(Only two Bond University Rugby Club Round 17 matches – Colts 2 and Third Grade – were played on Saturday due to the Qld Government’s 4pm lockdown. The remaining four matches will hopefully be played one night this week. Details will be posted on social media.)
By Pat McLeod
So often the support act, Bond University’s Colts 2 team this weekend beat lockdown and ladder leaders Brothers to not only take the club spotlight, but to also signpost the rest of the Bull Sharks towards the finals.
As coach Mick Barnao’s young side fought through a tension-packed second half, those lucky enough to be absorbing the battle at The Canal on Saturday were also learning that lockdown was to descend on south-east Queensland from 4pm.
That news flash not only meant four scheduled matches – Firsts, Seconds, Premier Women and Colts 1 – would all be postponed, but Colts 2, the opening game, were now playing the semi-main event, with just Third Grade to follow. Colts 2 unknowingly accepted that challenge.
They refused to allow Brothers any quarter in the second stanza. In fact, the half time score, 12-all, remained until hero prop, Titan Beer, crashed over with only two minutes to go. Josh Radcliffe converted to give the final outcome 19-12.
That win kept Bond Colts 2 in fourth place, just one point ahead of Wests, who also won on Saturday.
“That was another really hard-fought win and what we are admiring about the boys at the moment is that they are staying in the fight right to the end. It showed that they have it in them to do that,” said coach Barnao.
“In the first half we stuck to our structure and that worked really well. Our defence also was good. We slackened off early in the second half, but we were able to turn that around because of the belief that they have built up over the last 4-5 games.
“There was no panic. There was positive chat even when we were under threat.
“Before the game we asked the players for intensity and attitude. And that is what they gave.
“The belief in themselves has been consolidated after knocking off the top three teams going into the finals. Brothers came into that game as ladder leaders and had only lost one game.
“From here it is Souths next week. That will be a chance to fine tune before the finals.
“Our best against Brothers were Ryven Ewing, who again led by example. Nathaniel Thomson-Smith had a very solid game. Harry Ghusn, Josiah Norton and Nik Mitchell were again right in every battle. In the backs, centre Alex Miles was very consistent with his carries. And Ty Dowling had an outstanding game, attacking the ball, which is what we wanted him to do.
“Coming off the bench, Erestine Erepia had an impact straight away. Alex Gilliland was also very solid.”
Third Grade coach Jai Johnson admitted the lockdown order, which came as his team was warming up, played a part in their 34-21 loss to Brothers.
“I really think our mindset changed when we were informed of the lockdown in the warm-up before the game,” he said. “I rightly or wrongly let the boys know during warm-up. I own that.
“I wanted to let them know before it came over the loud-speaker.”
The Thirds came back from a 22-7 halftime deficit, to, at one stage be trailing by just two points, but Brothers, then finished the stronger.
“The boys played with energy and we came into this game with even more injuries,” said Johnson. “Brothers have a very good set piece. To try to take that away from them was very difficult.
“The effort was there and we tried very hard. Noah Scallen (9) was excellent. There was some really good enterprising play.
“Although we can’t make the finals we did not treat this as a dead rubber. We saw it as our chance to beat another of the top teams.
“Others who were very good against Brothers included Cameron Del Moro (6), Guy Walton (centre), Lachie Vine, who came on for the first time this season and really showed some enterprise, as did second rower Jack Butler.
“Against Souths next Saturday we just want to work together and end the season on a high.
“That game will be pretty personal for me because I played over 200 games for Souths. It is a hard place to go to and win, but we will put our best team out there with the intention of doing just that.
“We will get the boys up for the game … our last of the season. They are one of the top teams. If we can cause an upset and prove that, maybe without the shocking injury run the club has had this season, that we were meant to be in the finals.
“We will certainly be having a crack.”