Defence is something teams put a lot of emphasis on these days and this was the case in the Men’s Intech Open 2 Northside competition last Saturday.
A hard-fought 26-18 win by Valleys Diehards over rivals Aspley Devils will be remembered for its defence in what was a good old fashioned dog fight.
After a torrid opening 10 minutes, Aspley’s Xavier Lui scampered his way over the line to put the visitors on the board in the 11th minute of play.
After a physical opening quarter, it was left to the backs to showcase their skills and Valleys five-eighth Daniel Sandow did just that, with a superb four-pointer beside the sticks.
Minutes later, electrifying Diehards winger Masepah Banu made it 8-6 to the home side after putting on the after-burners to go in untouched in the corner.
Devils’ coach Stu Wilson’s tactical changes injected some extra zip into his side and it would not take long for the visitors to strike back through hooker Jordan Malone, who scurried his way over from dummy-half.
Valleys were really targeting the right edge of the Devils in attack and on three separate occasions, nearly scored identical tries through grubber kicks from halfback Shannon Lewis.
But in what was a fantastic first half of football, both teams were able to catch their breath right on the stroke of half-time with Valleys gifted a penalty on the 30 metre line only to see the ball sail wide of the posts.
The Diehards came out on the front foot after the break and appeared to be rejuvenated after what was an action packed first half.
Sandow showed why he is one of the form players in the competition stepping off his right foot to go in beside the sticks to open the scoring in the second stanza.
However, the Devils just would not go away and with big men in Shaun Lloyd, Latrell Blair and Connor Bramwell paving the way in defence, it was a pleasure to watch.
However, with the opposition having a man dispatched to the bin for dissent, the Diehards made the visitors pay when a swirling bomb from Dennis Sandow was left to bounce but was plucked from the air by fullback Maleek Sandow who placed the ball under the sticks.
Aspley did find some extra petrol in the tank in the latter stages of the game, but it was met with a powerful Diehards defensive pack through Jay Manase, Brendan Coussins and Diehards stalwart Quentin Pepe who was showing his experience.
Manase and Pepe combined for Valleys' last try of the game at the canteen end of the ground when Pepe received a superb pass to cross over out wide in the corner.
But the never-say-die Devils failed to throw in the towel and after a Valleys mistake in their own quarter, Aspley veteran Caleb Boyd scooped up the loose pill in the last seconds of play to race away for a late consolation try.