THE combined ‘Tasco’ Bluedogs team recorded their initial first grade win for the 2012 season in Bombala last Saturday, taking on Tathra.
The First Grade match started in a very even manner with both teams playing good football.
Tathra dominated field position in the opening stages and it was only through some good scrambling defence that the Bluedogs were able to keep them from scoring.
Against the run of play, Clay Stewart made a 30 metre bust down the centre of the field. He found Joe Matthews in support and a well timed pass and Joe’s blistering pace had the Bluedogs scoring in the corner.
Not to be outdone, Tathra replied with a well worked try shortly after.
From this point the Bluedogs controlled the remainder of the first half. A typical try to Clay Clear, converted by Jackson, had the home team leading 10 points to 4.
Paul Perkins side stepped his way over for another try and with Jackson’s conversion the Bluedogs went in to the half time break leading 16 to 4.
Teenager, Corey Schafer came into the game from the interchange bench and displayed why he was chosen in the southern division U18 side, scoring a great individual try which he also converted to take the lead to 22 points to 4.
With this lead in hand, the Bluedogs appeared to relax and allowed Tathra back into the contest. Tries for the visitors had the scoreline back to 22 to 14 and gave them a sniff of victory.
Mick Sullivan for the Bluedogs showed he has lost none of his pace and guile, scoring a great try. Schafer converted and the Bluedogs had a match winning lead.
Another teenager, Shepherdson for Tathra, scored the last try but the result was beyond doubt by then, Bluedogs winning 28 points to 18.
A solid win for the Bluedogs against a Sea Eagles side that was without some of their more experienced first graders, and are sure to improve.
Clay Stewart was the stand out player for the Bluedogs and rightfully took out the players player award. The whole team played well this week, all contributing to the win.
The Bluedogs may have won, but were no match for the Tathra boys in the boat race after the game. Hayward Fraser showing his Bombala heritage, leading the boat race.
In Reserve Grade, there was a huge improvement over their previous game, with full interchange bench much appreciated by the players.
Dane Cottrell, the try scoring machine, opened proceedings for the Bluedogs, converted by Tom Taylor, to lead 6 nil. Tathra levelled the scoring midway through the first half. A further try to Tathra just before the break saw them go to the sheds 10 to 6 up.
The Bluedogs were right in the contest at this stage and for a team having just their second run together, they were playing well.
The second half didn’t go to play for the Bluedogs.
They held fast for much of the half, but the floodgates opened in the last 15 minutes allowing Tathra to score five unanswered tries for a 40 points to 6 final scoreline, which didn’t really reflect the game.
For the Bluedogs, Todd Deenen played well in his first game for the season, Matt Clift and Jim Mikula showed why the first grade coaching staff have them in mind for future use.
Rhys Noble, Leigh Radford and Blake Morrisey were strong, up front and are improving as they gain match fitness. Dane Cottrell and Jim Coates were leading from the front before both were injured and replaced.
All players should remain confident that with this improvement, a win is just around the
The Hotondo Homes Under 18s confirmed they are determined to defend their premiers title again this year. After losing to the Tathra/Cobargo team in the pre-season final, the young Bluedogs were keen to reverse the result at home in Bombala.
Running with the aid of a strong wind during the first half, the Bluedogs dominated position and possession, the two most important ingredients in any Rugby League game. Tathra/Cobargo were rarely allowed out of their own half of the field.
Corey Schafer converted all four of their tries in very tricky conditions to give the Bluedogs a 24 nil, halftime lead.
They held the visitors scoreless, and put in three more tries, giving a final scoreline of 36 points to nil in the Bluedogs favour.
Bombala’s Jackson Standen had his first hit out for the Bluedogs and he, along with Justin Hehir, were the best players in the forward pack.
In the Ladies League Tag, the Hot Doggies continued their astounding rate of improvement taking on the Tathra/Cob side.
The Hot Doggies scored two tries in the match, interestingly both scored by the Bombala connection of Tash Stewart and Jess Morgan. Tash commented that she can beat Clay over 50 metres, something that shouldn’t be doubted after seeing her effort.
This coming weekend the Bluedogs take on Narooma at Narooma on Sunday. There will be First Grade, starting at 2.30pm and a Ladies League Tag game beforehand. Narooma do not have Reserve Grade.
The Bluedogs will be tested for depth again with Clay Stewart unavailable and Keiran Carman leaving the club for employment reasons.
The Under 18s take on Tathra/Cobargo again this week in an extra game scheduled by Group 16 to extend the U18 competition. This game is most likely to be played at Tathra on Saturday.