24th April, 2017
In Premier Grade Head Coach Sean Hedger gave three young players their run-on debuts – flanker Callum Ball, centre Samuela Helaman and fullback Hayden Sargeant. While they all played well, Sunnybank’s big pack laid the foundation for their win. Bond didn’t do themselves any favours, giving away a spate of silly penalties, and there were plenty from referee Rachel Horton.
Bond drew first blood with hooker Ben Hunt scoring after a perfectly-executed lineout and driving maul. Mitch Third, playing against his old club, slotted the conversion to make it 7-0.
Former Australian Schools winger Joey Fittock finished off a slick backline move to score wide out. 7-5 to Bond.
Jake Upfield was sin-binned for a high tackle. Instead of going for an easy penalty, Sunnybank opted for the scrum, having just taken two tight heads. On the back of a dominant pack, their hooker Tom Mellor went over. It was 12-7 to Sunnybank. Then nippy halfback Isaak Fines-Leleiwasa darted through to score again before halftime and Jake Strachan kicked a penalty, making it 22-7 at the break.
In spite of the coach’s warning about giving away penalties, Samuela Helaman got 10 minutes in the bin for a professional foul near our line and again the Dragons capitalised, with big centre Henry Taefu bullocking through the tackle of Oscar Dennis to score. Strachan converted and it was 29-7.
To give credit to our boys, they didn’t give up. Fresh legs were introduced and, lifting their game, they drove into Sunnybank territory and Mitch Third broke away down the short side. Backing up inside was rookie Hayden Sargeant, who somehow weaved a path through three defenders to score – 29-12.
Sunnybank’s lock Dave Henaway was sin-binned for a high tackle and Bond began to find holes in their defence. Winger Nate Corbett was over but put a foot into touch. Then he knocked on with the line open and was replaced by Michael Marshall. Mitch Third made a try-saving tackle on a big forward but speedy Fines-Leleiwasa scooted through a gap to score under the posts. It was 36-12 and the Dragons were looking at a bonus point – scoring 5 tries to 2. But in the closing minute big Tai Ford raced 20m to score after being put away by Scott Daruda. The bonus point was gone, but not the win. Fulltime – Sunnybank 36 Bond 19.
At the post-match presentation, debutant Hayden Sargeant was named Bond’s best player. The same honour went to teenage hooker Alex Mafi in his first game – and look where he is now – starring for the Queensland Reds. Well played Sarge!
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