Once again 1st grade matched up well against the much fancied competition front runners at Manly Oval but it was our basic catch and pass skills and decision making in key moments that let us down and ultimately costs us a better result.
As difficult as it is to come away from a very tough game where all players really put their bodies on the line without as much as a bonus point, we certainly took a step forward in many areas and certainly showed that when we get these things right, those close losses against the teams at the top will turn into close wins.
We were immediately under pressure early on with Manly pressuring our line from a maul ten meters from our line but the boys stayed strong in defense, forced a turnover and exited well. Our first opportunity with the ball however saw us put the ball down and suddenly we were again under try line pressure and this time the Manly maul accuracy delivered the first try of the game.
We settled into the game from this moment on but passing accuracy and option taking again let us down. With both teams guilty of errors in possession, we probably created more genuine scoring chances in the first half but did not have the patience skill level to take advantage and on the back of some very poor decisions at the back end of the first half, we allowed Manly a relatively soft try just before half time to go 3-12 down.
We began the second half well but passing accuracy and patience near the Manly line again eluded us. With no change to the half time score 15 minutes into the second half, we lost a player to the sin bin for cynical play and with a one man advantage in the ensuing scrum near our line, Manly were awarded a penalty try after the scrum collapsed. Just as we got parity with numbers on the field, we lost another player to the bin for a deliberate knock down and whilst we managed to keep our try line in tact for the next 1o minutes, it was hard to make up the deficit. Manly then scored a bonus point try off a low percentage kick and we were suddenly down 3-26 on the back of some very average decisions.
The team showed real character with 13 minutes to play, scoring quickly to bring the score to 10-26 with time for a remarkable come back still. Alas though, we scored our 3rd try on the stroke of full time and our late charge on the scoreboard was all too late. A disappointing result brought about by poor decisions and poor execution. We need to be better and good teams get this staff right more often than we are at present. On to Coogee Oval for another step forward.
2nd grade made a huge improvement on their outing from the week before. A disciplined patient start saw Will Maddocks break the deadlock after around 20mins. From the restart after the try Easts were put under a sustained period of pressure and there defence stood strong. Eventually after the inability to clear our own lines we conceded a fortuitous try which was converted which was followed by the exchange of a penalty each. After half time Easts played some fantastic attacking rugby which saw them take the lead through another try to Will Maddocks. A penalty try to manly followed by a try to Will Patterson set up a tense finish were manly went over from a pushover scrum with 2 mins to go. It was a hugely disappointing way to finish but having two tries disallowed and missed chances earlier in the game we can see an easts 2nd grade definitely on the up.
EASTS 7 - MANLY 34
Third Grade went to Manly Oval after a good win against Eastwood expecting something to happen. It did. We were comprehensively outplayed. We hadn’t even taken up our positions before a bad defensive read saw Manly scoot over in the corner and we were behind 7-0. A penalty and a soft try soon after saw us down 0-17.
The game went through a period of consolidation and, although we competed in this period, we gave away too much possession at the breakdown . A missed tackle brought about Manly’s third try and we went to halftime down 24-0.
The second half was a more even contest. A fourth Manly try after some flimsy defence out wide, plus a further penalty, took the score to 0-34. From there we were able to score and nearly score again. The bell sounded on a Manly victory, 34-7.
A bad day at the office? Yes, but nothing that cannot be turned around. Guy Beever was strong in his comeback game, Henry Holden continues to improve, and when the support players decide to follow George Mallat we will score more tries.
EASTS 7 - MANLY 10
After a heavy defeat the week before, we were determined to get our season back on track at Manly Oval.
The first half was a tough battle across the park, with both teams creating many opportunities. We were matching them up front and our defence was solid. We received a penalty goal opportunity halfway through the half after one of their men was sin-binned but, unfortunately, the kick was unsuccessful.
It wasn’t until after the halftime bell that Manly were able to break our defence and score. The kick was unsuccessful so we went to oranges down 0-5.
The second half played out similarly to the first with both teams making a tough battle of it. Fifteen minutes into the half Manly were able to set up a nice play, recycling the ball quickly to see their half back scooting down the blindside and scoring in the corner. Conversion was missed, Manly up 10-0. We were by no means out of it, though, and kept at Manly after this with repeated raids and pressure. Finally, we were rewarded with a great backline play that saw David Wilkie score under the posts. Jake Tierney converted to take the score to 10-7. With ten minutes to go, it was now anyone’s game. Beasties were finishing strongly and had possession after possession in the final stages but, unfortunately, the final whistle beat us.
It was a much improved performance that hopefully instilled some belief in the players that they are certainly better than their early season performances would suggest. We look forward to this week’s challenge when we meet Randwick at Coogee Oval, certainly looking to improve further and hopefully come away with a win.