U15s Panthers growl at gala day

Grenfell under 15’s in the thick of it against Young in a recent Gala Day at Grenfell where Grenfell emerged as dominant winners for both their games on the day, the other being against Griffith.Well what a great day for rugby when we got to Wyalong Sunday July 22, sunny, cloudless and plenty of numbers.
Nanjing Night Net

To have 17 kids there ready to run on was fantastic and three kids unable to attend we should have some good numbers running into the finals series.

We fronted up against Cootamundra in the first game and despite the lowly position on the table of the Coota side we could not take it easy.

We loaned one player to Coota so we had 15 a side and the Coota team jumped from the box early and had us on the back foot.

It took us nearly ten minutes to settle down and start to control the ball and up until then we looked a shambles.

We did learn however that if we remain focused that we can overcome these slow starts.

By halftime we had crossed the line twice but failed to convert either shot so we led 10-0.

Coach was not overly happy and the boys responded by piling on 4 tries in the second half. Unfortunately our goal kicking was astray and we failed to add any further points.

Coota did manage to cross beside the posts nearing the end of the game and converted to have the Panthers run out 30 – 7 winners.

Unfortunately the scribe missed the final try scorers but Hayden and Troy got tries as well as Charlie bagging a double. It’s nice to see Charlie getting back to the form that saw him represent the Brumbies a couple of years ago and his incisive running led to Troy’s try with a nice run and good offload for Troy to find the corner.

Game two saw us take on the Griffith side who at last start, we beat 34-0 although with 21 players there and some incentive to beat us this was going to be no easy game.

We needed to beat Griffith to consolidate a position in the top 2 and Griffith had to beat us for the same position on the ladder.

The game started well for us with the boys controlling the ball and sending runners with support to clean out at the breakdown.

We managed to keep this control for the first 5 minutes until Hayden crashed over from the back of the ruck.

We missed the conversion but had the lead 5-0.

Despite the kids best efforts they were having trouble getting a couple of the Griffith runners on the ground and not long after the restart they were behind the posts wondering what had happened. Griffith converted to lead 7-5.

This did not deter the boys and they came back up field through good runs from Luke, Cameron and Lachie.

Troy and Brock were defending very well in close to the ruck and Ryan, Braydon and Sam were knocking them over out wider and we soon saw that we could get these big blokes on the ground and take advantage of it.

Soon after Fin picked up from the back of the ruck and darted down the blindside.

To his amazement, and the supporters, there was not a Griffith player anywhere and he outpaced the cover and ran around to score under the posts.

Once again the conversion went to the left and we led only 10-7 closing in on half time.

Griffith took one last chance to score just prior to half time and nailed it as we didn’t put the ball runner on the ground again and the scored to take the lead 12-10 at halftime.

An animated discussion at halftime from Gav about defence and ball security seemed to have the boys fired up to start the second half.

Griffith had three or four players doing all the damage and they had to be stopped was the simple message for the boys if they wanted to win this close encounter.

Once again the game started and there was some physical exchanges taking place with our bigger blokes leading the way.

Will was yelling at them to get low and where to run and this seemed to pay off as they made ground into Griffiths half.

It took about five minutes for Charlie, who had been on the sidelines with a headache, to want to get involved in the match and he did not disappoint.

A quick reshuffle of the backline and from a ruck the ball went through the hands where Charlie found some space and with a weave and some acceleration he was on his way for another try.

Same story as before as we missed the goal but we held a slender 15-12 lead.

As seemed to happen in the first half whenever they kicked off to us we felt it necessary to try to score from the kick-off and run one out with no help.

Griffith took full advantage of this and easily turned the ball over and with their inside centre continually making ground it wasn’t long until they had crossed again.

Conversion successful and Griffith had the lead back 19-15.

The panthers then fell into a trap of giving away silly penalties for holding the ball, not rolling away and the unthinkable, back-chatting.

We were marched ten metres for the experience and we cannot continue to let teams off the hook with easy metres, especially the good teams.

We were lucky enough that throughout this five minute frenzy of penalties we did not have a player yellow carded.

This most certainly has to stop in the finals as the badged referees will not tolerate any of this behaviour.

Luckily in this same period Griffith did not score thanks to some great defensive work across the ground.

Tom and Sam were at the bottom of most rucks and doing a great job.

From a quick turn over the ball was promoted up the field with some good runs from the forwards and then Hayden broke through and sprinted downfield to score under the posts.

This gave us a 20-19 lead and as Will Hartwig lined up the conversion it was fingers crossed we could kick one for the day.

Well the ball nearly missed and as it hit the post it travelled through for a successful conversion 22-19 was the score.

For the last two minutes our guys were able to keep Griffith out although I’m sure the coaches were worried a couple of times when the Griffith team looked like busting through.

In the end a hard fought, close victory was ours to celebrate and enjoy.

This then put us ahead of Griffith on the table and gave us some breathing space.

In the end Coota actually beat Griffith in their game to give us an eight point gap from Griffith on the table and nearly assuring us of second place for the regular season.

It was good to have a game that was close and hard so the boys know that they can do it.

All we need is to find the accuracy with our goal kickers to allow the coaches to breathe during the games.

Thanks to Gav, Pete and Terry and especially to all the parents for their continued support of rugby with the club and bringing their boys along.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.