RUGBY LEAGUE – FROM THE TIGERS DEN
The Reserve Grade match between the ladder leaders the Tigers and the Bulldogs produced the classic that it promised but was clouded by an injury to the Tigers player Jesse Glass in the last tackle of the match, at this point in time, the early prognosis is a chipped bone in the back, no mobility issues, six to eight weeks recovery.
The Tag League opened proceedings, the last time these teams met it was an 18/18 draw, it was obvious early on that Barraba had been working on moves in attack and this preparation caused damage to the Tigerettes defence.
The Bulldogs received the ball early, attacked the line early, dropped the ball but were able to regain possession in a good position on the field, a converted try resulted, Manilla kicked off, defended well forcing a kick , Manilla attacked the Bulldogs line but the kick went dead in goal, Barraba took advantage of the 7 sets and scored another converted try, the Dogs leading 12/0.
Manilla kicked off and Barraba brought the ball back down their left edge 60 metres, the defence then held forcing a kick which forced a line drop out, Barraba brought the ball back and scored wide on the right, the kick however was good, Barraba lead 18/0.
Manilla tyhen had a good period in defence and attack, Kim Flett bringing the ball back well, the Tigerettes were pressing the attack when an intercept against the run of play result in another Barraba try, another conversion 24/0. Barraba in the last few moments on the first half showed their passing skills with a concerted attacking effort which saw numerous passes resulted in an unconverted try, half time score 28/0.
Barraba started the second half as they finished the first, having confidence in their passing game and attacking the Tigerettes from all angles, Manilla defended well but Barraba were finally rewarded with a converted try. Manilla received a penalty, a good inside pass to Kim Flett resulted in a try under the posts, this was converted by Joan O’Leary, 34/6 to Barraba. The Tigerettes in the later stages of the second half held their own for long periods, Joan O’Leary and Kim Flett putting the Dogs under pressure, Barraba Bulldogs however finished their day with another two tries, final score 44/6.
Kim Flett picking up 1 point in the B & F.
The Reserve Grade match, players and supporters were waiting for this rematch, the first round played in wintery conditions and resulting in an 18/18 draw, both teams have recorded have wins since then with the for and against being similar.
Manilla kicked off, Barraba received and had a solid set just hitting the ball up and getting to their kick, the forwards through Beau Harry, Jim Leeson and Anthony Wicks took the ball forward in their customary manner. Manilla got to their kick, Barraba knocked on, good runs from Dylan Walker, Lincoln Brown and Harry pushed the Barraba defence to the limit.
Barraba received a tackle for a high shot, an excellent short kick from Barraba saw their full back score near the posts, the conversion however was missed. The Manilla kick off hit the posts bouncing back into the field of play, the Manilla defence was solid forcing a kick to Abel Carney, Leeson and Wicks led the hit ups. Mitch Doring then putting in a short kick which trapped the Dogs in goal, Jesse Glass and Dylan Walker gave the Tigers good field position, Doring and Adam Ruttley combined in a passing movement but Brown received the ball just when the tackler arrived resulting in a knock on. Good low tackles from Harry and Brown were able bring the Dogs big men down hard, Doring made a good run but was hit high, Manilla penalty, a Doring pass to Ruttley saw him held up, then Doring put in a short kick for himself resulting in a converted try, Manilla lead 6/4.
Barraba received two penalties in a row for raking the ball but were unable to pierce the Tigers defensive line, Manilla then received a penalty for a high tackle, the next run introduced big Ben Taber into the game, and what a game he had, bringing the ball back with vigor, bending the line constantly, Ben’s first run brought the defenders in creating space wide allowing Karnan Knox to score wide, the wind blew the ball away from the posts, Manilla lead 10/4.
The kick off was caught well by Corey Hall, the swirling wind not helping, and Hall then sent Taber on another run, Doring attempted a kick into the in goal but the wind just caried it dead. Barraba then working through their forwards took the ball down field but the kick also went dead. Taber took the hit up from the tap, had to be getting paid for the number of runs, this run was supported by his fellow forwards. Doring put up a monster torpedo spiraling kick, no chance of being caught this kick, well no one told the five eight, caught it like he was shelling peas, Barraba took advantage of this fine work by taking the ball back downfield and then kicking on the 5th. Of course Taber brought the ball back,a good run from Doring forced Barraba to concede and off side penalty, the forwards with solid runs through the middle again brought the defence in, Doring responded with an excellent pass to the ever present Karnan Knox who scored in the corner, a good conversion allowing for the wind saw the half time score, 16/4 Manilla.
The second half saw both sides trying to gain advantage in the middle, neither side wanting to show weakness, Glass, Brad Way and Ruttley making good tackles, Barraba received an offside penalty on the 5m line. Tim Coombes started his run from the 20 metre line hitting the line at full pace, the defence met and stopped him but when he dropped it was on the line, try to Barraba which was converted, Manilla lead 16/10. Barraba immediately put pressure on themselves by dropping the ball, Manilla took advantage through Way who scored an unconverted try, Manilla 20/10.
The match from this point turned into an arm wrestle, good runs by both sets of forwards, penalties conceded by both sides trying to gain an advantage, Manillas almost scored again but the pass to Karnan Knox was ruled forward.
Both teams were missing key players and would feel confident of matching each other when they play next, and they will, but neither would be certain of winning, as stated Jesse Glass was injured in the last play of the match, both teams and all supporters wish Jesse the best and hope for a speedy recovery.