Randwick v Manly
The Randwick rugby club has eight days to regroup for an elimination semi-final rematch on Sunday 19 September at TG Milner after going down to Manly 39-7 at Coogee Oval today.
The Randwick 1st grade rugby team were hit on Saturday morning by three late withdrawals by Super 14 franchise players including captain Fairbanks and two influential forwards in Mowen and Kepu. The physical presence of Lam was also missed.
The Galloping Greens were completely outclassed in the forwards but in particular the scrum by the Marlins side, but would have taken heart that Manly struggled to score from anything but set play. With the return of Chisholm, Mowen, Lam, Kepu and hooker Fonokalafi next Sunday's game will be a different match.
Manly were out of the blocks quickly in just the third minute when flanker-cum-centre Michael Hooper crossed after two periods of advantage from referee Stuart Dickinson.
Manly continued to dominate possession and good continuity through the phases resulted in great field position. A Manly error close to the Randwick line wasn't the end of their next foray however, with a dominant scrum crushing the home side's pack for Chris Cottee to dive on the scrappy ball for the visitors' second try.
Mark Swanepoel added a penalty to take Manly to a 15-0 lead, however Randwick were able to edge back through a try to Junior Maninoa in the 18th minute.
The home side started to creep back into the game before a turnover in good field position eventually saw Swanepoel kick his second penalty in the 30th minute for an 18-7 lead.
The Marlins then hammered the first nail into the coffin three minutes before full-time when Eddie Aholelei was given the green light by the television match official to leave the half-time score at 25-7.
The second half was not the prettiest of the season and Manly's lead was never threatened. The Marlins dominance in the scrum was again rewarded in the 58th minute with a penalty try, while Cottee notched a double when he won a race for the ball six minutes before the final whistle.
The result ensures Randwick and Manly will lock horns again next Sunday in a sudden death Elimination Semi-Final at T.G. Millner Field on Sunday 19 September at 3.00pm. Randwick will field a completely different team to the one that struggled in the weekend.
The Randwick rugby supporters will travel to T.G. Milner which promises to be a completely different encounter!
Below is a photo of Junior Maninoa on the charge against Manly - Junior was our only try scorer of the match.
By Craig Morrison
Randwick 2nd Grade finished the final round of the season with a complete 85-5 demolition of a very depleted Manly side scoring fourteen tries and in the process, securing the minor premiership. Warringah were on equal competition points on Saturday morning and 37 points clear on for and against points but played semi final contenders West Harbour and whilst good enough to win with a bonus point, the Rats could not amass a big margin and therefore, the Wicks jumped into 1st place for only the second time all season.
Coaches Craig Morrison and Danny Grant were urging players to keep going with ten minutes remaining, knowing that every point counted in the race for the minor premiership. With less than two minutes left, and playing his first match in 2nd grade, hooker Sam Taiseni, who was cramping severely, chased an 80 metre break out run from our backs and managed to clean out and secure possession two metres from the Manly line. This allowed Paul Hanniffy to cross the line for his third try of the day. This typified the spirit and commitment of the effort and speaks volumes about the character of the team shown this season.
Unlike the week before against Gordon, we managed to convert a lot of the opportunities we created and did not give Manly any hope that they might be able to compete in the contest. This was a pleasing change and demonstrates the kind of ruthlessness we need in finals football.
After the slowest of starts of all the senior grades including three loses in Round 1, Second Grade worked into the season and gradually built a game based on go forward, support play and defence. With only one loss to West Harbour in Round 2, and sound victories against all other semi final teams, the players and management should feel confident that destiny is in our hands if we are mentally strong enough to take it.
Scoring points does not appear to be a problem for this side and whilst we have had a lot of changes to personnel throughout the season, the skill and the will to get the ball over the line has always been there. Defence however is often referred to as the thing that wins premierships, and this is an area that we will have to improve on significantly if we are to take advantage of the opportunity we have created.
With a number of very poor defensive lapses on Saturday against a team way down on the ladder, there is a lot of work to be done and with a week off, that is one area we will be concentrating on. Still, if we can defend the other 95m the way we defended the last 5m against Manly, then we are on the right track... that is a mental challenge for us!
First Grade Colts
By Benny Rutherford
1st Colts fought back from a 20-14 deficit at half-time to record an incredible 33-30 win over Easts at Concord Oval in the first week of the semi-finals. After finishing the regular season in sixth spot, the men in green faced an Easts side who had comprehensively beaten them twice during the year and had finished third. However a willingness to roll the sleeves up and physically take it to the boys from Woollahra proved the difference.
Centres Marc Koteckzy and Oli Huggett were brutal in defence and completely dominated their opposite numbers with ball in hand. While the forwards secured two tight heads in the closing stages and provided clean ball at line-out time to set the platform for our dangerous backline attack. The willingness to have a crack from everywhere whilst under pressure and behind on the score board proved the difference. This was a win all associated with can be extremely proud of!
Next up we play Sydney Uni for a spot in the grand final. It'd be great to see as many supporters as possible at Forshaw Park this Saturday at 3pm. Up the Wicks!!!