Possession is a basic fundamental of rugby, so our disrespect for possession and the ease with which we give it away is hurting us at present.
Going into Saturday’s game against the undefeated premiers, we had placed a lot of emphasis on our ability to get the ball to the right end of the field and building pressure on the opposition through better execution of basic skills. Whilst we certainly managed to do better in the field position stats against North’s and maintained possession for longer periods throughout the match, turnovers at crucial times cost us the win handing at least 2 tries to Norths from easy turnovers in possession.
After a very promising start where we pressured Norths for the first 10 minutes, the Norths #1 was allowed to roll around the side of our ruck and kick the ball out of the back of the ruck only to see the Norths #14 charge through and pick up the loose ball before their #8 scored an unlikely try. Shortly after, Norths built pressure to score out wide and take it to 0-14 before we could even blink. We settled down however and after sustained pressure, Archie King put the ball over the line to bring it back to 7-14. We opened up a number of attacking opportunities in the first half only to see an over ambitious pass thrown or a ball taken into touch or not recycled well enough. On the other hand, Norths got one more opportunity on half time and took it to lead 7-19 at the break.
Disappointed with the scoreboard having been the better side in the first half in many areas, the Beasties struck early in the second half when Archie King crashed over for his second try and at 14-19, we were well in the contest. We were playing with plenty of confidence by this stage with our set piece laying a great platform for enterprising attack whilst our defence was again staying strong but once again, almost on cue and after defending some determined Norths attack for multiple phases, we managed to get the ball back and thrown it away just as quickly to see Norths score their second try from our errors in the match.
It was difficult to accept a scoreline of 14-24 having been the better team for most of the 6o minutes but with 20 minutes remaining, there was plenty of time. The boys bounced back fairly quickly when Lyndsey Stephens scored his debut try in 1st grade to take it to 19-24 and whilst we missed the conversion, there was still 10 minutes and we were finishing the stronger.
With five minutes to go we were all but over the line only to see yet another unforced error in possession. We then managed to receive two penalties in the last 5 minutes but the decision to take a shot at goal on both occasions was fruitless and whilst we looked likely well after the hooter sounded, a knock on saw the ref call time and alas, a massive opportunity vanished amidst poor execution of basic skills under pressure.
You cannot win a game with 25 turnovers of possession - no secrets about our “work ons” for this week.
Last weekend Easts 2nd grade travelled to North Sydney oval. Looking to continue their momentum picked up after a good victory over Randwick the week before and pick up two wins in a row for the first time this season. Again Easts started very strong with early tries to Archie Hall and Will Patterson, before Charlie Clifton went over 10mins later. Norths then had their first period of sustained pressure with the ball and after a long spell finally broke out defence. In response Will Maddocks hit back with the first of his two tries immediately.
The second half saw a lot of poor discipline from our guys and resulted in us having 3 guys in the sin bin consecutively for the first 30 mins of the second half. Our defence stood strong though to only concede 1 try and score 2 more of our own through Maddocks and Patterson again. The game finished 38-12. We left happy with the result but not so happy with our performance overall.
As my mate turned to me at fulltime, he said, “nothing has changed at North Sydney Oval”.
Both avid North Sydney Bears fans, we had seen our side snatch defeat from the jaws of victory on numerous occasions.
Watching thirds on Saturday, took us both down memory lane. Vintage Bears, I had to concede.
A game that we never looked like losing but did.
We started well and it wasn’t long before we led 7-0, as good pressure was converted into points when Tom Mahoney went over for the try.
We dominated the majority of the first half, although a string of penalties against us gave Norths the ability to get off the back foot and test our resistance. We withstood their advances with a minimum of effort and looked clearly the dominant team.
The second half looked as it was going to plan and a penalty goal from Rory Mcgahan took the score to 10-0. Two converted tries to Norths in five minutes gave them a 14-10 lead with about 10 minutes to go.
That seems to shake the side back into action and we played some good football and with two minutes to go Will Rayner ran onto a Henry Hart pass to cross the line only to be held up, resulting in a five metre scrum with our Feed.
The scrum had been dominant in the second half and most people at the ground thought that a push over try was a formality. Alas, we spread the ball along the backline where a spilt ball resulted in North’s picking it up and running the length of the field to score, resulting in a 21-10 victory to North’s.
Disappointing result, but at times we played some really good football. The forwards outplayed their opponents and continue to improve.
It was great to see Gabe Passmore back on the field and we look forward to the opportunity to get on the right side of the ledger against Gordon this Sunday.
Still in search of our first win, we went to North Sydney with confidence we could cause an ‘upset’
We began the game very well, and our attitude in the early battles was excellent, and it wasn’t long before we registered our first points.
From a scrum inside our own half, a well executed backline play resulted in Harry Tooth finding himself in open space.
He was able to link with Jordan Bracewell who was then able to draw the cover defence to a good supporting Luke Brown who crashed over next to the posts. The try was converted by Jake Tierney and we led 7-0.
In the 16th minute with Norths on the counter attack, Andrew Crone was able to strip the ball and pop it to Harry Tooth.
With good hands he was able to move the ball onto Jordan Bracewell who scooted away for another Beasts try. The kick went wide. The score now 12-0
Play went back and forth for the remainder of the half, however Norths were camped on our line for the final 5 minutes.
Our defence was fantastic though and we were able to snuff out every play and go to the break leading 12-0.
We certainly didn’t need half-time !!
We began to go back to our old habits and starting falling off tackles, slowly inviting Norths back into the game.
5 minutes in and an early penalty goal and it was 12-3.
5 minutes later some poor defence and Norths scored next to the posts, converting. Now 12-10
5 minutes later and some more errors & poor defence. Norths scored again but missed the conversion. We were now down 15-10
Norths certainly had momentum and 5 minutes later were in again next to the posts, converting and now leading 22-12.
With 10 minutes to go though we certainly didn’t give in.
Via some great counter attacking by Diego Garcia, he was able to link with Harry Tooth who beat a last gasp defender to be able to score under the posts. The kick was good. 22-19
The last few minutes we were able to put Norths under some pressure but unfortunately we couldn’t score again and the game finished 22-19 to Norths.
In what was our best performance of the year, we still have a lot to work on.
We are certainly improving each week and our first win is just around the corner
We are definitely able to mix it with any team in this competition