THE Bombala Bluetongues kicked off their season on Saturday, with a home game clash with last year’s premiers, the Batemans Bay Boars.
A chilly day greeted both teams and the Bluetongues started the game with an abundance of forwards and very few backs, however the boys were quick to fill in the gaps and took to the field running uphill into the wind.
A strong Bay team, with the wind at their backs, played territory, and aimed to pin the Bluetongues down in their 22.
Some strong defence from the Bluetongues kept the Boars at bay for a time, however some infringements at the breakdown allowed the opposition to pile on the pressure.
Eventually the Bay were able to cross out wide through their backs and convert, bringing the score to 7-0.
From this the Bluetongues took an early blow losing pivotal number 8, Sio Papalii through a calf injury.
Bombala from the restart showed some real promise, with strong runs from the front rowers, Vin Papalii, Joel Cherry and Haywood Fraser, saw the home team reach the Boars red zone.
Continued pressure and penalties to the Bluetongues gave fill-in half back Ross Page a quick tap where he caught the opposition offside and was able to slink over for a try.
Unconverted, the score was 7-5 to the Bay.
Batemans Bay had the better run over the next 10 minutes and were able to build phases through some strong forward runs, giving their quick backline some room to move.
A couple of well rehearsed backline moves saw two quick tries, both of which were converted, putting the score 21-7 to the visitors .
Continued strong defence from the home team forwards meant the Bay had to rely on their backs, however stand-in full back John Guthrie pulled off some textbook tackles to frustrate the Boars, and with the support of his wingers, Parsons brothers Harry and Doug, the Bluetongues were still in the game.
A turnover from the Boars and a break from Raymond Kading playing at inside centre was able to pop a ball over to his outside centre, Leigh Radford, who from 60 metres out showed some great footwork, pace and strength to take the ball through numerous Bay defenders and score under the posts.
The try was converted by Andrew Rutherford, taking the score to 21-12.
With the first half coming to a close the visitors upped the pressure and again through some pace out wide scored in the bottom corner right on the hooter – 26-12.
Second half gave the home side the wind at their backs and the Bluetongues were able to gain some territory.
Big runs from the second rowers Jessie Rey Abinal and Andrew Rutherford, who were supported well by the two new breakaways, Slade Newton and Kincaid Lunn, saw some space open up for the backs.
Playing at fly half, after a year out with injury, Chris Anderson was back to his illusive self and was able to ghost through the Bay defence and score a try which was not converted – 26-17.
The second half was very similar to the first, with some excellent patches from both teams, but with the penalty count rising on both sides and the game was a little stop start.
The Bay team continued to build a platform from the forwards and with pace to burn their backline was able to score out wide again, once through their fullback Corey Maddison and a move that saw a running breakaway Ash Kenny score under the posts Both tries converted – with the score 40-17.
With 15 minutes to go the Bluetongues were able to make some inroads.
The contest of the forwards was a real tussle for the 80 minutes with both coaches impressed with the physicality of both teams at the set pieces and at the breakdown.
With the clock ticking down a little fatigue was hitting both teams.
The Boars were again looking to go wide to make ground, some strong defence from Chris Anderson and his centre of Ray Kading and Leigh Radford forced the Bay to throw the ball around, looking for a mismatch in defence.
The visitors eventually got their backs running at forwards, and with pace to burn were again able to score twice with only five minutes to go. Both unconverted, the score sat at 52-17.
Bombala from the restart held their heads high and produced a turnover.
From here the home team pushed the Bay defence back onto their goal line.
With both Bay flankers slowing the ball down time and time again, the referee was forced to send both to the sin bin.
A quick tap and the ball went wide again Chris Anderson was able to guild through defence and score under the post, try converted on the whistle, final score 52-24.
Points for the game: 3 pts - Chris Anderson (Meadowbank Borders and Texels), 2 pts - Joel Cherry (Linga Longa Cafe) 1 pt - John Guthrie (HJ Brown Constructions), Players Player to Leigh Radford (Jamie’s Bobcats) and Commitment Cup to Doug Parsons (W and W Hampshire Plumbing)
A great team effort from the Bluetongues and an enjoyable game against a good opposition.
Coach Vin Papalii was very impressed with the boys efforts and put out a special mention to our two Bluetongues Debutants in Joel Cherry and Doug Parsons.
• Training again this week boys, Tuesday and Thursday.
• The Bluetongues would like to thank all their sponsors who have come on board this year: The Globe Hotel, CWP Boco Rock Wind Farm, IGA, Bendoc Park Herefords, Linga Longa Cafe, D and M Automotive, Monaro Farming Systems, Dungaree Past Co, Brugalong Livestock, Village Ford, Landmark, Meadowbank Borders & Texels, W and W Hampshire Plumbing, Jamie’s Bobcats, Goats
Graphics, Superannuation Fund Audit Service, HJ Brown Constructions, Fast Cash ATMs, Roger Pearce and Norm Talbot Transport.