22nd June, 2016
Another spine-tingling victory has kept the Bond Premier Grade team in touch with the leaders for the finals, in fifth place, just 3 points out of the four. Bond have now won 5 of their last 6 matches and are showing terrific fitness and determination. At one stage against GPS at Ashgrove they were down 19-8 and had only 13 players on the field but, somehow, they won 23-22.
With inspirational captain Josh Fuimaono out, as well as Rory McKenzie, Milton Sikuea and Tim Hindmarsh, our Premier Grade team looked to be underdogs against Jeeps, who’d beaten top sides - Souths, Brothers and Sunnybank in recent weeks. But the return of experienced backrower, Cam Bracewell and clever flyhalf Scott Daruda made up for the losses.
It was “silky hands” Scott that put Waylen Skips over after just 4 minutes, floating a cutout pass wide, after the forwards had sucked in the defence with a spate of pick and drives.
Jeeps hit back with a carbon-copy try to Todd Winkley, thanks to a well-judged cutout pass from centre James Herbert and it was 5-all.
Jeeps had 2 penalties in front of the posts but elected to go for tries – a decision they would rue later on. However, they began to assert themselves through the set piece and had the better of territory and possession. Finally a break by centre Steve Hunt led to a try by Waita Setu and Jeeps led 12-5. A long-range penalty by Vitori Buatava was a morale-booster, but it was still the Gallopers in front 12-8 at the break.
A yellow card to Ruben Fuimaono for a ‘no arms’ tackle was not what coach Sean Hedger was looking for at the start of the second half. Then Robbie Moe also copped 10 minutes in the bin for repeated scrum infringements. The Bond scrum was buckling and it was no surprise when referee Brett Cronan awarded a penalty try. 19-8 down, with only 13 men! It looked hopeless for Bond supporters.
But someone forgot to tell the boys from Robina. Gus Q and Mitch Third were cutting the defence to ribbons whenever they got the ball. After fresh legs came on, in the form of Brandon Anae and Vinnie Quigley, Bond got some rare possession. A slick pass by Oisin Heffernan put Callum McDonald through a gap and led to a try by big number 8, Tai Ford.
5 minutes later Bond were in again. This time it was a nice offload by Brad Jones to Mitch Third who raced 20m before passing to Gus Q. The tiny winger danced his way through several tackles, to within a metre of the line. Tai Ford distributed to Scott Daruda who calmly drew the defence and put Waylen Skips over for his second try. Third’s conversion gave Bond an unlikely lead 20-19. A change had come over the match.
GPS regained the lead with a penalty by Rika Batibasaga 22-20. (The penalty count was 13-6 to GPS at this stage.) But an inspirational play by Robbie Moe – when he fended off giant Fijian international Radike Samo – led to a penalty being awarded to Bond. With 3 minutes left, Mitch Third lined up the kick, 38m out and 15m in from touch. He landed it! Bond had the lead again 23-22.
Jeeps never gave up. Although time was up on the clock, there was extra injury time and GPS retained possession, slogging their way upfield. Bond’s Irish prop, Osh Heffernan ripped the ball free and kicked for touch, to end the game. But, with the worst shank of all time, it sailed into the arms of a Jeeps player – and it was on again.
Against Brothers in their previous match Jeeps pick and drove 50m after the bell to score the winning try. Could they do it again? Bond gave away a breakdown penalty and Batibasaga came up to take the angled shot from 30m out. But he missed and Bond had won 23-22.
When you consider they had 2 men sent to the bin and at one stage trailed 19-8 it was one of the gutsiest wins by any club this season – and it kept their finals hopes alive. Tireless backrowers, Callum Mcdonald and Tai Ford were outstanding in a fantastic team effort, as were Gus Q and Mitch Third.
With 37 points, Bond are only 4 behind third-placed Sunnybank and 3 behind Souths, who we play next Saturday at Robina.
With 3 teams in the four and the other in 5th place, Bond have a real chance of qualifying all of our teams for the finals. So come on down to Robina and support your team(s.)
Match times v Souths on Saturday:
Colts 1 11.10am
Premier Colts 12.30pm
Premier Reserves 1.50pm
Premier Grade 3.20pm
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