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By Club Captain, Tommy Evans
After a relatively disjointed period of byes and rain, we’re finally on the home stretch to the finals! Coming into round 15, we knew as a club that we have four quality opponents waiting for us and it all started with a hungry Southern Districts group.
The Brotherhood has been an ever-changing beast this season, as we haven’t seen the same starting XV take the field in consecutive weeks once all year. In fact, I would be fairly confident in saying that there has been a different team for every round played this year. The only consistent piece of the puzzle is the evergreen Ash Hall, who made a spectacular cover tackle in the opening minutes of the match against Souths. I’ve never seen him stride out with such vigour and determination… it was truly a beautiful sight.
The game was a bit of a topsy-turvy affair, with both teams exchanging scores. The Rebels were better than their 4th grade sides of yesteryear which probably caught us off guard a bit. Jayden Stokes and Alec McSpadden connected well to keep their backs guessing, and in the end, we came home with the win.
On a personal note, it was nice to finally get back on the field again after some annoying injuries this season. My first contribution to the team was a clean drop from the kick-off. Coming off the back of a two-week bender in Europe, I was seeing about four different balls spinning around in the air though. God, it’s good to be back!
Norths 32 (Tries: #11 Hugh Adams, #18 Henry Mikkelsen, #2 Josh Clifton, #10 Jayden Stokes; Goals: #13 Alec McSpadden 5), Souths 26
Threes had a red-hot backline this week and boy didn’t they click. Every time the piggies pulled their heads out of the scrum they were delighted to see Nic Clancy or Joe Williams flying through the opposition backline. In fact, the game was played at such a fast pace that Hamish Sinclair literally “couldn’t be stuffed” to take the easiest pilfer in the world towards the end of the game because he was so buggered.
Ash Hall felt he had more minutes in him so he begged coaches Brendan Crowe and Graham Stokes to get him on for a spell towards the end. In the final act of the game, one of the Souths guys spilt the pill just as Ash was about to tackle him. The bloke still regathered the ball (always play the whistle!) and instead of palming poor Ash, he punched him square in the solar plexus as the ref called full-time. Ash fell straight to the ground and writhed around in pain. Captain James Wivell told him to “stay down” despite the fact that the game was over and they had won by over 30 points. With no actual penalty there to be milked, Ash still remained on the ground until 2nd grade ran on.
Norths 48 (Tries: #11 Dom Naylor 2, #12 Nic Clancy, #15 Connor Winchester, #14 Dan Hiep, #9 Mitch Magrath 3; Goals: #10 Josh Smith 4), Souths 14
Twos came out of the blocks firing, giving Souths no time to even catch their breath from the run out of the tunnel. Similar to threes, the second grade backline is very dominant, with plenty of players with 1st-grade experience running around out there.
BFG Declan Carroll is having a stellar season, with the big second rower enjoying plenty of minutes out on the park. Despite his rambunctious enthusiasm, the air is a bit thin up there and he can be seen regularly strolling around the field at a leisurely pace. Many of his teammates give him stick for this, none more so than flyhalf Josh Kay. Unfortunately, big Deccas will need another week to learn his lesson though, as his actions were unfairly justified on the weekend. As the forwards set up a rolling maul 5m out from the Souths try line, the move wasn’t defended at all and Declan literally walked over the chalk to score.
Norths 65 (Tries: #16 Duarte Diniz, #12 Jordy Heyer 2, #13 Nathan Russell, #9 Josh Noonan, #8 Matthew Marley, #22 Bill Freeman, #5 Declan Carroll, #3 Dylan Santone, #21 Mitch Magrath, Penalty Try; Goals: #10 Josh Kay 4), Souths 26
After hearing about Henry Mikkelsen absolutely cleaning up in the try scoring ranks, Richie Woolf pulled his finger out and decided that he needed to get back out on the field. It would take something special to get back in the mix for the club’s top try-scorer trophy, and after a pre-game smoke ceremony conducted by Will Connolly, he was ready to go.
Not only was the team happy to have his try-scoring abilities back, but his positive on-field chat was welcomed with open arms as well. Some of his memorable motivational quotes:
“OH COME ON, BAUTZY!”
“DUFFY MATE, DO YOU NEED ME TO SHOW YOU HOW TO FEED A SCRUM?”
Lovely words from a lovely bloke.
With the game in the balance, there was a fair bit of tension around the ground. Souths had fronted up and were desperate to come away with the chocolates… In a masterstroke move from coach Shannon Fraser, he unleashed Joe Dawson for one of the most influential spells ever seen at North Sydney Oval. Joe was everywhere, whacking blokes, throwing cut out passes and lifting morale with his trademark noise and infectious energy. The boys lifted from this and took the win after another classic encounter with the Rebels.
Norths 21 (Tries: #14 Richie Woolf 3; Goals: #10 Angus Sinclair 2), Souths 18
The colties had a mixed bag down at Forshaw park. Threes put up a hell of a fight, only to be pipped 12-5. Twos had a superb win, rinsing the pricks 36-12 with a brace of tries to winger Jack Churchwell. Ones went down 36-10, however watching Jamo Coombs you wouldn’t have known it. The big fella always plays with the heart of a lion and this week was no different, as he threw his body into anything that moved.
TEAM OF THE WEEK:
2nd grade. Absolutely rinsed Souths.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK:
Mitch Magrath, 3rd grade. Four pies for the day as well as a delicious slice of cheddar cheese.
Ash Hall got a few mentions this week. Why? Because they were funny. Also, because tomorrow is going to be a very special day for him. Again, why? Because he’s about to play his 200th grade game for the club!
On top of this, we have another milestone to celebrate this weekend. James Knight is playing is 150th game as well! Knighty is a very understated bloke and hates being in the spotlight, but he’s a bloody hard-working prop who has given a lot to this club over the years.
For the younger guys at the club, you only get a cap for the game you start in on a Saturday. So, if you play 3rd grade and get on in 2nd grade, you still only get one cap. That means that as of today, Ash and Knighty have fronted up to 199 and 149 Saturdays respectively to wear the red and black. It is seriously a hell of an achievement and I encourage everyone to get out to Concord tomorrow to shake their hands, give them a hug… hell, even give ‘em both a kiss when you see them.
Three weeks until finals. Let’s fly home with a wet sail fellas.