April 15th Parramatta Firsts Grade Verses Manly at Manly Oval
The game was live on 7 two on Saturday and we wanted a win from Parramatta. There was a large contingent of Manly supporters at the game. Manly are undefeated and have beaten Southern Districts and Sydney University in their last two games. Manly are coached by ex- Parra premiership player Brian Melrose. Brian brings a vast amount of experience to the coaching roll and has the Marlins on song.
Manly are running south to Sydney Rd and receive the first penalty for Parra being lazy in defence. Manly elect to take the kick directly in front. Manly 3 after 38 seconds. Parra kick deep. Parra again display ill-discipline for not rolling away in the ruck. The penalty does not find touch as Parra take the ball forward from halfway. Parra kicks tactically into the north score board corner. This is much better play from the Two Blues. Manly are able to work the ball away from their line for a Parra lineout on half way.
Manly are strong in the ruck and steal the ball and look to spread the ball wide with quick hands. It is not long before the Manly winger Tom Chester is able to score in the southern beach corner after a good 2 on 1 play. Manly fail to convert. Manly 8, Parra 0 after 5 minutes of play.
The first scrum penalty goes to Parra for Manly wheeling in the scrum. Good work from loose head prop David Lolohea. Manly’s scrum weighs 868 kg to Parra’s 935 kg. Parra penalty from the scrum for Manly not being straight. Parra lineout on Manly’ 30 metres. Parra spread wide to the east. Parra turn the ball over for a Manly scrum on their 22 metre. From the scrum win Manly kick deep and it is cleaned up well by fullback Sam Hayward. Manly spread to the grandstand corner and are able to outpace our backs for nice try in the corner by winger Cam Bailey. The conversion is unsuccessful. Manly 13, Parra 0 after 15 minutes
The kick return witnesses Parra penalised for hands in the ruck. Manly kick to halfway and spread wide from the lineout. Manly are penalised for not rolling away. Parra take it forward through Prop Nigel Vaifale however, loose passing witnesses a turn over. It is 13 to nil at quarter time and Parra haven’t had the ball. We need to put pressure on Manly. We continue giving away the ball. Manly form a rolling maul on our line and centre Dennis Pili Gaitau literally scrambles over the try line to score. Stand in captain Waldo Wessels questions the double movement and a bit of a knock on. I believe the Manly player was held and therefore not allowed to go again. The referee awards the try unsighted. Where is the touch judge? Manly convert Manly 20, Parra 0 after 23 minutes of play. Manly are looking very slick as we are awarded a scrum penalty. Parra kicks to the western bowling club corner. From the lineout number 8 Tyrone Viiga busts the line and charges up the field. Parra can’t seem to control the ball as Manly make another break down the eastern side line from the Parra turn over. Manly thrive on the counter attack. Manly scrum inside our half. Parra are penalised for not being straight. Manly lineout on the Parra 22. Manly turn the ball over. Parra scrum 7metres out from our line. Manly force a turn over for a Manly scrum on the same spot. Manly have set up with two backs on each side of the scrum. It’s going to be hard to stop. Manly wrap right to the grand stand creating the gap for Manly winger Cam Bailey to score his second try. Great backline play from Manly. Fly half Sam Lane converts from the sideline. Manly 27, Parra 0.
It is all going Manly’s way as Para are penalised. Manly turn the ball over to Prop David Lolehae who streams up the field. Parra are penalized again and Manly kick to our 22 on the grandstand side. A relieving penalty is given to Parra for Manly not rolling away. Parra turns the ball over and Manly come down the beach sideline. Manly are penalised after some fisty cuffs. Parra lineout as we pass right to the beach. Once again we turn the ball over. Manly must have had the ball for 70 % of the time. Talk about completion rates. Boys we can’t win without the ball. The half time bell sounds. Manly 27, Parra 0
Half time summation: Parra have not held the ball for more than 5 phases of play and we have only completed two phases twice. The errors are killing us. To get Manly on the defensive we need to hold the ball and make them commit to the ruck. We need to be up in their faces. Manly are too good a side to allow them to have the ball. We need some points and that not against us. Para needs to come out with the right attitude. Manly 27, Parra 0. The nil part is not a good look.
Parra are back on the field running south. Parra kick deep to Manly lock Ryan Melrose as Manly probe our extremities. Parra finally get some consistency as we attack down the grandstand sideline. Unfortunately we drop the ball with the line open with some work to do. Parra continues to look for ways to give the ball back to Manly. Parra at the 8 minute mark of the second half are defending on our line again. Manly put in 5 metres out as the Manly announcer calls a try but it is a Parra scrum. We turn the ball over as Manly fullback Josh Tuner scores in the scoreboard corner. Manly increase the score to 34 points to nil after converting.
The kick return witnesses fullback Sam Hayward bring the ball back to the Manly 22 linking with half Waldo Wessels who darts through the Manly defence. A great run as a Parra player knocks on for a Manly scrum on their 22 on the grandstand side. Manly take a quick throw and run the ball as Parra moves up too quickly creating a giant overlap. Manly score out wide with Larry Herman’s chasing flanker Harry Bergelin. It was a straight out footrace for the try line. Manly convert. Manly 41, Parra 0 and lucky to get the nil. Number 8 Tyrone Viiga is replaced by Captain Andrew Cox. Manly are on fire as Manly fullback Josh Turner scores a sensational try with an in and out scoring next to the posts. Great foot work from the number 15. Manly 48, Parra O. Manly continue to dominate. Parra have held the ball for 7 individual phases in the last 15 minutes and only one for 4 phases.
Parra are penalised again and Manly take the lineout in the scoreboard corner. Manly form a rolling maul to score in the corner. The Marlins are now 51 with the kick to come. This is a very difficult kick. The score keeps going up. Manly 53, Parra 0 with 14 minutes to go. From the kick return Wing Robert Duff nearly scores after a brilliant run through the whole of the Manly team. However, the ball goes to ground as he passes to hooker Aaron Blacklock. Manly kick deep and we are again caught on our try line trying to bring the ball out. Manly perform the razzle dazzle with a flick pass on our try line. The Manly replacement has been on the filed for 30 seconds. Manly convert Manly 60, Parra 0 with 7 minutes to full time.
The kick return witnesses a Parra scrum 5 metres out next to the posts as half Waldo Wessels unloads to fullback Sam Hayward who is crunched for a Manly scrum. Parra haven’t given up and are able to come up with a relieving kick. Parra lock Michael Ross is down. Parra wins the Manly line out as half Waldo Wessels does a DCK (The dreaded chip kick). Manly run the ball back at us. Fortunately they don’t score. The full time score Manly 60, Parra 0.
Manly are a good side that are well coached. They are very clinical in their play and use the width of the field very effectively. All the Manly tries were a team effort. Coach Paul Hardwick talked in the media about Parra needing to start positively and the result will depend on the bounce of the ball. Parra had no luck and didn’t get the rub of the green at any time in the 80minutes of play.
The nil result is the most disappointing aspect. Boys this is about belief systems. We are a bloody good team. We have built up from last year. I didn’t see anyone out there not trying. We need to make our own luck. We have one of the best forward packs in the competition. We need to keep the ball in hand. Our phase play is a weakness and we are susceptible out wide in defence. There is nothing that can’t be fixed. It will be interesting to see whether Manly can keep up this standard. They might well be peeking too early. It’s a pity we didn’t get to play Manly in the trials. We found out where we are at on Saturday the hard way.
I was present when we beat Manly at home 41 – 17 at home in 2013. Not only did we beat Manly we sustained 17 straight penalties against us in row in the second half and still won. We never gave up and never game them room to move. Randwick plays a similar brand of football as Manly. Randwick loves the counter attack. You know Randwick are going to run the ball and move it wide. As an old flanker we need to cut them off at the fly half and send them back into the pack. You need to be in their faces. In every tackle drive them into the ground. If you are on the ground you have an opposition player with you. Make them think of being anywhere else other than being on a football field. It’s controlled physicality.
All it takes is all you have got.
See you at Back to Parramatta Day
Match Report – Parramatta v Eastern Suburbs First Grade – Merrylands RSL Rugby Park
The day started well with an emphatic win by Fourth Grade scoring a pushover try on the bell to win the game. The try was scored in the south western club house corner of the oval after sustained pressure by the team for at least 15 phases of football. The try took Parra Fourths to 33, Eastern Suburbs 27 after Parra had been trailing 27 to 26. The win brought spontaneous jubilation across the ground with spectators hugging each other and jumping for joy. The club song then resonated around the ground. Sung twice, just to make the point. Third Grade played well but went down narrowly to Easts 17 Parra 12. Thirds aren’t far away from a win.
Second Grade came storming home after a slow start to the game where Easts looked like they were going to run away with game and put on a big score. To Seconds’ credit Parra came back in the second half, scoring a great try early on and closing the gap. Lock James Benton converted from the score board sideline 45 metres out. Easts 24 to Parra’s 19. After Parra scored this great try Eastern Suburbs hits back straight away through Wing Scott Ferris, son of Parra premiership Captain Peter Ferris with a good run down the clubhouse sideline. Easts converts. Easts 31, Parra 19 after 50 minutes of play.
The question was asked , “Can we win this?” Hooker Sefo Stefanao answered this question with stab kick into the Sponsor’s corner with a Parra player grounding the ball for a great try. Easts 31, Parra 24. Unfortunately Parra were subsequently then awarded to two penalties but we could not find touch, which took the pressure off Easts. Then when we were able to gain good field position we turned the ball over on our own line. This allowed Easts to get out of trouble and work the ball down-field. Easts were then able to score through their forwards near the posts. Easts 38, Parra 24 after the conversion. Parra weren’t finished , however, as Easts turned the ball over on the bell. Parra were able to regather and score through a pushover try. Great work! Lock James Benton converted with Parra gaining the extra bonus point. Easts 38, Parra 31. Parra Seconds started slowly but finished on fire. And, although it’s still not a win, there is still a lot of excitement over securing the “7 points or less” bonus point from the full-time, pressure, goal-kick.
It was now time for First Grade. [Apprentice’s Note: the Master’s confidence was dented when, limbering up to record the First Grade match, he thrust his hand into the ice bin, withdrew a can of Bundy and Coke and, mystifyingly to the Apprentice, cracked it, took a big swig, and choked. Turned out he was after a can of Solo. Just as well the Master didn’t have to distinguish between different shades of yellow on the field.]
The mighty Two Blues set up on the northern end of the field waiting to receive the kick from Easts. Number 8 Tyrone Viiga takes the ball forward strongly. The first penalty goes to Parra on half way for Easts being offside. The first scrum is 10 metres out from Easts line on the clubhouse side. Our scrum wheels but we hold for another Parra put-in. The Parra scrum exerts good pressure but we let Easts off with a turnover. Easts come down the western clubhouse side and score a controversial try in the Sponsor’s corner. Where’s the Bunker when you need it? I reckon the ball was held up. It makes no difference what I think! Easts 5, Parra 0. The conversion was unsuccessful after 10 minutes of play.
Parra has had the better part of the play but the score does not reflect this. Easts are penalised in front for not releasing. Parra look to takes the points. Not a good kick. Easts clear and are penalised again for not rolling away. Parra are going to take another kick at goal 5 metres further out after 15 minutes of play gone. A much better kick from our fly half Jarrod Nyssen. Easts 5, Parra 3
Parra is definitely playing with more purpose and the scrum is much better this week. Easts have only been down our end twice but, on the second occasion, Easts score another try. Disappointing: it is far too easy for Easts. Turnstile tackling was being displayed by Parra. Easts 10, with the kick to come. This time the conversion is successful. Easts 12, Parra 3 after 22 minutes. Poor hands are causing turnovers. Parra receives a penalty for Easts not rolling away. We kick to the south west clubhouse corner. Parra lineout 5 metres out. Parra brings the ball down into a rolling maul. Hooker Aaron Blacklock scores a great pushover try. The kick is unsuccessful. Easts 12, Parra 8.
The Parra improvement continues as our scrum dominates the Easts forwards up front. Easts are penalised for wheeling. Parra kick for touch. We are awarded a scrum 5 metres out from Easts’ line and 5 metres in. There is an accidental offside as half Waldo Wessels runs into our own player. This may work to our advantage. Easts pack down a scrum on the same spot. Easts kick for the line. Parra lineout on Easts 22. Parra are attacking Easts line 22 metre out. It is only three minutes to half time. Parra are penalised for not rolling away and Easts kick to the Sponsor’s corner. A let-off for Parra as Easts line out throw is not straight. Half time score Easts 12, Parra 8.
Easts head to the change rooms as Parra go to the southern end of the field. Our coaches talk about how Easts are trying to get on the outside us to run the ball. As a team we need to get off the ground and get to the play. Easts’ centre and fly-half are clutching their shoulders. We need to draw them in and run at them making good body contact. Our scrum is about attitude, you are doing well but we need to lift more. We need to clean out the ruck and take it to Easts. Go through them not around them.
Second half: Parra kick off and Easts turn the ball over. Parra are playing with enthusiasm as the first penalty of the second half goes to Parra for Easts not releasing. Fly half Jarrod kicks for goal. The football gods aren’t with us as the ball is waved away. Eastern Suburbs 22 metre drop-kick. Wing Robbie Duff drops the ball cold for an Easts Scrum. Rob is really shirty with himself. From the scrum Easts turn the ball over and Parra stream towards the try line. The Easts’ half is yellow carded for holding down. This is our time but we turn the ball over. Easts scrum as they receive instructions from the Easts’ water boy. Kohli, the Indian cricket captain would have something to say about this. It’s very unsportsmanlike! Parra are all over Easts in their red zone. Easts work to half-way. I can’t but think we are going to be punished soon as we are playing so well. And I’m right: that’s better Easts, as Easts receive a penalty in front of the sticks. Easts convert the penalty goal. Easts 15, Parra 8.
On the kick return Easts try to run the ball out from their line. Hooker Aaron Blacklock has different idea as he powers into the ruck and causing the turnover. Aaron has excellent upper body strength. The ball goes left to the Sponsor’s corner. Full back Sam Hayward scores as he drives through the ruck on the line. Easts 15, Parra 13. The conversion is unsuccessful. Recently appointed Two Blues’ Board member Sean Duff perceptively observes that fly half Jarrod Nyssen “is kicking well, but missing them!” (Apparently a stylish Irish insult is to say of a player that he has his father’s cooking and his mother’s kicking.)
From the kick return Parra are again down in Easts red zone as flanker Adrian Musico charges down the Easts’ half’s clearing kick. Adrian picks the ball up and passes to Aaron Blacklock who streaks to the line to score besides the post. Fly Jarrod Nyssen converts. Parra 20, Easts 15 with 10 minutes to go. Can we do it?
The kick return witnesses Parra being penalised for not releasing. Easts kick to the western corner. Easts lineout as Easts probe our line 5 metres out. The Parra winger saves the day with a classic ball and all cover tackle. Parra line out but we knock-on 5 metres out. The troops are now being rotated as prop Daniel Arona replaces Brendan Crosilla. ‘ Hinny’ to his mates. Easts scrum as they attack and are held up over the line. Our scrum was strong early on but we have seemed to have regressed. Easts attack our line and the Easts player is held up. Parra are awarded the scrum in front of our posts. A reprieve for us! Now to get out of our red zone.
Parra are playing with passion as Easts replace their damaged players. Parra scrum and put in on half way 10 metres in from the clubhouse. Parra dominate the scrum and are awarded a penalty. Parra kick for line. Parra lineout on Easts’ 22, clubhouse side. But we lose the lineout. Easts scrum on their 22m. Why aren’t I confident of a win? Because we know who we are, and anything is possible both negative and positive? We need a big scrum Parra. Easts run the ball left then right to the south west corner. Easts score on the corner post. Parra 20, Easts 20 with the kick to come. It was a beautiful kick but fortunately missed with 3 minutes to go. Parra get the ball and take it forward and we are again penalised. Easts kick deep and from the ensuing line out scores in the southern scoreboard corner. The football gods have really deserted us as Easts converts the try from 45 metres out. Easts 37, Parra 20. Unbelievable! Then if that’s not bad enough Easts run the ball back from the kick return for another try on the death. There are Parra players down all over the place. We have capitulated! Even losing the bonus point. Easts convert from the sideline again. Final score Easts 34, Parra 20.
Being ahead by 5 in the last 10 minutes and behind by 17 at full-time must be some sort of record, although not one you’d want, and this made an exciting and well-matched contest look much more one-sided than it really was. [Apprentice’s Note: other bonuses were the Master’s practical lesson on how to tell Bundy from Solo, and Sean Duff’s valuable suggestion that beauty, arc and symmetry of a kick should be worth something, even if the ball doesn’t actually make it over the crossbar and between the uprights. The AFL “behind” is a score for missing, so there’s a precedent; and the name already suggests itself: a “duff”. Worth raising with the IRB?]
Anyhow congratulations Easts: you showed us what good teams can do when you back yourself! Parra, it was a heartbreaking finish and we will all rue the one that got away. I am disappointed but I can’t be critical as you all improved and you brought the spectators to their feet. Bring on the Marlins!