man’s curse strikes again. Uni scrum on half way. Uni kick to the eastern touchline. Parra lineout. Parra turn the ball over. Aim up boys! Uni attack our line through the ruck and score. The conversion is successful. Parra 20, Uni 14. Parra have had no possession. Parra need to get the ball back and start to control it. Its danger time and the boys need to start to step up. A succession of penalties are given and our Captain Riley is spoke to about continuous professional fouls. Uni take the scrum. Uni are again awarded a penalty on the line. Captain Riley is yellow carded for continuous professional fouls. Uni take the scrum and will be looking to crush our scrum or gain a penalty try. They don’t have to do either, as they take the ball from the back of the scrum and score. The conversion is successful. Uni 21 ,Parra 20. Parra have one last roll of the dice with a miracle play. Parra bring the ball back 85 metres and like first grade turn the ball over 15 metres out. Uni kick the ball into touch. Final score Uni 21 Parra 20.
We were in front for 73 minutes of the game and couldn’t close it out. We had no ball. Penalties cost us and the team paid dearly. It allowed Uni to dominate in the second half.
Hard luck boys unbelievable. Great game! Bring on Penrith.
All it takes is all you've got
2016 SEASON DRAW CONFIRMED
This week sees the first of a run of 5 consecutive weeks our Grade teams will play away. The first week is against Penrith at Nepean Rugby Park. The Colts begin a run of home games, also against Penrith this week.
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Great value as you get free entry to all Two Blues home matches at Merrylands RSL Rugby Park. A saving of 60%!
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2016 - the year we sing and sing again! Unfortunately we won't be able to guarantee that our players will sing as well as David Sanders.
OUT OF THE BLUE NEWSLETTER
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