THE Bombala Bluetongues may not have made it through to the South Coast Grand Final this time around, but a solid win last weekend means our local Rugby Union side has earned its place in the Plate Grand Final instead.
They’ll battle it out for the Plate against Milton in Bateman’s Bay this coming Saturday, and we hope that plenty of locals will make the journey to support their team. We wish the Bluetongues well!
Following is the match report for last weekend’s game against Narooma, which saw the Blues go through to the Plate Grand Final-
THE Bluetongues travelled to Broulee on the weekend to take on the Narooma Whales to win a place to play in the Plate Grand Final on Saturday, August 17.
The Bluetongues were short of a few of their normal starting team but still travelled to Broulee with a substitute, which on a hot coast day was going to be vital.
Narooma also missing a few had managed to drag in a few players from away to help with their numbers.
Bombala won the toss and elected have the sun at their backs for the first half. It was crucial to get a good start and restrict the Narooma backline from getting too much space as they had some real pace to burn out wide.
The first opening minutes were all Bombala's. A strong run off the kick off from Andrew Rutherford put the Bluetongues right on the front foot, and some easy meters through a scrabbling Narooma forward pack meant Bombala were in the opponent’s red zone.
From this platform the Bluetongues were able to place some real pressure on Narooma whose defense was holding strong. A loose carry from the Bombala team gave Narooma a chance to put in a clearing kick and move the play back to the half way line.
From the lineout, Bombala's halfback Ross Page had a call from Sio Papalii for an inside ball which opened the defense and saw Sio break several tackles and run 50 meters and score under the post. Try converted by John Maslin playing at 5/8, Bombala led 7-0.
The Bluetongues were on the hunt for further points, and this led to some forced passes and the play was getting a little rushed, this leading to unforced errors and take the pressure off Narooma.
However the Bombala defense didn't look like it was going to break and some big hits from Vin Papalii and Andrew Rutherford had the Narooma boys looking.
With the play getting a little scrappy, a penalty to Bombala on the 35 meter line saw captain Vinnie Papalii look to his kicker to take the shot for three points. A nice kick from John Maslin gave the Bluetongues a 10-0 lead.
The Bluetongues made the most of the ball, with the forwards setting the ball up to unleash the backs, with Rhys Crouch and Hugh Stephen both finding space through the centre of the Narooma back line.
From here Narooma were penalised 15 out from their line, quick tap from Ross Page to Vin Papalii saw our captain crash over through some tired and hot defenders. Try converted again by John Maslin 17-0 to Bombala.
As the first half was coming to a close, Bombala had a tired Narooma side on the back foot, and again a solid platform from the forwards, runs from Jessierey Abinal, Kincaid Lunn and Terry Tighe gave the backs room to move.
A ball out to the backs saw space for John Maslin who put in a great individual effort, breaking the line and beating defenders to race up the field and score under the posts. Converting his own try, Bombala were leading 24-0.
The gates were starting to open, a lineout win to Bombala, saw a couple of forwards crash the ball in field, which opened up the blindside, a ball out to the birthday boy Andrew Boreham gave him space in behind the defense. With a great kick in behind from AB, and a chase to the try line, the ball just wouldn't land in his hands and AB as unlucky to get a try.
Half time came and a swap of ends meant Bombala were running into the sun. The start to this half was very different, Bombala were a little sloppy and trying to move the ball too fast and too often, gifting Narooma with some easy territory and letting them move back into the game.
Narooma were keen to send it wide and make use of their pace there. They were able to hit back shortly, and backline move where their 5/8 who was having a great game for Narooma, put the ball onto the chest of a flying winger and he was over the line to open the Narooma scoring, conversion successful 24-7.
The Whales continued to press the Bluetongues, some strong runs from their big centre and talented number 8 were creating some serious work for the Bluetongues’ defense.
Some great on line defense from Rhys Crouch saw him deny the Narooma lock as he went over the line, meant Narooma didn't ground the ball.
Bombala settled down after Narooma onslaught and were able to get back into their rhythm, again building the phases through the forwards and giving the backs some room out wide.
Another solid run from Rhys Crouch, which was then backed up by another run from John Maslin got the Bluetongues to within 10 meters of the try line.
Quick ball meant Ross Page was able to pass to a steaming Andrew Rutherford who in turn drew the defense and put Jessierey Abinal through a gap to score his first try for the Bluetongues under the post. Try converted, Bombala led 31-7.
The game was coming to an end, and both teams were feeling the heat. A strong run from the Narooma centre gifted the Whales their second try, which was converted and put the score at 31-14.
From the kick off, Narooma were forced to kick down field, and Bombala were able to hold the ball for a few minutes to wind the clock down and see the ball over the side line to finish the game.
The win to Bombala sees them head to the Plate Grand Final this Saturday, where they take on Milton at Batemans Bay.
The boys hope you can join them at Batemans Bay, kick off at 1pm on Saturday, August 17, and to all the boys Coach Vinnie Papalii wants to see you all at training on Wednesday night, 6.30pm start.
Thanks to all our sponsors, whom without their support our season would not happen - Globe Hotel, Dongwha Timbers, Delegate Hotel, Linga Longa Cafe, Letompe Partnership, MCH Welding, Landmark Operations, Bombala Bakery, Lowanna Properties, Delegate Station, Meadowbank Texels & Borders, Village Ford, Dungaree Past Co, Jamie's Bobcats, IGA Bombala, D & M Automotive and Brugalong Livestock.