Crocs too slippery in wet

THE Sarina Crocodiles proved too tough to handle for Norths Devils in a wet and wild encounter at Jack O’ Brien Oval on Sunday afternoon. Both teams faced less than ideal conditions in a dour affair, but Sarina’s superior ball control saw them to a comfortable 38-22 win.

The conditions played their part in the opening minutes, driving rain and gusty winds made ball control paramount for both clubs. Sarina held the ball far better than the hosts through the opening stages, and they made the Devils pay after having constant possession in the attacking zone.

Sarina played short, simple football in the trying conditions, and it paid dividends when winger Terry Messer scored the opening points of the game out wide on the left for the away team. Dean Hall curled the ball back beautifully with an impressive sideline conversion to give the Crocs a 6-0 lead.

Darcy Clark was the next to score for the Sarina side, a carbon copy of the first try playing left to right across the park saw him over in the right corner. Dean Hall wasn’t as lucky with his conversion the second time, the score 10-0.

The Devils brought the brave home crowd to its feet, a huge, swirling midfield bomb went uncontested by the Crocodiles defence, and Norths pounced on the bouncing ball, only to be held up over the try line.

Undeterred, the home side had another opportunity minutes later. A midfield scrum win yielded the home side its first points of the afternoon, as Tavita latched onto a perfect short ball to scythe through the Sarina defence and score under the posts. Mat Collins converted the try and bought the score back to 10-6.

Some ill-discipline from the visitors cost them the lead of the game as the clock approached halftime. A penalty to the Devils gave them a quick restart, and with a show and go off the tap kick, Jay Sampson scooted through the Sarina defence to score. Mat Collins slotted the conversion to put the home side in front 12 points to 10.

The visitors didn’t lie down though, and with seconds remaining in the first half Tyrone Lockray snatched the lead back for the Sarina team, crossing next to the posts to give his kicker an easy two points, the Crocs taking a 16-12 lead into the sheds.

With conditions worsening it was unclear which team would take the advantage going into the second half. But Sarina answered that question emphatically just minutes in. Fielding a kick deep in their own half, some fancy footwork saw Sarina slice down Norths edge defence, Dean Hall receiving the final pass to score under the posts to end the 90 metre effort. He added the conversion to his own try to make it a 22-12 ballgame.

To make matters worse for the home team, the Crocs repeated the effort from the restarting kick-off! Going down the same right edge defence Sarina found some space, and it was Terry Messer who broke clear and scored the try to go the entire length of the field. The try was duly converted and the lead was stretched to 28-12.

Norths ball control had hampered them for the majority of the game, so it came as a relief for the home team when they had decent possession in the attacking third and were able to post points. Back to back penalties saw them piggybacked down the field, and was only a matter of time before the Sarina defence cracked. Jericho spinning over in the corner from dummy half to give the home team its third try. A good conversion from the sideline saw the gap reduced to 10 points.

Ill-discipline had the hosts in trouble not long after. A sin binning saw the Devils down to 12 men, and Sarina exploited the advantage with a clinical display, second rower Ben Bocholt crashing over for his teams sixth try and a 32-18 lead.

A big stroke of luck had the Devils back on the board, and only 10 points behind, not long after. Despite being a man short they threw the ball around in their attacking zone, and a grubber kick deflected off one of the Sarina defenders for Tevita to dive on in the corner to give him his second try.

A second sin binning for the hosts all but ended any chance of victory with time running out. The Crocs sealing the deal when Ben Bocholt caught the Devils shorthanded out wide to score his brace of tries. Dean Hall converted the try and it was all academic.

The fulltime siren sounded, ending the wet, windy and wild affair. Despite a stirring fightback from Norths Devils, it was the Sarina Crocodiles running out winners 38 points to 22.

Tigers hold off fast finishing Brothers

WALKERSTON Wests Tigers have withstood a whirlwind finish by Brothers to secure a tense 28-24 victory at Leprechaun Park on Saturday night in front of a big crowd. In what threatened to be a blowout early on turned into a grandstand finish by game’s end, as Brothers mounted a spirited comeback against the visiting Walkerston team.  

The Tigers set the tone for the game early on, charging 90 metres down the field and forcing a goal line dropout from the hosts off the opening set of the game. It wasn’t long after that Wests’ early pressure turned into points.

A Brothers mistake gifted Wests easy field position, and winger Luke Mitchell scored for the Tigers in the right corner after the resulting scrum win off the back of some slick passing. Nick Baker converted the try from the sideline to give the visitors a 6-0 lead.

Minutes later Wests were in again, a powerful surge through the heart of the Brothers defensive line saw Andrew Davey brush off several tacklers to score next to the posts. Nick Baker calmly slotted the ball home for a 12-0 lead to the Tigers.

Wests were looking unstoppable as they crossed for their third unanswered try of the night, Callen Scott scoring with a dummy and go off the back of another Brothers mistake in their own half. Nick Baker added the extras and the lead grew to 18-0.

The Tigers threatened to open the floodgates with even more points minutes later, with Brothers deep on the attack Jardine Bobongie stuck out a hand to intercept the ball, and raced 90 metres to score, only for the referee to deny his try after it was ruled he knocked the ball on in attempting to grab the ball.

The home side finally cracked the visitors, as off the resulting scrum Kellan Jenner dived on a grubber kick to the in goal to put the first points on the board for Brothers. Beau Dixon kicked the extra points to close the gap to 12 points.

Brothers doubled their money minutes later, a big break down the sideline was made by winger Ayden Daniel, and his pass back infield deflected off a Wests player and into touch, giving the home team possession just 30 metres out from their try line.

Some calm and composed play saw Brothers end the set with a try, Ewin Bartholomew diving on a grubber kick to the in goal to score, and close the gap to Wests. Beau Dixon kicked the conversion to close the gap to just one converted try.

But it was the visitors with the last say of the first half, Nick Baker scoring in the left corner on the stroke of halftime, before converting his own try to give the Tigers a 24-12 halftime lead.

Brothers came out for the second half with a more committed defensive effort, determined to stop the flow of points coming from Wests Tigers. It worked for a little while, but eventually it was the visitors scoring the first points of the second half. Blake Atherton was on the end of some quick hands from his Wests teammates, and he scored out wide to extend his teams’ lead. Nick Baker missed the conversion, the score 28-12.

The home team rallied as the clock ticked into the final quarter of the game, a pinpoint cross field bomb landing perfectly in the arms of Ayden Daniel who scored in the corner to bring the hosts back into the contest. Beau Dixon landed the pressure conversion from the sideline, and the score was 28-18.

With the crowd on the edge of its seat the home team gave them a reason to celebrate, as Brothers prop forward Mick Dalton charged through ragged Wests defence to score under the posts with minutes remaining. Beau Dixon added the points to close the gap to one try, setting up a grandstand finish in the cool conditions.

With the clock bleeding down to the final few minutes, Brothers threw everything they had at the sturdy Wests defence, but the away team held on. The Tigers’ early assault proving enough in the end to see them home with a wet sail, running out 28-24 winners in a heart-stopping finish.