St Joseph’s spirited second half comeback ensured the Saints shared a dramatic 32-32 draw with Narangba Rangers in a heart-stopping Division 2 match that went down to the wire.
For sheer entertainment value, this game was magnificent. Incredibly, the Saints looked all but gone after trailing 22-10 at halftime, but a terrific revitalisation saw the home side show just how lion-hearted they are in the face of adversity.
Ranger’s halves Harry Redfearn and Brodie Blake were devastating. It was Redfearn who got the visitors on the scoreboard first with an inside pass to send towering prop Agassi Stowers in under the posts.
Unseasonably hot conditions could have been mistaken for a hot summer’s day, but the heat was being turned up on the field as well, as Narangba were running riot in general play. But a silly mistake inside the Rangers quarter saw St Joseph’s centre Mark Cox swoop up the ball and go in to score their first try to see the home side hit back on the scoreboard.
What looked like an unthreatening attacking position aided by some paper thin defence by the Saints, allowed Narangba centre Robert Parsons to evade two defenders to go in and score a dazzling four pointer. With goal kicking by both sides off the radar, the score was 10-4.
Narangba were in again straight from the kick-off, with halfback Blake nearly untouchable in stages, and his beautiful cut-out pass to second rower Brenhen Lui was a pièce de résistance as the rangy forward glided in to score another great Rangers try.
Defensively St Joseph’s were looking tired and this was a telling blow in the next score when centre Parsons sprinted 50m up-field, only to be cut down in a textbook tackle by Saints fullback Preston White. Winger Scott Bradshaw caught the Saints defence napping and dived over from dummy half to see the visitors slowly edging ahead at 18-4.
Another quick try from the restart by Narangba saw the scoreline blow out to 22-4 after some quick hands on the right edge saw the Rangers take advantage of the tiring Saints pack.
A handling error from the kick-off saw the Saints in a fine attacking position and right on the buzzer, towering St Joseph’s prop Daniel Jones crashed his way over under the sticks to see the Rangers leading 22-10 at the break.
A rejuvenated St Joseph’s in the second half was breathtaking to watch. Narangba will probably rue the fact that they dropped their guard in the second stanza to let the Saints back into the game.
After three minutes of play, replacement Saints player Sebastian Filipe crashed over for the home side to get them back into the game at 22-14.
Narangba’s next try was superb and easily the try of the game. Rangers centre Ethan Lumley’s turn of speed down the flanks saw him in-and-away on two occasions and after being collared by the Saints and before being flung into touch, he miraculously kicked ahead for fullback Shaun Spiers who caught the ball midfield and dive over under the posts.
At 28-14, Narangba certainly had stepped up the intensity and another try – this time to Terahi Wihongi – appeared to almost kill off the home side’s chance of a resurgence. Not so.
Fullback White’s superb pass to Nick Corey was the start of a spirited comeback by the Saints. His no-look pass was pin-point and the Saints had a glimmer of hope after the conversion was superbly landed by White to see the score 32-20.
With the phenomenal home support behind them, the Saints seemed to grow in confidence. Cox would score his second after a clever grubber through saw him regather to score in the corner.
White again landing an incredible sideline conversion seeing the Saints inch closer at 32-26.
But supporters were too afraid to leave their seats as the momentum had now swung the way of the home side. Narangba all but certain of victory were left scratching their heads as to how they could stop the Saints juggernaut attack.
In what can be best described as a bowling ball skittling ten pins, it was front rower Daniel Jones who again used his sheer size to smash through the Narangba brick wall to score under the posts.
White made no mistake with the conversion to see the scores level at 32-32.
Three tackles had seen the Saints in good field position and with exactly one second left on the clock, a last ditched field goal attempt by halfback Blake would see the ball sail just under the posts.