A well deserved victory for the good guys and it puts us in the main event, congratulations guys! Whilst it may look like a seven try romp on paper in reality the game certainly had its high and low points in terms of execution and at times we failed to maintain our structure. As the Hills coach and several of his players were there observing, I am putting this down to a good hedging strategy, and if that was the case I think we certainly managed to keep some of our capacity up our sleeve. It was not a flawless display by any means and I would suggest that we will have to execute things a lot tighter this coming Saturday in the big one. You can however only play what is in front of you and I think the way the game transpired saw us lose some momentum at times; complacency crept into our game, the niggle distracted us and our patience wore thin, we found ourselves trying to score off first phases, and it was notable at times that our attitude changed as a team, which hampered our structure and made us vulnerable, we must avoid this on the coming Saturday.
The lead up to the game was not ideal, with late injuries and withdrawals, whilst a dental issue kept Todd Stephenson out of the centres for a week. A plethora of motivational material was provided by Coach Lee to the troops, one of which was a speech by Sylvester Stallone to his real life son; Sage, acting in Rocky 4, it was a bit disconcerting on Sunday to see that Sage Stallone who featured in the clip died on Friday about the time Greg posted the speech, what did you do to him mate?
An injury was sustained by Justin Gates in the 4th grade match up at Waitara the prior week, an injury that would have ruled our captain out for any normal round, but realising the positional constraints of our team he pushed on through the pain and led the troops very well, getting through plenty of work upfront himself. The team started at a good pace and with ball in hand looked reasonably clinical putting together some positive passages of play and getting into their assigned rhythm. We had to win this match up front first and notable forwards who volunteered for the traditional grafting style of play were Jayde, Nate & Lava. Isaac did plenty of tackling and stopped many onslaughts but what an ordinary chip & chase attempt, I think we might leave that one out for this weekend. Timbrell was like a terrier causing havoc around the pack with positive support play and strong defence. Jayde again completely dominated line outs securing all of our ball and stealing a lion's share of mountains ball, Nate & Lava lifted extremely well all game. The pack all over had a decent balance of pick and drive, mauling and working off Stuart, there was however still some over commitment at the break down. Mountains stuck to their traditional grinding forward style and our smaller but more mobile pack adapted well most of the time however, at some stages some forwards were walking a little too often and way too early in the game! Special mention to Steve masters who stepped up and filled the boots of tight head with gusto and anchored the scrum solidly, also making a proactive contribution around the paddock.
The backs were looking good with only a few miss timed balls preventing them from scoring more points early, eventually they put some positive phases together and were rewarded. Mountains were strong opponents and defended extremely well but our backs got the better of them and simply looked a little more experienced and refined as a backline. Once again Joel showed his versatility with his trademark elusive style of running, counter attacking with gusto and claiming a five pointer with some amazing foot work. Matt Cullen once against proved to be more than a handful for the opposition with constant hard running and tackling and his support play was almost without fault. Rhys Wigham stepping back into the starting line up, put on his hunting gear and never stopped looking for opportunities and on several occasions was unlucky not to have scored or put someone else over the line however, he was generally involved during the earlier phases when we did score. Tyler's service was fairly crisp and consistent with good positive talk driving his pack forward around the field. Tom Carnaffan again impressed and justified his promotion back to the starting line up, not only scoring his fourth try in as many starts but unselfishly putting Tyler away down the left wing (well done Tyler you avoided the nudie run!).
The subs did well and managed to maintain the momentum thanks to Dez, Rob Precious (who is sadly away this coming Saturday, thanks for your efforts over the season Rob and we will do our best to save you a premiership medal) and the other reserves. Eddie once again punched well above his weight taking on guys 3 or 4 times his size, Sean injected some life and pace into the back line with his searching runs and solid defence and Remi our French import made a short but solid contribution.
In a great mark of sportsmanship the Mountains coach; Leigh Dodds, addressed some fantastic comments and advice to our huddle after the game. Leigh said that he admired our style of play as a great brand of footy and that he and his boys look forward to supporting us down at Hills this Saturday where the Mountains senior grades will be taking on Hills later in the day. The Mountains match report also shows the respect they held our team in, stating they "....were well beaten by Brothers....The game was over by halftime with the opposition in front by 27-0" the report goes on lamenting the fact that our smaller pack had managed to get the better of the much larger Mountain's side but conceding victory went to the better team on the day.
Well, this is it boys the big one, I hope you are all enjoying this week and running through some possible game scenarios in your mind, how will you be the difference? Our kickers Stuey and Tyler will be taking some time out during the week for goal kicking practice and in general we should all be thinking how we can lift for the big game to improve our individual and team performance. With training on Thursday we will look to train as well and with the same commitment and purpose as we did on Thursday of last week, be there by 7pm and our session will include another run through with 1st Grade. Further details about the possible bus trip and plans post game will come out during the week, please stay tuned to the facebook updates. We have rightly won through to play for the Radford Cup, we will be playing the form team of the season at their home ground, executing the game plan and playing our own 'form' game will make victory oh so sweet. BRING IT ON, IT IS OUR TIME!
Senor Ole Ado
RADFORD CUP GRAND FINAL vs Hills.
Saturday 21st of July 10:30am Yattenden Oval, John St, Baulkham Hills
Tyler 1, Stu 2.
3: Jayde Gray & Joel Brooks
2: Matt Cullen
1: Rhys Wigham
Brothers 8 - 5 Epping
A tough but deserved win for a core group of fourth graders. With our backs to the wall in the second half we took the win that puts us in a good position to aim for finals football.
It wasn't pretty but our grit and determination won us through in the end against the first of four well drilled Epping sides.
Dean got the sole try from the wing, nice work for a man in a very unfamiliar position!
3: Tim - Backs had a great day, and Tim is becoming a stalwarth at 13. Another solid game in defence and attack.
2: Shaunie - Tireless tackling, ball carrying and strong defensive work.
1: Matt D - Nice running lines, physical defence, part of a back line that's getting up in the opposition face and winning us momentum.
Brothers 31 - 0 Epping
Against a solid but unspectacular Epping side this was an opportunity to continue our partly stalled push for finals footy.
However, due to continuing absences from flu and injury there was a bunch of dedicated guys who had to double up.
It's always tough to play two games, god knows we've done enough of it in the past, but against another physical well coached Epping side, it was going to be a big ask to get another win to make it two on the trot.
Despite performing admirably, we went down due mostly to a lack of structure caused by another massively changed lineup and tiredness from doubling up.
3: Opie - Another back row masterclass form the veteran. Tape him and show it to your kids.
2: Dean - Another great performance from the mouthy half back, good organisation and Berrick Barnes like technique in defence.
1: Tim - Making a habit of putting in consistently good performances. Another solid display.
Brothers 7 - 3 Epping
Well, you can pick any number of a million excuses.
But the simple fact is that if we don't train we're not prepared, and if we're not prepared we struggle to click like we have done most of the season.
This was a pretty average performance from what on paper looks a really really strong team, but up against another well coached and well drilled Epping side, who are no slouches, it was a tough game to grind out a result.
We managed to get up, but by pretty much the slimmest of margins.
Hopefully, this can be a kick in the arse we need to get our act together sort out some things, and get back to playing the kind of rugby we played at Blue Mountains.
Farnzy got the try and converted it.
3: Tux - Everyone's favourite player. Little legend.
2: Si - solid defensibve performance, getting back to his best.
1: Moisey - Annoying git. Exactly who you want on your side.
Brothers - Epping
Another good win for first grade.
A solid professional victory to complete the double over our near neighbours.
Blacky picked up a hatrick, Johnny Gibbs got a brace to add to his scoring streak (he's hot right now), Johnny Nichols got another as did Maty Mc.
3: Blacky - Hatrick, need we say more?
2: Ratu - Massive defensive, and kicked a couple of goals not bad for a flanker!
1: Macca - Another class performance from the ranga...!