Ah! That was better - good wins for the Firsts, Seconds and Fourths (yes, Fourths - more of that later).
FIRST GRADE COLTS
EASTS 29 - MANLY 7
After the horrors of the previous week's loss to Eastwood, a much better performance was called for and it was certainly delivered by our Firsts in a match that they always had under control.
Beasties stuck to their patterns and applied constant pressure to wear Manly down but it did take 22 minutes for the first try to come for Easts. The ball came wide from a good rolling maul to left winger, Dylan Luisi, who was given an easy run in for a try out wide.
Only minutes later, back rower James Donato was gifted a try from five metres out when Manly overthrew a lineout, the ball falling straight into his hands allowing him to score untouched.
Easts' third try came just eight minutes before the break when centre James Hawkins fed five-eighth Nick Shannon on the wrap around and he scooted thirty meters to score. We went to oranges 17-0 up and things were looking promising.
It was eighteen minutes into the second term before Easts scored again. Hooker Dylan Woods made a thrilling break before giving an inside ball which sent bustling centre Henry Patterson on his way to the line.
Minutes later, Easts' final try belonged to the forwards; James Donato drove hard off the back of the lineout and found his second rower, Darcy Christie-Johnson, in support. With the help of the pack, Christie-Johnson thundered over for a converted try which was the Tricolours' fifth, securing them the bonus point.
A late penalty try to Manly finished the scoring
Everyone lifted their performance in an encouraging sign of things to come. James Donato gave another powerful effort along with James Hawkins, who had his best game for Easts.
All in all, a very satisfactory result.
SECOND GRADE COLTS
EASTS 28 - MANLY 5
Our Second Grade Colts arrived at an early hour at Keirle Park in Manly, expecting a tough outing against the young Marlins. They certainly got that and more.
The Marlins scored first and continued to build pressure on the Easts defence but that defence was outstanding. Eventually, the tide turned and Easts scored three excellent tries to lead 21 – 5 at the break .
Manly again rallied and the second forty minutes was a hard fought battle with both sides playing some enterprising rugby. The half was well contested and, with seconds remaining, the final try was scored by a weary Easts side to give them a four-try, bonus point victory.
It is hard to pick any one player from Seconds as everyone gave their all. The highlight, though, was outstanding defence from the whole team, which held Manly to only one try in the entire seventy minutes. Well done to all players on an emphatic victory.
THIRD GRADE COLTS
EASTS 22 - MANLY 24
Third Grade Colts' forwards lifted their aggression levels from last week and, consequently, put on a much better performance than their efforts against Eastwood. Our domination of lineouts continued from last week; put-ins from Will Foxton were accurate and jumpers Horton and Rathie competed well, pinching four of Manly’s throws while securing all our own ball.
Manly opened the scoring with a penalty goal and built on that lead, scoring a strong forwards try from a quick tap five meters out. Easts hit back with a penalty and some strong play, forcing Manly to concede further penalties on two occasions. On each occasion, Beasties went for the line and constructed strong mauls, resulting firstly in a penalty try and then a pushover try. At half time, Easts looked the stronger of the two teams and the coaches merely asked for more of the same.
It was a different story in the second half, however, when mistakes crept into the game. Several knock-ons and a mounting penalty count kept Manly in the game. The pressure continued to mount on Easts and they made some poor decisions trying to force the play. Our opponents were happy to feast on our mistakes, scoring two second half tries.
With five minutes to go, the Tricolours pulled out all stops and mounted a strong attack. Manly was also feeling the pressure and a sideline scuffle near Manly’s line saw a Marlins player red carded. From the ensuing penalty, Negus went over next to the posts and Kelly Wirth nailed the conversion quickly to get back to halfway. The try secured us the bonus point but the ref called timeout following the conversion and Third Grade missed their chance to grab a miracle victory.
FOURTH GRADE COLTS
EASTS 39 - LANE COVE 0
With nearly one hundred registered Colts players, we have been able to place a Fourth Grade Colts team into an organised competition. Instead of some players having to stand down one week, they now have a competition to compete for silverware and what a great way to start - an emphatic victory in our first game!
Easts are lucky indeed to have two Beastie stalwarts in charge - Rick Somerton and John Scanlan will be looking after the boys and instilling in them the Easts culture (perhaps out of a schooner glass!).
With only fifteen players available for this game as we still have a lot of injuries, the entire complement was required to play for the full seventy minutes under a hot midday sun.
The Easts boys showed the benefit of all the training they have been doing since October, putting in a polished display to easily dispose of Lane Cove by scoring seven unanswered tries.
In contrast to the Colts Thirds who had played earlier in the day, Fourths controlled most aspects of the play and did not try to overplay their hand. Ethan Petate and Tate Kemeny were amongst it all day in the forwards and the halves combination of Comino and Pepper worked a treat.
Thanks to John Scanlan who assumed the role of manager for the day, helping warm the team up while coach Somerton had to make several late positional changes. Both did a grand job in keeping the team hydrated throughout.
And so the old enemy, Randwick, awaits this coming week. This is never an easy assignment and, with our First Grade Colts playing at Coogee and kicking off at 11.50am, it would be nice to get some support for the boys. Remember - ask not what your club can do for you but what you can do for your club!
THE EASTERN TOUCHLINER