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James Stokes, 22, stood on the sideline bleeding from twin abrasions on his knees. Nearby, a red haired freckle tattooed No 8 walked gingerly off the field, his arm buried to the elbow in a bag of ice. The cuts, bruises, and scrapes were exhibited with grins by the Premiership winning Fourth Grade side in the shadows of the northern grandstand at Concord Oval.
This Saturday morning started off as any other, the sun rising to east, uni students stumbling out of the Court House in Darlinghurst and a Norths 4th Grade team ready to win another game of rugby and take home a Premiership! Under an overcast morning sky, the faithful Norths supporting cast gathered in a hodgepodge of Red and Black jerseys spanning five decades waiting for the sound of the referee’s whistle to kickoff the Henderson Shield Grand Final 2012.
The game went precisely according to legendary Coach Crowe and Fitzgerald’s finely engineered game plan with the team exhibiting the traits which had seen them beat every team in the competition at least once during the season with rugged defence, precise set piece execution and an attacking flair displaying the mechanics of a well-oiled machine mixing age, beauty and experience to take command of the toughest contest of the year.
James Nakkan, the spiritual leader of the team, stood 6 inches taller than the next tallest if it wasn’t an inch, “all right, boys, it’s the last 10 minutes of your lives, get out there and win this thing” he yelled as he herded the group back onto the field after a brief break in play. His nimble dash, out sprinting his opponent to the corner, capped off a fluid series of passes up the right sideline and led to the game’s first try and his 100th career try for Norths to boot (^most all time Norths), with brother Patrick scoring the second and game clinching try in the second half in a 20 – 0 victory for the men in Red and Black.
“There’s no sport like rugby” Ash Hall said. “There’s room for big fat kids like me, there’s room for tall skinny guys like Coas who can’t catch the ball. It’s a tough game and then you go off and have a drink together.”
On Saturday 24th June at NSO against the Manly Marlins, the team we managed to subdue in the Grand Final 5 years ago, we will be holding a reunion celebrating that great victory and call for all players, coaches, managers and supporters who were a part of that great team and Brotherhood to come together and perhaps assist in filling some of the holes of the narration above or perhaps build on I am sure. Gates open and reunion commences at what other time than 10.45am for Fourth Grade!
Look forward to seeing you all there!