The Cyril Connell and Mal Meninga Crows played the Capras in trials on the weekend and it was revealed that there is some work to be done in their development, especially in the Under 16s, if they are to match it with other teams in the competition.
Areas of improvement are required in marker defence, where both teams were often on the back foot from quick scoots by the opposing dummy half. Loose carries and not catching kicks on the full resulted in a number of turnovers and penalties for holding the player down were too prevalent. It was also very noticeable in the Under 16 that the smaller men have to develop a tackling technique to cope with the bigger and stronger opposition they will be coming up against.
The Cyril Connell Cup match began well with both teams having equal possession until the Capras found the hole outside and in the seventh minute they went ahead 6-0. They maintained pressure for the remainder of the half though their possession and piled on a further three tries, one from a chip and regather and the other two from lack of numbers on the outskirts to go the break at 22-0. Best for the Crows were Laikyn Jung, Jack Kennedy and Derome Mafi who put in some rib-rattlers amongst the forwards and Brennan Demsey was solid in the backs.
The second half began as the first ended when a dropped ball gave possession to the Capras who picked up and dived over for a 28-0 scoreline. Both teams struggled for some time to go forward until the Crows took the ball downfield through a good run by Andrew Nader and the ball was then lost in a tackle. The Crows received a scrum feed and after a few rucks threw the ball wide to the winger, Matthew Muller, who dived over in the corner and the score was 4-28.
The Capras applied pressure through dummy half runs and poor marker defence of the Crows until they were held up over the line by Kailum Freeman. Another Capras attacking raid was stopped by Dempsey who dislodged the ball and the Crows enjoyed possession but could not find the line. A missed tackle and the Capras raced 30 metres to score and bring up the full time score of 32-4. Good performances came from Jack Gauld, Josh Zweedyk Jacob O’Shea, Jackson Paulson and Cassius Paitai with awarded the Metro Motel Man of the Match.
In the Mal Meninga Cup game, the Crows were quickly into full flight with Lachlan Reid finishing off some solid work to cross, converted by Hayden Herbert and they jumped to a 6-0 lead. Poor defence on the edge of the ruck and at dummy half allowed the Capras to cross for two quick and go to the break 12-6 in front. Players who showed enthusiasm were Tyson Whaleboat, Jesse and Ben Marschke, Daniel Kirk and Kyle Spry.
The second half began with numbers in the tackles which proved detrimental as the Capras took advantage through a quick play the ball and holes left in the ruck to put on two more tries and go to a lead of 20-6. A change half way through this half saw the team suddenly go forward and with more direction and pace and a cut out pass from Jesse Marchke hit Nick Ferry who cut inside his man and crashed over, unconverted, to bring the score to 10-20. They were going well until a beautiful chip overhead was taken by the Capras fullback who jogged over for the final try and final scoreline of 24-10. Good performances in this half came from Jarrod Crook, Joe Curran, Jakob Leitch and Caleb Van Lawick. Coach Darren Burns no doubt got a good look at some combinations and will be working hard on ball security and around the ruck defence at the next training session.
The teams will travel to Mackay on Friday, February 28 for their first game against the Mackay Cutters on the Saturday and it is hoped that the nine or so hour bus trip does not drain them too much after having to come in to the coastal towns from their outback areas.
Click here for the teams named for the first game: