at Merrylands RSL Rugby Park on 1st April 2017

Score

10 – 37

Thommo’s Match Report

It’s a beautiful day at Merrylands RSL Rugby Park.  After a long off-season and all the wet weather the Two Blues were looking forward to getting out on the paddock and taking on Eastwood.  Announcer Geoff welcomed all our spectators and friends of the Two Blues to our first game of the season, and acknowledged our sponsors, notably Merrylands RSL which has just committed to a further three years’ support.

Unfortunately our lower grades hadn’t fared well earlier this weekend.  Fourth grade and Third grade were in the need of a run as their trials were been cancelled against Randwick and Manly.  Scores:  4th Grade Eastwood 61 – Parramatta 5, 3rdGrade Eastwood 37 – Parramatta 5.  Eastwood have excellent depth in players with 20 players sitting on the bench for 4thGrade.

Reserve Grade were a chance and were only 12-7 down at half time and levelled the scores 17 all after 20 minutes in the second half.  Poor discipline resulted in 3 penalties being awarded to Eastwood in the last 20 minutes.  These penalties are real coach killers.  The boys played well but couldn’t put Eastwood away when it counted.  Eastwood 26,  Parramatta 17.

Parra 1st Grade are running south, with Parra receiving the kick. Eastwood kick east and away from our forwards to Woodville Rd. Parra are awarded a scrum on half-way.  First penalty to Parra for Eastwood not rolling away.  Parra  kick south and we are awarded a line out on the  35 metres.  Parra turn the ball over on the Eastwood 22. Eastwood scrum after 5minutes of play. Eastwood kick deep to the sponsors box, 10 metres out. Parra throw.  Lock Senio Toleafoa takes a great 2 handed catch.  Penalty to Eastwood in front of our uprights. We are not clear on the ref’s reason for the penalty. Eastwood 3 Parra yet to score after 8 minutes.

Parra are showing enterprise by their willingness to run the ball, but our handing is letting us down. Parra penalised for not releasing. It’s 40 metre kick to the posts, and the penalty attempt goes wide. A reprieve for Parra’s ill-discipline.  Eastwood run at the line after the goal-line drop out. A forward pass prevents Eastwood scoring their first try. Parra put in, Eastwood dominate up front. Parra are penalised again. It would appear the ref has only one eye. Eastwood choose the scrum 5 metres out. Eastwood score from a kick through after 15 minutes of play. Eastwood showed good patience in putting the ball down without getting over-excited. Eastwood 10, Parra nil after a successful conversion.

The kick return witnesses a near runaway try by Eastwood down the club house sideline. It was only prevented by a great tackle from half Waldo Wessels. Eastwood lineout on our 22.  Parra steal the ball but knock on 18 metres from our own line. Penalty awarded to Eastwood for a Parra high tackle. Eastwood lineout 5 metres out from the sponsors corner.  Push over try from the rolling maul.  Eastwood fail to convert.  Eastwood 15, Parra 0 with 15 left to half time.

I am not certain whether I should raise the conspiracy theory but we are getting hammered in the penalty count. Another penalty awarded as we are wheeled in the scrum. That’s 7 penalties in a row, Eastwood are not that good. Eastwood score in the sponsor’s corner with a tight try on the line by their wing. I am certain there was a slight forward pass but alas I am the only person who thinks so. The conversion is unsuccessful. Eastwood 20, Parra 0 with 5 minutes to half time. The only redeeming factor is that the Eastwood kicker is off target. Thank goodness!

The ref must have made a mistake as he has raised the wrong arm. Parra are awarded a penalty. Fly half Jarrod Nyssen converts the penalty. Parra are finally on the board. Eastwood 20, Parra 3.

Parra have picked up their confidence and are playing with more flair. Eastwood kick deep to our 22 on the eastern side. The ball has gone out on the full. Parra are given a lineout, however, Eastwood have gained 80 metres. We turn the ball over and Eastwood score down the eastern touch. I think there was another suspect forward pass in that too. We are not getting the rub of the green. The try is awarded and Eastwood fail to convert. Eastwood 25, Parra 3.

Parra are again penalised and Eastwood kick to half way on the eastern side.  Parra are not playing with any authority. We need to keep the ball in hand and make Eastwood work for the ball. Eastwood line out on our 40 adjacent to the club house. If only Parra could get their hands on the ball it might be a better contest. Half time Eastwood 25, Parramatta 3.

The sponsors’ box, aka the Polota-Nau Pavilion, is well-populated, and spirits are good, lifted in part by Jenny Blacklock’s fine catering. New(ish) NSW Rugby Union CEO Andrew Hore has shown his interest in grassroots Rugby by coming to Granville for the 1st Grade match. He notes the unhappy state of the facilities, but likes the feel and atmosphere.

Parra stay out on the field as coaches Paul Hardwick and Greg Michelle talk to the team about controlling the ball and going forward. As a team we need to be patient but not hesitant. Slow the ball down so the ball can be set and we can take the ball forward. We need Eastwood to commit their players in numbers to open attacking spaces.

The boys must have taken what was said on board as Parra start exceptionally well.  Eastwood are at sixes and sevens . Good hustle by Parra. Parra lineout on Eastwood’s 35 metres. Unfortunately we turn the ball over after some strong play. We let them off the hook. Eastwood scrum on their 40 metres. Eastwood spread wide to the southern corner and score. Eastwood 30, Parra 3. The  conversion is unsuccessful.  From the kick return. Parra are on fire as Number 8 Tyrone Viiga takes on Eastwood with a great busting run. The ball is laid back.  Parra pick and drive and our fly half Jarrod steps through the Eastwood team and scores next to the posts. Jarrod converts his own try. Eastwood 30, Parra 10, after 10 minutes of play in the second half.  Parra head to the sponsor’s corner as we are piggy-backed down the field with successive penalties. We control the ball from the lineout. Great work Parra.

Eastwood mount a solid defence on their line. Parra score through our prop Lafi Pongi with a great bustling run. However, the ref is standing on Eastwood’s 22 with his arm up. What happened to the advantage rule? Parra pound the line and earn another penalty. An Eastwood player is down as both teams regroup. Parra kick to the sponsor’s corner. From the lineout Parra form a rolling maul. The Eastwood wing is yellow carded for repeated infringement. We again kick to the sponsor’s coroner for a 5 metre lineout. Parra bring the ball down and are forced out. The momentum is lost as Eastwood are awarded a line out on their 5 metre.  Eastwood work their way out and we are penalised for holding on. Wonderful play for nearly 20 minutes, with Parra pinning Eastwood in their own 22, but unhappily no reward on the scoreboard.

Eastwood work towards our far corner on the eastern side. Parra line out. We can win this! Parra scrum on our 22 with 18 minutes to go. Our scrum is not what it was like from last year. We turn the ball over and Eastwood score in the eastern corner: Eastwood 37, Parra 10. The conversion is successful with 15 minutes to go. Eastwood fail to kick to the 10 metres. Parra scrum on half way. The Eastwood winger readies himself to come back on as Eastwood are awarded a scrum penalty. Our advantage is lost as we are penalised for being offside.

Eastwood kick deep for a lineout on our line. Eastwood mount a concerted attack. Our troops are rotated with 9 minutes to go. Parra scrum on our 40 centre of the field. We set right. Flanker Daniel Tamone  breaks through  the Eastwood line with a great run.  Eastwood line out on their 5 metre. Eastwood put an up and under on. Our full back Sam [second name] makes an ambitious volley on our 30 metre. The ball skews to our open. Our hearts are in our mouths as Eastwood try to take it on the full with no one in front. It comes off the Eastwood players arms and falls into to a Parra player but he is caught. Time is running out. The game see-saws back and forth. The game is finally over. Eastwood 37- Parramatta 10.

I questioned our supporters about the game. What did you think of the game? What do we do? What about the revolution? There was quietness and disappointment. We must improve was all that was said. We really only tested Eastwood for 20 minutes at the beginning of the second half. We were on the front foot and the penalties suddenly came our way. We need to be fitter, faster, stronger and run the opposition ragged.

Viva the revolution! Thommo