This match was the last in a relatively disappointing season for the Two Blues, and the last in a 10 year career in first Grade for Andrew Cox.
The team, although trying hard, seemed a little flat in the first half. As the half progressed, lack of ball control presented Uni with many attacking opportunities which they grabbed hold of with glee. Uni scored six tries, only one unconverted, with Parramatta’s only score coming from a now characteristic slashing 1 metre try from Andrew Cox in the 35th minute. The half time score was Uni 40, Parramatta 5.
The half time talk by the coaches seemed to have some positive effect on the Parramatta play. The two Blues started out with somewhat better ball control, but a turnover eventually stopped some good attacking play. After about 5 minutes Andrew Cox scored another characteristic 1 metre try after good work by the forwards. This was converted by Hayden Cole to take the score to Uni 40 – Parramatta 12.
From the restart there was some really good work by Hayden Cole and replacement hooker Sefo Setefano, but as so frequently happens, this was nullified by a turnover.
Uni scored another length of the field try from two toed-through kicks and this was converted from the sideline to take the score to Uni 47 – Parramatta 12.
Two parramatta penalties and the binning of a Uni player for a high tackle, then led to a Robert Duff try in the corner after a terrific pass by David Lolohea. This was converted by Hayden Cole to bring the score to Uni 47 Parramatta 19.
Halfway through the half Uni again scored a converted try after a Parramatta turnover. Uni 54 – Parramatta 19.
An attacking raid saw Parramatta knock on over the Uni line, but the referee was playing a penalty advantage , and from the restart Sefo Setefano scored a good try which was converted by Hayden Cole Uni 54 – Parramatta 26.
Four more Uni tries were scored after scrappy Parramatta play to take the score to Uni 82 – Parramatta 26 on the verge of full time.
In one last hurrah by Parramatta, Hayden Cole scored a fine try in the corner after the bell to take the score to Parramatta 31 Uni 82. The conversion attempt by that well known kicker, Andrew Cox, saw the ball just shave the posts (that’s Andrew’s story, and he is sticking to it !).
The results for the day saw Uni retain the Club Championship, which was well deserved. The only Parramatta winner was the young Third Grade Colts team who managed to knock off the front running Uni team to make it into the playoffs (vs Uni again) next week at Foreshaw Rugby Park. Parramatta supporters should turn up in droves to support this team which will hopefully provide many players in Parramatta’s future successes.
I am sure Andrew would have liked to go out with a better result, but can look back with some satisfaction at a ten year career in First Grade, and a total 21 year career with Parramatta in juniors colts and grade.
Report by The Thommo Phantom.
This match was played at McKay Oval in Centennial Park due to upgrading work at Easts home ground. Luckily it was a beautiful afternoon, but even so the spectator facilities at the ground soon had many of the onlookers wishing longingly for the lush facilities of Merrylands RSL Rugby Park! We hope for the sake of Easts, that the work on Woolarah Oval will soon be completed. The hard central cricket pitch area, had one old Parramatta forward who shall remain nameless (but who normally writes match reports), reminiscing about smashing opposition (and in turn being smashed) on cricket pitch centre fields all over Sydney.
Parramatta took the early lead in the match due to a Haden Cole penalty. Unfortunately this did not last, with Easts scoring in the 5th and 10th minutes to take the score to Easts 10 Parramatta 3.
In the 22nd minute David Lolohea scored after Parramatta controlled the ball for 16 phases – yes, (this is not a typo) 16 phases. The conversion by Hayden Cole levelled the scores. In the 28th minute, from a scrum inside the Parramatta half Jaline Graham pushed off an Easts defender, making a break down the right hand side of the field. His pass found the flying Hayden Cole who scored in the right hand corner. Unfortunately Hayden’s conversion from near the sideline hit the post, leaving the score at Parramatta 15 – Easts 10. This try has since appeared on Facebook as a nomination for try of the year.
In the next eight minutes Parramatta had a deal of luck as Easts missed scoring two tries due to firstly a knock on and then a forward pass.
Waldo Wessels made a terrific 35m break late in the half, but unfortunately, due to several turnovers, Easts found themselves camped on the Parramatta line on halftime. The game extended 5 minutes or so due to a series of Easts penalties from a repeatedly reset scrum. Easts were eventually awarded a penalty try taking the half time score to Easts 17 Parramatta 15. During the half, Parramatta were heavily penalised in comparison to Easts, and this combined with a general failure to control possession, led to a heavy defensive workload.
The second half saw Easts score after 4 minutes after a Parramatta turnover. A Hayden Cole penalty in the 8th minute saw the score go to Easts 24 Parramatta 18. Another good break by Jaline Graham a few minutes later was looking promising until a knock on inside the Easts quarter ended the raid.
Another try to Easts following several Parramatta turnovers took the score to Easts 38 Parramatta 18 and the match was starting to have a familiar look. In about the 25th minute Parramatta received a penalty when an Easts player was binned for a high tackle. From the resulting play, Waldo Wessels almost scored before the scraps were picked up by Andrew Cox who scored near the right hand corner. This was to be Parramatta’s last score for the match. Easts 38 Parramatta 23.
Several more Easts tries resulted in the final score being Easts 52 Parramatta 23.
Once again, nobody could question the effort of any of the Parramatta players. Both props had strong games and all of the forwards played their hearts out. Jaline Graham, Waldo Wessels, and Hayden Cole made good breaks and Waldo gave smart service to his backline who all played enthusiastically.
Overall, Easts scored most of their tries from broken play when Parramatta did not have their defence set. Better control of possession would have minimised this broken field play and restricted East’s scoring, as well as minimise Parramatta exhaustion from defending. Ironically, a count of Parramatta possession reveals that over all they did a better job of holding the ball in the second half than the first, but the consequences of a turnover in the second half had greater scoreboard repercussions.
The current first grade team is relatively inexperienced, so hopefully if they can stay together and keep their enthusiasm better ball control and more wins will come with greater experience.
Congratulations to the third Grade Colts team who have already made the playoffs, and who will fly the Two Blues flag proudly in the men’s competition.
Finally, good luck to Thommo who is off exploring the Queensland outback and Uluru. I guess we will see him again before the wet season sets in.
The Thommo Phantom
Parramatta v Northern Suburbs, 22nd July, 2017, Merrylands RSL Rugby Park.
Today Parramatta and Norths play for the Rod Phelps Cup. Rod played for both clubs in the 1960s and 70s. He was also captain coach of Norths and Parramatta. Rod is true believer of the Shute shield having won 2 premierships at Sydney University and a premiership with Northern Suburbs. Rod coached Parramatta to 2 premiership grand finals in 1974 and 1975. The Parramatta team going down to Northern Suburbs 1975, 9-6 in a penalty only game. Rod a played 6 years for Norths and then 6 years for Parramatta. It was Rod, along with Club patron Eric Tweedale, who initiated the Parramatta Juniors and put Parramatta on its course to its first premiership in 1977 coached by Peter “Fab” Fenton. Rod played 22 tests for Australia. Rod is a true gentleman of the game of rugby and refused to be lured by the professional code.
The match starts. Norths are running north and take the kick. Parra kick through and Norths quickly return the kick to our fly half Puka Malo who puts up a mid-field bomb and chases. Puka nearly regathers but the Norths number 8 virtually snatches the ball out of Puka’s hands. Norths spread right and score after 2 minutes in the north eastern corner. Norths 5, Parra 0. The conversion is unsuccessful. The kick restart witnesses Robert Duff taking the high ball and running it up to Norths. Robert is still driving forward when he is penalised for not releasing. First penalty to Norths. Norths’ kick for the line and from the lineout take the ball forward. Centre Sam Hayward is penalised for a high tackle. It looked alright to me. The player still had his head and he was tackled around the shoulders. Maybe it was the facial he received. Norths take the penalty conversion. Norths 8, Parra 0.
The kick return, and Norths take the ball and bring it forward. Coxie takes the man as he bounces off he is deflected into a lazy arm tackle from prop Nigel Vaifale. It is a nothing and Nigel receives a yellow card. Amazing! We can’t get the rub of the green. Norths kick deep and Parra are defending well as Norths spread the ball left with wide passes. In the final pass is given wing Josh Tupuola puts is hand out and knocks the ball forward. The ref awards a penalty and yellow cards Josh for a deliberate knock down. Come on ref, at worst it’s a penalty. Talk about giving Norths a leg up. Where are Norths coming ? Fourth or something and we are 11th? Give us a break! Thirteen men against 15. Real fair! After 9 minutes of play. From the penalty line out Norths spread left and Parra hold the man up. It should be a penalty to us. Use or lose it! The ref awards a Norths’ scrum. Prop Brendan Crosilla replaces Riley Jacobsen while Nigel is in the bin. From the scrum Norths spread left and nearly fall over while scoring the try next to the posts. Norths convert. Norths 15, Parra 0.
From the restart Norths take the ball forward then spread left with wide passes. We have only 13 men as Norths run the down the sideline. I believe there is a hint of a forward pass as the left winger races down and cuts in passing to the North’s half. The conversion is successful. Norths 22, Parra 0 after13 minutes of play.
The restart kick witnesses Norths’ flanker penalised for offside. Parra kick to the eastern sideline for a lineout. Nigel and Dan Tamone are back. Parra turns the ball over after 5 phases of play. Norths kick deep to Parra’s 22 metre. Parra ball as half Waldo Wessels does a box kick. Norths run the ball back left and then the Norths’ fly half puts in a chip kick. The ball finds the Norths number 8 who scores. Unbelievable! If we kicked we would be punished with a try. North’s are running with confidence and it is all coming off. The conversion is successful. North’s 29, Parra 0 after 20 minutes of play.
Parra from the kick restart are dominating and complete 6 phases of play until centre Sam is caught at the bottom of the ruck. We are penalised for not releasing the ball. Norths are killing the ruck and we are penalised as we go forward! Norths kick to our 22 on the western side. Norths are just playing touch football with us as they move the ball both right and left before they score. Too easy, nobody to blame here. The conversion is unsuccessful. Norths 34, Parra 0.
Norths’ next try is just about sustained pressure and backing up. Parra held the ball for at least 10 phases of play before we kick. Fortunately Parra follows through and we able to force a turnover. Half Waldo grubber kicks to the western side line to find touch. Unfortunately the ball didn’t go out allowing Norths to mount a counter attack. Norths’ number 8 is able to break our line with a good run. Parra don’t number up and Norths play touch football until they score. Norths converts. Norths 41, Parra 0. From the kick return Parra are penalised again for offside. Nothing is going our way. Norths never released the ball or rolled away. The next penalty Nick Blacklock takes the ball forward through the ruck and puts the ball between his legs. Parra again is penalised for not releasing. Parra defend valiantly but the weight of possession by Norths eventually means Norths are able score again through very good line speed. The conversion is unsuccessful. North’s 46, Parra 0 with 2 minutes to go to half time
The kick return witnesses Norths’ controlling the ball really well and being able to change the direction of attack from one side to the other. Parra are eventually outnumbered again and Norths score out wide in the north eastern corner Norths are unsuccessful with the conversion. Norths 51, Parra 0. The half time score, signals it’s going to be a long day at the office. The rub of the green has not gone with us and Norths’ line speed is ripping us apart. Everything they do sticks and makes us look pedestrian. It is going to be a cricket score if we don’t muscle up. Hooker Nick Blacklock has been replaced by Brendan Crosilla.
Second half, and Parra kick off north and we are all over Norths like a rash with some very good play. Parra swing the ball both left and right driving to North’s line. Parra are awarded the first penalty of the second half for Norths being offside. Parra attacks the line through prop Nigel Vaifale. We swing the ball left and the boy’s efforts are awarded with another penalty. Norths were offside 5 metres out on the left of the goal posts. Parra take the scrum. Half Waldo goes left and passes to fly half Puka Malo who darts forward passing to centre Robert Duff who powers to the try line. Great work boys! Great try! Fullback Hayden Cole converts with his lucky white sock. North’s 51, Parra 7.
From the kick return Parra display enterprising football trying to get out of our own 22. Eventually Parra is able kick deep into touch on the eastern touch line. However, Parra do not chase the ball. The Norths’ winger throws in a quick ball and Norths run back at us down the short side scoring in the south eastern corner. Unbelievable! Norths have so much confidence in running the ball. Norths convert. Norths 58, Parra 7. The restart of play witnesses Parra camp in Norths 22 for 12 phases of football. Great work as we finally turn the ball over Norths kick into our 22. Parra is then able force its own turnover and kick deep. Parra are applying the pressure however, we knock on for Norths’ scrum on North’s 10 metre. Hooker Sefo Setefano replaces Bredan Crosilla. Parra are penalised for offside play and North’s kick to the eastern touch. It is caught by wing Josh Tupuola on the full and brought back. North are penalised for a high tackle on lock Michael Ross. Parra win the penalty lineout and charge Norths’ line with some very good play. Fullback Hayden puts in a grubber kick with Norths forcing the ball for a 22 kick. Parra bring the ball back through the forwards with hooker Sefo making some good gains as the forwards hit the ball up through the centre of the field. Full back Hayden Cole is standing shallow of the back of the ruck as half Waldo gives Hayden a short ball. Hayden accelerates through the centre of Norths team and scores under the posts. Hayden converts his own try. North’s 58, Parra 14 with 20 minutes of play left. Well done boys a great try. Both our tries have been very good.
Norths kick out on the full for a Parra scrum on half way. Parra takes on Norths with great recycled ball. We then turn the ball over with a stab kick to the in goal. Parra are penalised for offside for a Norths lineout on half way. Norths come back left and are very good at setting up the inside man when they get to the fringes. Norths then set and go again. Parra force the turn over and take the ball back at Norths. Parra kick through again and Norths are given the ball which is then followed by a penalty for Parra being offside. There is 15 minutes of play left. Norths take the scrum 5 metres out. Norths kick through into the in goal and the ball is grounded by flanker Dan Tamone. Parra kick out from the 22 and Norths run it back us as prop Nick Blacklock makes a great tackle. I can’t work out what Nick has done. It didn’t look high but the Ref pulls out a yellow card. This is our third innocuous card. Nick hobbles off with a hamstring injury. Norths kick for touch 5 metres out on the western sideline. From the lineout Norths spread wide and scores in the eastern corner. The conversion is unsuccessful. Norths 63, Parra 14 with 10 minutes to go.
From the kick return Parra force a turn over and replacement Amos Viiga takes the ball forward towards Norths’ goal posts. Parra are working hard with the pick and drive and are putting Norths under immense pressure. As the ball spreads left Norths replacement player knocks Dan Tamone’s pass down. Wing Joey got marched for this. What’s the difference? Parra are awarded a penalty. Parra scrum 5 metres out. Parra then pick and drive across the field both left and right. Finally Hooker Sefo flips a beautiful pass to Captain Andrew Cox who scores in the north west corner untouched. Liam Tully has replaced Hayden Cole as the kicker and takes the kick 22 metres out. Liam is as cool as ice and quietly coverts a difficult kick. Norths 63, Parra 21
The restart witnesses Norths kick out on the full for a Parra scrum on half way. Norths wheel the scrum and Parra are penalised. Norths kick to our 5 metre for a penalty lineout. Parra are again penalised on the line for not rolling away on our line. Norths don’t need this type of help. I am feeling a little frustrated. I need counselling. Norths kick to our 5 metres in the south west corner. Norths take the ball down into a rolling maul and score. The Norths kicker doesn’t make any mistakes and rubs salt into our wounds. The final whistle sound full time. Norths 70, Parra 21. Well boys you came back winning the second half with scoring 3 good tries 21 to 19.
Congratulations Northern Suburbs for your great win and retaining the Rod Phelps Cup. It was very good to see both teams pose arm in arm for a group photo with the cup at the end of the game. Rod would be very pleased as rugby was the winner and game was played in the right spirit.
Parramatta First Grade verse Penrith, 8th July at Nepean Rugby Park
History could be made today as the Penrith Emu’s look for their first win of the season. It is Back to Penrith Day and there is lot of emotion in the air. Penrith got pipped on the post by Gordon last week and their first round loss to Parra was very close. Julian Huxley Penrith’s Coach has also been interviewed on Rugby News and there have been emotional speeches posted on Facebook. Even Sampson flanker Adrian Musico’s dog received a mention again. Parra are looking at a hiding to nothing. The match is also being called by Hawkesbury Radio who is also pro Penrith.
As I walk in to watch Reserves it was not hard to notice that James Benton is playing fly half in Two’s. Not bad when he started out in the juniors as a prop and has been playing in the second row for Parra. This means there has been a shuffling of players in firsts. Fly half Sam Hayward is out. Tui Fassisilla is playing inside centre. Tui runs straight and hard. Johnny Poe is at fly half, Josh Tupuola is at outside centre and Robert Duff is at wing along with new recruit Zakir Slaimankhel. All fascinating!
Parra takes the field first and are running south. The old boys are singing Emu’s, Emu’s, Emu’s as Penrith run on to the pitch to take the kick. Penrith are looking very formidable with their halves looking sharp. Captain Cox takes the ball on the full and steams up the field. Fly half John kicks to the sideline. Penrith look like they are searching for the corners. Parra lineout on Parra’s 22 on the western sideline. Scrappy play as the ref calls a scrum and Penrith are penalised. Parra tap and run and hooker Aaron Blacklock is put through the gap with a great ball from Captain Andrew Cox. Aaron has a good turn of speed but no one is with him as he covers 40 metres. Aaron then puts in a deft kick to the sideline as Penrith coral him. Parra has started well.
Turnover, lock Michael Ross losses the ball forward. Penrith run the ball back at Parra as the Penrith half runs 40 metres and is brought down by wing Robert Duff with a great ball and all tackle. Robert stopped a certain try. Parra are penalised for not releasing the player. Penrith take the scrum. They must not be confident in their lineout. Parra are again penalised for Parra offside. Penrith take the scrum once again 10 metres out. Penrith put on an 8 man shove. The crowd goes ballistic as Penrith score in the north eastern corner. The conversion is unsuccessful from 23 metres out. Penrith 5, Parra 0 after 12 minutes of play.
From the kick return Penrith take the ball down and spread right putting in a grubber kick for their wing. Prop David Lolohea does a down up ball and runs straight back at Penrith. David sets the ruck and the ball goes right only for lock Seva Domoni to spill the ball forward. Penrith scrum on our 30 metre on the eastern side. Penrith spread left but they throw a loose pass as our centre Josh Tupulola sprints forward picking up ball and passing to wing Zakir Slaimankhel who sprints 50 metres to score in the right hand western corner. Great try! Full back Hayden Coles kick is unsuccessful. Parra 5, Penrith 5.
Coxie takes the ball from the restart, the ball goes to lock Michael Ross who takes the ball forward and sets the ruck. Lock Seva picks up the ball and runs into open space picking up flanker Adrian Musico who sprints for the line. He is forced down and flicks the ball to wing Zakir. Zakir passes to Seva who pucks the ball from his ankle straps and the ball goes to the left. Brilliant play the whole team is involved. Parra scrum 15 metres out from the Penrith line. The ball goes right from Waldo to Johnny Poe. Centre Tui runs the decoy and Johnny passes inside to wing Robert Duff. Robert is caught and passes to Johnny Poe who puts wing Zakir into the gap and Zakir scores his second try wide out wide. Full back Hayden then converts from the sideline. Parra 12, Penrith 5.
The game is see-sawing. Parra are playing well but it is the simple mistakes that are a concern. Wing Zakir takes a mark and then taps and passes to fly John. John has the distance but does not find touch. Penrith put up a mid-filed bomb which is totally stupid. Unfortunately for us the Penrith fullback chases the ball like a drovers dog and plucks the ball virtually from fullback Hayden’s grasp passing to his wing who is not short of pace and scores in the north eastern corner. Maybe it wasn’t that stupid. Penrith converts and the game is locked at 12 all after 25 minutes of play.
Over the next 15 minutes we witness both Penrith and Parra trading the ball with no real direction. Both are kicking hap hazardly. Finally Parra give away a penalty in front of our posts for being off our feet. Penrith take the penalty kick. Penrith 15, Parra 12. Penrith receive Johnny Poe’s kick and automatically put up a high kick to fullback Hayden Cole who runs elusively back into the Penrith half for 30 metres. The Penrith number 8 is yellow carded for a shoulder charge on Hayden.
Half time sees hooker Aaron Blacklock replaced with Sefo Setefano. Aaron was going well and I would have used Sefo later in the game when the big Penrith forwards were tiring. Parra kick off to Penrith who immediately bring it back into Parra’s half after a number of phases. Penrith are pressing our line when the first penalty of the second session goes to Parra for Penrith not rolling away from the ball. Parra kicks deep but Penrith come back with a number of runs up the centre. They eventually go left to the south western corner where they knock on with the line wide open. From the scrum Johnny Poe kicks for line for a Penrith lineout. Penrith spread right and the ball goes to ground and wing Zakir toes it through regathering and passing to flanker Dan Tamone who is in support. It then goes to wing to Robert Duff who steps back inside to be tackled short of the line. The advantage rule applies as Penrith are penalised for offside and Parra kick for the lineout on the eastern sideline 5 metres out. Prop Nigel Vaifale knocks as he steam rolls into the Penrith forwards from the lineout.
Penrith lineout and they fine touch on their 15 metres out on the eastern side for a Parra ball. Parra brings the ball down through Dan Tamone and Coxie scores a soft try. However, the ref has his arm up for an obstruction. I’ll need a clarification on this one. If Coxie stays bounds it’s a try if, he breaks loose its obstruction? Penrith kick for line and in a first for Parramatta we actually win Penrith’s ball through lock Michael Ross tapping the ball down to hooker Sefo. Half Waldo spins the ball left after I don’t know how many phase of play big lock Michael Ross unloads to flanker Adrian Musico who scores beside the posts. Hayden converts . Parra 19, Penrith 15 after 15 minutes of the second half.
Parra’s lead is short lived. From the kick restart we try to work it out of our half. Half Waldo on the eastern sideline passes to inside centre Tui who at a explicable moment falls over on the greasy field. The Penrith winger swoops like a thief in the night catching the ball on a half-volley and sprints to the line. The conversion is unsuccessful. The lead has changed 5 times. Penrith 20, Parra 19. Prop Nigel is replaced by Brendan Crosilla. Penrith are penalised for offside at play the ball. Penrith are becoming lazy. Parra kick for the lineout on the eastern touch corner. Lock Seva brings the ball down from the lineout and we turn the lineout into a rolling mall. Prop David breaks form the maul and sets up for an inside pass form half Waldo. David is just short of the line and lays the ball back. There is a penalty advantage as we spread the ball left an inside centre Tui runs straight and hard. He is centimetres away from scoring as flanker Dan Tamone picks up the ball and crashes over. Hayden converts Parra 26, Penrith 20 after 22 minutes of play in the second half.
The kick return witnesses lock Seva goes high and propels the ball forward. Penrith scrum on the 30 metre. Try scorer Dan Tamone has been replaced by Tyrone Viiga. Penrith knock on for a Parra scrum. Fly John kicks deep and Parra follow through. Prop Brendan is penalised for an offside position. Penrith kick to our 22 for a Penrith lineout. Penrith spin the ball right with quick hands and their winger score his third try after 2 turn style tackles. Penrith convert. Parra 26, Penrith 25. With 10 minutes remaining of play. Penrith camp in Parra’s red zone as both sides turn the ball over 3 times each. Eventually Parra from this scrappy play gives a penalty away for not releasing the ball. Penrith opts for the penalty kick just left of the left upright. Penrith covert Penrith 28 Parra, 26 with 5 minutes to go.
From the kick restart Penrith bring the ball forward to the half way and then knock on for a Parra scrum. Parra attack for 13 phases of play before Penrith steal the ball close to their try line. Brilliant play by Parra! Everybody put their bodies on the line. Lock Seva burrows into the ruck as he drives through the ball comes back to the Parra side. Half Waldo passes left as Parra attack the line. After 6 phases the man who started the play, Seva scores a great team try next to the posts. The Penrith hearts are broken as fullback Hayden converts the try with 3 minutes left on the clock.
Penrith kick deep for the restart. I would have thought that the kick should have been short so Penrith could get the ball back. The ball is taken by fly Johnny. The team has been instructed by Captain Cox that we are going to keep the ball and take the ball up to Penrith so there is no chances of a run a way try.
The boys keep the ball alive for 6 phases before Penrith are penalised for offside play while trying to get the ball back. Half Waldo taps the ball and then kicks the ball out. Parra win and Penrith rue another loss. It was an excellent game of football. To our boys you have brought discipline back into our game. All it is patience and belief in yourself. We are developing as a group of players. Proud of you!
My man of the match goes to Coxie who led from the front. He kept his hand the rudder and never panicked. Coxie took the majority of the kick offs and was as safe as the Bank of England. Congratulations on a well-deserved win boys.
Randwick is going to be a different game. You need to control the game and not give the ball up without a fight. Nowhere in the rule book does it say you have to give the opposition the ball. Keep possession for the full 80 minutes. Value the ball like it’s your own life. Bring on Randwick. See you at Coogee.
Parramatta First Grade verse Southern Districts 1st July 2017 at Merrylands RSL Rugby Park
Parra are first onto the field and we are running north to Merrylands Rd. Fly half Sam Hayward sets up the tee for a kick to the Tatafu Pavilion corner. Matt Kellaghan is officiating. South’s take the ball cleanly and kick to full back Hayden Cole. Hayden puts up a deep quick but doesn’t find touch. Tatafu Pololta- Nau Pavilion erupts with discontent. “If you going to kick, at least kick it dead!” South’s run 50 metres and immediately put Parra under pressure. Fortunately South’s turn the ball over for a Parra scrum. The first penalty goes to Parra. We kick to the south west corner. Parra lineout on South’s 22metre. This is followed by a Parra scrum. Our strong scrum is like watching poetry in motion our pack puts South’s backwards. Parra spins the ball right. South’s force us back, however, Parra kicks out of trouble. Full back Hayden follows through and with a great tackle and forces a turnover in the centre of the field. Parra is unable to control the ball and South’s are awarded a scrum on half way. Parra is penalised for not releasing the player. South’s take the scrum and with quick hands come right and score between the posts. South’s kick is successful. Southern Districts 7, Parra 0 after 8 minutes.
From the kick return South’s are held up for a Parra scrum on South’s 22 metre. Fly half Sam Hayward is crunched as he takes the ball forward. The play is stopped while Sam is treated for a head knock. Sam is replaced by Johnny Poe. Unfortunately for Sam we do have a registered Doctor present so Sam is no allowed to return to the game. Fly half John Poe has played every grade today from 4ths to 1sts. Thanks John. A great clubman! My only concern is that John has no knowledge of the game plan as John puts up a deep kick. It doesn’t find touch. My worst nightmares are confirmed as South’s spread wide and run the ball to the club house south corner. South’s score between the posts even after a great ball and all tackle by flanker Adrian Musico. The conversion is successful. Southern Districts 14, Parra 0 after 16 minutes.
Parra kick deep and South’s make 30 metres returning the ball. South’s lose control of the ball. Parra scrum on half way 5 metres in from the eastern sideline. Fly half John kicks deep. South’s take the ball on the fly and run down the side line leaving half Waldo Wessels in their wake as they exchange passes. Two tries 2 kicks and of course a few turn style tackles. There must be a message in that. “Kick the ball dead!” The conversion is unsuccessful. Southern Districts 19, Parra 0 after 20 minutes.
Both sides are playing well. It’s just Parra’s simple errors that gives the opposition good field position or puts the team under pressure. The next try is a cracker as South are penalised for holding on. Fly half John kicks to the north eastern corner. Parra lineout. Parra bring the ball down and after 5 phases of play half Waldo combines with fly half John who puts flanker Adrian Musico into the gap who then and then unloads to flanker Dan Tamone. Dan scores a great try between the posts. Wing Joey Leatigaga converts. Southern Districts 19, Parra 7. A brilliant structured try after 24 minutes of play. We are back in the game.
When I get excited watching the game the team gets punished by the rugby gods. South’s lineout on our 30 metre on the eastern sideline. South’s spread right with quick hands and score in the south western corner. The conversion is successful. Southern Districts 26, Parra 7. We can’t get into the game with any consistency as we lose our own lineout with a long ball. Our backs are up flat as South’s spread right to score. The conversion is successful. Southern Districts 33, Parra 7. To Parra’s credit we lift and after 5 phases of play Parra receive a penalty for South’s not releasing. Parra kicks to the north eastern corner. From the line out Parra bring the ball down into a rolling maul. South’s hold the Parra player up. South’s scrum 5 metres from their line. South’s kick for touch. Parra line out lock Seva Domoni brings the ball down into a rolling maul. Each of the forwards take the ball up and lock Seva scores next to the posts after 6 phases of play. A great team try. Wing Joey converts. Half time score: Southern Districts 33, Parra 14.
The half time talk was about tiding up the kicks. We are putting pressure on ourselves. I thought that was an understatement. We need to stay connected, when we make the tackle we are bouncing off and allowing them to run. Stop them!!!!
Southern Districts re start the game by kicking to prop Nigel Vaifale. Nigel takes the ball forward and is penalised for not releasing. Nigel placed the ball correctly and he gets pinged. South’s don’t need any more help. South’s kick for touch on the western side line 5 metres out. South’s attack up the centre and spread to the left scoring in the Tatafu corner. The conversion is unsuccessful. Southern Districts 38, Parra 14. The restart witnesses South’s penalised for a late tackle on half Waldo. Parra fail to find touch. A coach killer, criminal! This is school boy stuff or a Wallaby like ploy. South’s run the ball and are penalised for not releasing. Parra lineout on 22 metre. Parra bring the ball down from the line out and rumble forward completing 6 phases of great rugby. South’s are again penalised for a professional foul. Somebody is going to go here! Parra take the scrum. Full back Hayden Cole takes on South’s with his elusive running. Great play! Parra are playing positively. Parra force the turn over as the South’s half drops the ball in a great attacking position left of South’s posts on the 22. South’s replace 3 players. Penalty to Parra for South’s not releasing the player. Parra lineout on the clubhouse side on South’s 22. Parra turn the ball over and South’s kick it out. Parra lineout on 30 metre on the clubhouse side.
Parra are keeping the pressure on as South’s are penalised for lifting in the tackle. Parra lineout on the 5 metre on the clubhouse side. Fly half Johnny is caught. Penalty to Parra for a professional foul. The South’s flanker is yellow carded. Prop Nigel takes the ball up the middle. Parra are magnificent in support play. After 6 phases of attacking South’s line lock Seva Domomi scores his second try. Wing Joey converts. South’s 38, Parra 21 after 16 minutes of play in the second stanza.
Parra are on fire as the South’s half is penalised for stealing the ball from an offside position. Parra continues to build pressure on South’s as the team holds the ball going forward for 9 phases of play. Lock Seva Domomi scores his third try backing up. A fantastic effort Seva! Wing Joey’s kick is his worst for the afternoon. The conversion is unsuccessful. South’s 38, Parra 26. Congratulation boys on the bonus point.
Prop David Lolohea is penalised after getting up and running again from the tackle. Parra is coming home with a wet sail. South’s are rattled and take the penalty kick for the infringement. “The Two Blue’s Hill “razz the kicker. The South’s player misses. Well done boys! However, the miss kick is short lived. South’s attack our line from the drop out with picking and driving. Excellent work by the South’s forwards as they complete a push over try. The conversion is successful South’s 45, Parra 26 after 27 minutes of play.
We need 3 converted tries to get back into the game. This quickly becomes academic as we fail to tackle and South’s score in the Tatafu corner. The conversion is unsuccessful. South’s 50, Parra 26. The boys have put in. The score doesn’t reflect Parra’s work rate with 5 minutes to go. The restart witnesses Parra kicking deep and South’s return the kick. It’s a great kick as replacement lock Sione Fifita is forced to kick the ball backwards. Sione should have gone down on the ball. The South’s centre chases through and scores. South’s covert South’s 57 Parra 26. Unbelievable!
The games not over as Parra kick deep and South’s run the blind side using their replacement winger who has blistering speed and a good dummy. He scores out wide. The boys don’t deserve this. The kick is unsuccessful. Full time score Southern Districts 62, Parra 26. Congratulations to Southern Districts, they kept their foot on our throat for the full 80 minutes. Congratulations to Seva who controlled his own ball from the lineout and scored 3 tries. A man of the match performance!
Bring on Penrith. It is going to be a monumental game. Penrith were just pipped by Gordon having lead for most of the game and held Gordon try less in the first half. Penrith will be looking for their first win of the season.
Parramatta First Grade versus Gordon 24th June, Merrylands RSL Rugby Park
I would like to thank the Apprentice and the Phantom for taking over Two Blues reports while I was away travelling through Russia and the Baltic States. You don’t realise how lucky we are to have worldwide communications that enables you to open up on the Two Blues website and read about the Parramatta team and scores. Getting the results is easy enough through Flash Scores. However, not knowing what is happening is really agonising.
I was able to make it to the University game after arriving at 5 am on the Tuesday. It was a tough ask for all the boys through the grades against Sydney University, after the Saturday cancellation and then fronting on Tuesday night with work the next day.
Every game Parramatta play I know our teams have to work hard for the wins. As nothing comes easy and today games against Gordon won’t be any different. We were able to beat Gordon twice last year and this year we put ourselves under the pump when we played Gordon on 8th May. In the first round we allowed Gordon too much latitude conceding a try in the first 7 seconds and allowing a number tries to their outside backs which made it difficult to claw backing a win going down 41 to 34 in a close one.
The Two Blues kicks off and are running north to Merrylands Road. The first 10 minutes are always a danger period for Parra. We weather the kick-off after a Gordon up and under. Parra receives the first penalty for Gordon being offside. Parra fails to find touch on the eastern side and Gordon runs the ball back at us with pace. There are number of turnstile tackles as Gordon attacks our line. Fortunately Gordon knocks on for the Parra scrum 5 metres out after 8 minutes of play. Parra win the scrum and kick to the open side on the east. Gordon turns the ball over and straight away we give the ball back. Gordon spread right and with quick hands score in the south western corner. Gordon is able to convert. Gordon 7, Parramatta 0. We are getting better we are outside the 5 minute danger period by 6 minutes.
The contest is pretty even but we are playing all the game in our own half. Parra has their defensive structures in place but have not had any ball after 20 minutes of play. Centre Robert Duff is marking up well, leaving Gordon little room to attack. From our line out on our 22 metre Parra turns the ball over and Gordon spread right to the edges and score in the south western corner again. It is a difficult kick but Gordon is able to convert. Gordon 12, Parra 0 after 20 minutes of play. From the kick restart flanker Daniel Tamone completes a great cover tackle on the Gordon winger. Gordon are penalised and half Waldo Wessels taps and runs 20 metres. Waldo is caught for a Gordon scrum on half-way. Parra exert good pressure and Gordon knocks on. We have an awesome front row in David Lolohea, Nick Blacklock and Nigel Vaifale. From the scrum fly half Sam Hayward puts up a midfield bomb. Not a great kick or a good idea! Gordon run the ball back at Parra and bomb a certain try stopped by Hayden Cole. Parra has spent the last 30 minutes in our own half. Full back Jaline Graham puts in a massive clearing kick of 80 metres. Parra get a penalty for Gordon not rolling away. Parra lineout on half way.
Flanker Daniel Tamone is having a good game and nearly breaks the Gordon line. Finally we are in Gordon’s half only to hear the half-time bell. The referee has been performing well and hasn’t missed much. Parra as a team are slightly off the pace. At a great expense to the club’s entertainment budget there is 100 metre “Undie run” on the eastern side line. Half-time score Gordon 12 Parra 0.
Gordon kicks off to the Tatafu Polota-Nau Pavilion. There is great contest between the forwards as our lock and captain is felled by his opposite number. A ruck is formed and Andrew Cox Cumberland-throws his opposite to the ground. Gordon scrum on Parra 25 Tatafu corner. From the scrum win fullback Jaline Graham is yellow carded for a shoulder charge. A very soft call! Gordon takes the scrum from the penalty 5 metres out in north east corner. The scrum platform is good and Gordon pull a scissor move with a change of direction resulting in a try between the posts. I add that Gordon were piggy backed to this position after 3 successive penalties. Gordon converts. Gordon 19, Parra 0. Parra need to score next to stay in touch.
We are finally in Gordon’s half after 8 minutes of play in the second half. Well done boys! Parra have found their mojo and are playing out of their skins. As a spectator we rarely see Parra go past 2 or 3 phases of play but most often 1. Parra have now completed 10 phases and have the penalty advantage. Parra scrum 5 metres out. After a forward maul and 3 phases of play prop David Lolohea scores between the posts. Sustained pressure is all we need to do! Para converts in front. Gordon 19, Parra 7. Gordon kick off to Coxie and the Gordon hooker is yellow carded for a professional foul. Parra are on fire as wing Roman oelu finishes off an incredible attacking move and scores under the posts. Roman ran the ball around from the eastern touch line to better our kick for goal. Good play! Parra converts. Gordon 19 Parra 14 after 16 minutes of play in the second half.
From the kick return Adrian Musico breaks through and the ever present Coxie is in support emphatically breaking into the Gordon’s half. It was nearly a try. Parra are playing as unit with great energy. It is heart-warming to watch. Parra spread wide and the try is scored by Hayden Cole in the south western corner. Gordon 19, Parra 19. Wing Roman Ioelu converts a 45 metre kick that Jonathon Thurston would have been proud of. Stop the game! Parra 21 Gordon 19 with 20 minutes left on the clock. Parra are playing brilliantly. It is the best I have seen them play this year. Three tries in ten minutes. Can we bottle this stuff? Robert Duff looks dangerous every time he gets the ball. Parra completes 6 phases of play. Parra attack and lose the ball forward. Gordon scrum on the 22 and Gordon attack with a penalty advantage. The touch judge has his flag out. Lock Michael Ross is yellow carded for a high tackle. “Bugger”, as they say in the ads. Questionable call. This is Parra’s second yellow card, and triggered by the same touchie. There was nothing in the tackle other than a slap across the face as the runner was in the ruck. Gordon takes the scrum and score between the posts. Gordon 26, Parra 21 with 10 minutes to go after a successful conversion.
The kick return goes to the big Gordon lock as he steamrolls forward trying to make a speed hump out of fly half Sam Hayward. Fortunately Sam brings him down. Penalty to Parra for Gordon not releasing the tackled player Parra turn over the ball form the lineout on our 30 metre. Gordon forms a rolling maul and scores a pushover try next to the posts. Gordon converts. Gordon 33, Parra 21 with 7 minutes to go.
David Lolohea is playing out of his skin as is Robert Duff and Hayden Cole. Centre Robert Duff makes a brilliant run through the whole of the Gordon team and picks up Hayden Cole who scores the try next to the posts. Parra convert. Gordon 33, Parra 28. Both teams have earned a bonus point. There is 3 minutes to go as Gordon kick deep. Parra has been doing everything to find a way through when fly half Sam lets a long pass go to Captain Coxie standing at slips. Unfortunately it is intercepted by the Gordon fly half and Gordon score between the posts. The conversion is successful. Final score Gordon 40, Parra 28. Another one that got away.
I am over winning. I am now into how the team plays win or lose. I was really pleased in the improvement in the team. The team can score tries and is defending well. Two Gordon tries came off the turnover from our lineout. This criminal! Today was a good game to watch. You were the dominant team for 35 minutes of the second half. The final Gordon try, an intercept under the posts and after the bell, meant that the scoreline didn’t really reflect the closeness of the match. You all played well. No one can question your commitment. Bring on Southern Districts.