3rd July, 2017
How sweet it was to hear the club song being belted out by our Premier Grade after their spine-tingling 18-17 victory over Brothers in Round 14 at Crosby Park. After losing the previous two matches, Premier Colts and Reserves, by a point, it was fantastic to turn the tables.
Reserves went down 22-21 and Premier Colts 24-23. The odd thing about all three games was that nobody attempted a field goal as a match-winner. Colts 1 lost 35-12 but were far from disgraced against the competition leaders.
Our Premier Grade were boosted by the return of Australian Under 20 stars, Harry Nucifora and Dylan Riley, from the World Championships in Georgia and another youngster, Michael Marshall came onto the wing. Another U20 rep, towering lock Angus Blyth, came off the bench after playing the full Premier Colts game. With Hayden Sargent at fullback, it was the youngest backline we’ve fielded all season. And how well they played!
After Bond dominated the early exchanges, Michael Marshall scored the first try after a scintillating break in midfield by strapping centre Dylan Riley. He shrugged off his opponent’s tackle around halfway, raced downfield and threw a long pass out to the right wing. Although it bounced in front of him, Marshall had the good sense to toe it ahead, pick it up and race over untouched. Mitch Third missed the conversion and a penalty shot soon after, so Harry Nucifora was given his chance from 40m out – and he nailed it. Bond led 8-0 and the Crosby faithful were in silence. We were terrific in the set piece – scrums as solid as a rock and winning a feast of ball in the lineouts. Caderyn Neville in particular was having a field day.
Brothers hit back with a try, against the run of play – hooker John Sayer under the posts after a break in the centres. Then a beautifully-judged chip kick by veteran flyhalf Dallan Murphy bounced perfectly for classy winger Mitch Felsman and he strolled over untouched in the corner. It seemed unfair that Brothers led 12-8 at halftime.
Unfortunately the second half started badly, as Felsman flew over in the right corner again after a defensive mixup by our young backs. It was 17-8 and long-suffering Bond fans were thinking “here we go again.”
But all credit to Sam Clifton and his young team, who never dropped their heads. With Angus Blyth replacing Neville, the pack began to dominate the breakdowns and the backs were unleashed. After a dominant scrum, halfback Harry Nucifora, threw a brilliant cutout pass to Dylan Riley on the left wing and he made the most of the overlap to score. Harry missed the conversion and, with 5m left, Brothers still led 17-13.
Once again it was Harry who sparked the winning try. Spotting a gap in the ruck in midfield, he darted through and raced 20m. Coming to the fullback he offloaded to big Tai Ford who’d ranged up on his outside shoulder. Tai showed speed and fitness to race away from tired cover defenders and he dived over. Although Harry couldn’t land the conversion, Bond led 18-17 with just 2 minutes to play.
Brothers threw everything at our boys in a desperate attempt to snatch victory. They had a vital lineout throw but Jake Upfield somehow managed to win possession and we held on for a much-needed win.
Flanker Joel Brown was named Bond’s best player by Brothers but the whole team can take a bow, especially the young rookies. When you consider that about half our Colts players are still at school, the future certainly looks bright.
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