THE Bombala Bluetongues’ season is back on track following a big win on the weekend.
It was a home game for the Bluetongues, who took on the ladder leading Batemans Bay Boars.
A great crowd turned out for the match, as well as a strong turn up from the Bluetongues players.
Bombala responded by recording a 40-17 victory.
The win sees the Bluetongues move into second position on the South Coast table.
With a full team, Bombala was keen to put last week’s loss to Milton behind them.
Batemans Bay won the toss and elected to run up hill for the first half.
Both teams started strongly and were keen to spread the ball about the paddock, which allowed for some free-flowing rugby.
The visitors were keen to assert some dominance and wanted to play the game in Bombala’s half.
With a few exchanges of the ball in the first 10 minutes, Bombala was on the attack, putting phases together and getting into the Bay’s 22.
After a kick-through from Bombala, the Bay five-eighth was quick to react and put a chip kick for himself, which he then kicked on up the field and re-gathered to score next to the posts.
The try was converted and the Bay Boars took an early lead 7-0.
From the restart, Bombala put the try behind it and was right back into the Boars red zone.
From there, the forwards built the platform that saw space for the backs.
Hard-running centre Rhys Crouch was too hard to stop and went over the line.
The try was converted by Ben Mooney and tied the scores at 7-7.
The first half continued as it started, with both teams still wanting to run the ball.
Some errors from both teams meant it was difficult for either to build any real momentum.
A penalty for too many Bombala players in the lineout gave Batemans Bay a chance to kick for goal, the conversion giving the side a 10-7 lead.
This is how the score-line remained at half time.
Bombala coach Vinnie Papalii addressed the team during the break, saying “our defence is cool and calm, but we need to slow the ball down when we have it in attack - no need to rush it”.
The words must have sunk in and Bombala came out strong in the second half.
Some fresh legs came off the bench, including debutant Dillon Walker, who proved hard to stop with some strong runs up front.
Sio Papalii again had a strong game, leading the forward pack by example.
The strong work from the forwards put Bombala into the visitors’ 22.
From there, Mooney was able to hit the defensive line and carry defenders over the try-line.
Mooney converted his own try and Bombala led 14-10.
This started a massive 25 minutes of football from the Bluetongues.
They controlled the ball well and were making good ground on attack.
Halfback Digby Walcott steered the forwards around the field and provided good service to the backs.
Bombala was soon right on the Boars try-line.
Some strong runs from returning players Andrew Rutherford and Chris Thornton got the Bluetongues within metres of the line.
Quick recycling of the ball put the Batemans Bay defence at sixes and sevens, which saw an easy chance for a Bombala breakaway.
Ross Page picked the ball from the base of the ruck and darted over for a try under the posts.
It was converted by Mooney, allowing Bombala to take a 21-10 lead,
The Bluetongues didn’t let up and through some great defence, the Boars were finding it hard to get into the game.
A turnover put the ball back into Bombala’s hands and a backline move saw winger John Maslin get into the Bay’s red zone.
A knock-on from one of the Boars saw a scrum to Bombala only a few metres from the try-line.
The scrum feed to Bombala saw a big push from the Bay forward pack, with the scrum nearly going through the 90 degrees.
An alert Ross Page snapped the ball up, went untouched and basically unnoticed around the scrum to score near the posts.
Mooney converted the try and Bombala led 28-10.
Bombala was looking for the final blow with 15 minutes to go and made a nice backline move, with all backs getting their hands on the ball to get it to replacement rookie winger Adam Perkins.
Perkins was able to crash over two defenders to score in the corner, the first of what should be many tries for Bombala.
The try was not converted and the Bluetongues led 33-10.
The Boars were not going to drop their heads and with 10 minutes to go they were frustrating the Bluetongues.
Bombala’s composure was rattled.
The visitors’ forwards sensed they had a window and soon were making huge yards down the field, putting the home side on the back foot.
Repeat phases eventually led to a try to the Boars, after the forwards combined and drove over to score.
The try was converted and the Bay pulled the deficit back scores to 28-17.
Bombala conceded a penalty from the restart through some backchat to the referee, which saw Batemans Bay go back on attack.
However, a quick turnover gave Bombala the ball back, and with only minutes to go, Mooney got the call from Maslin to put the kick through.
The kick was spot on and Maslin was able to gather the ball up and score.
Mooney converted, bringing the final margin to 40-17.
The club thanked all supporters who came out to watch and acknowledged the Boars for making the trip up and playing a good, hard, fun game of rugby.
Points for the game were as follows:
Three points to flanker Ross Page for a strong game round the paddock.
Two points to scrum half Digby Walcott who had another big game, great in defence and providing good ball to the team.
One point shared between Chris Thornton and Dillon Walker.
Playing off the bench, Thornton stepped back in the hooker position, providing strong runs and defending hard.
Debutant Walker, who also came off the bench, carried the ball strongly and was hard hitting in defence.
Player’s player went to Page.
Commitment cup to Adam Perkins, who came onto the wing, defended really well and scored his first try.
This Saturday sees the Bluetongues travel to Batemans Bay to take on the Bay boys again, then travel to Milton on Sunday to play a washed out game.