20th July, 2015
HOT AND COLD BUT WE’RE INTO THE GRAND FINAL
Tim Eddy’s Reserves have been the pride of the club this season, beating every side in the competition, except Brothers. For some reason, we had a bogey about the Brethren and had suffered two big losses to them. And, even though we had the double chance in the finals by finishing second on the ladder, we had lost to Easts in the last round – hardly ideal preparation.
You could tell by the warmup that things would be different this time. There was a grim determination and not a single spilt pass as the boys warmed up in the corner of Ballymore No 1. Light rain was falling at the kickoff but it didn’t affect our boys, who made the perfect start.
From a long throw to the lineout 20m from Brothers’ line, Tassie Jones picked up the loose ball and ran towards the corner. TJ Siakasini ran to him, reefed the ball from his hands and bashed his way over between two defenders. Wow – what a start! 5-0 to Bond.
From a strong scrum Luke Evans kicked wide to the left wing, where Adam Gauder stole the ball between two Brothers defenders, passed inside to Luke Evans, who drew the fullback and passed to Tom Slipper – over next to the posts. Bond lead 12-0.
With our boys counter-rucking and dominating possession, along with clinical execution, Bond looked like the Wallabies. Connor Malan was in for a third try but the last pass was ruled forward. No matter, a few moments later another powerful scrum drove forward, Stacey Hosking picked up and, running crouched low, smashed his way through two tackles to score. It was 19-0 after 20 minutes.
Brothers finally got some ball and kicked a penalty goal – but there was no stopping the boys from the Coast. Reece Mann, who was having a great game, raced over for the fourth try. It started with a long kick downfield by Dion Taumata - Adam Gauder put pressure on Brothers’ winger, won the ball and passed inside to Connor Malan, who sprinted 50m to the corner. Although he was pulled down 5m short, the ball was quickly re-cycled to Tassie and Bailey and onto Reece. A try worthy of Premier Grade! 26-3 to Bond. Considering that the last time these teams met Brothers had won by over 30, it was more than a 50-point turnaround – and we hadn’t even reached halftime. Our players looked at the clock and relaxed, looking ahead to the break. But Brothers hadn’t stooped – they won possession and raced downfield for the softest of tries and kicked the goal. Now the score was 26-10.
Immediately the second half started, Brothers wily flyhalf, Zac Harding, put up a high ball, Adam Gauder jumped way too early to catch the ball but it bounced freakishly, straight into the arms of Harding, who strolled over under the posts and converted. Now it was 26-17 and the momentum had swung to Brothers.
Adam Gauder, determined to atone for his mistake, raced through and drew the last defender, passing perfectly to an unmarked Tassie Jones. The hooker looked surprised to be in the clear and dropped it cold.
Richie Arnold was penalised for a high tackle and Brothers landed another penalty. It was 26-20 and our team looked hesitant.
A now-confident Brothers drove downfield, worked a pick and drive and crashed over – suddenly they were in front 27-26.
But, all credit to the Bond boys, with some fresh legs and steely determination, they re-grouped and Luke Evans kicked two pressure goals to regain the lead 32-27. Brothers has scored 24 points to 6 over the last 41 minutes and our boys had learned a salutary lesson. The old cliché – you have to play for the full 80 minutes.
So, we go through to the Grand Final and meet the winner of next week’s Preliminary final.
Tim Eddy, a relieved man after the close shave, said afterwards that he was proud of the team’s brilliant play in the first half and their guts in coming back to win. His best player was “Mr Consistency” Antony Vassiliades.
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