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By Club Captain, Tommy Evans
I can’t believe we’re already in August. With one round remaining, it feels like this season has absolutely flown by. With the sun shining brightly at Woollahra Oval on Saturday, mixed with the intensity of the matches, round 17 certainly had a ‘finals’ feel about it.
The last game the Brotherhood lost was against Easts back in round 10, going down in a tight contest, 13-8. We knew that this game would be no different, with our matches against the tri-colours historically decided by 5 points or less.
We raced out of the blocks to get out to a 17-0 lead after about 20 minutes. Nobody knew how this happened, and this unfamiliar situation had the boys spooked. Clearly wigging, we allowed them to get back into the game over the course of the next half an hour. With about 15 minutes to go, there was only 7 points in it as we held onto a 17-10 lead. Spads knocked over a penalty goal to give us some breathing space as Easts launched various attacking raids at us to finish the game. Our defence was awesome though, constantly scrambling to ensure they weren’t going to get a sniff.
We were awarded a scrum on our 22m line just as the final siren went. With nothing to lose, we decided to have a crack at a bonus point try by going coast to coast. Unfortunately, we forgot that we’re not fit enough to do that, and Easts scored off a turnover. Captain Bullant got poked in the eye trying to make the final tackle of the match and is now a pirate. Another Brotherhood death to add to the season tally.
Norths 20 (Tries: #10 Jack Rixon, #15 Alec McSpadden, #4 Henry Mikkelsen; Goals: #15 Alec McSpadden 2), Easts 15
Similar to fours, threes started the game very well, stunning an Easts team that was on an 8 game winning streak. It was a bit of a tit-for-tat affair, with both teams exchanging scores to keep the game close.
At one point in the match, two Easts players were yellow carded at the same time to make it 13 on 15. Out of respect for the sanctity of the contest, Ash Hall told his teammates not to score any points while they had the upper hand on numbers. The moment the two culprits were back on the field, our boys scored a beautiful try to show them that we can score at will, no matter how many players they have on the field.
Unfortunately this strange act came back to bite our third grade team, with Easts scoring the winning try with less than two minutes remaining on the clock. It must be noted that Matt White is managing to play some very good rugby despite only having two studs left in his boots.
Norths 16 (Tries: #14 Bill Freeman, #9 Josh Noonan; Goals: #15 Connor Winchester 2), Easts 22
The second grade fixture was always going to be a tough match. While our twos have a quality side, Easts have had a very good season and a win against us would secure them the minor premiership. It was clear from the get-go that Easts weren’t keen on letting the opportunity slip, moving the ball well and getting over the advantage line with most of their carries.
The boys rallied hard in the second half to spark a comeback, however Easts managed to hold onto a 29-20 win. A notable mention must go to the team’s youngest player, Harry Cudmore, AKA Winx, who relished the opportunity to play on such a quick track. Another player who’s having a stellar season is Joe Dawson, who anchored the scrum and gave us every opportunity to use the set piece as a platform to attack from.
Despite the narrow loss, our lads are locked in the top six and can look forward to catching these kinds of teams off-guard come finals time. BFG, Declan Carroll, opened the doors to his Balmoral castle that evening for a much-needed bonding session for the lads and I have no doubt this will give them a bit of spark coming into the business end of the season.
Norths 20 (Tries: #15 Reece Mau’u, #14 Angelo Leaupepe 2; Goals: #10 Josh Kay 2), Easts 29
It was an absolute pleasure watching ones on the weekend. The last time the two teams played each other was our Ladies Day, which was also the TV match of the round. Unfortunately, we played our worst footy in years and got pantsed by the Beasties on national television. Cameron Shepherd still had some residual anxiety leftover from that day and was hoping his commentary would be a bit more enjoyable this time around.
I knew it was a good omen when the Easts DJ on the hill ripped out City High’s, “What Would You Do?” just as our lads ran out. We looked the better team from the outset, with Will ‘Cone’ Connelly slipping and sliding all over the place on the left wing.
The tries started piling in, with Harry Burey’s 39th-minute meat off the bone all but sealing the win. Irae Simone, fresh off the Tahs’ semi-final in Johannesburg, provided some motivational Super Rugby leadership at halftime. Leading 27-5 at the break, he turned to his teammates and said, “it’s nil-all boys”.
Buzzing after hearing such next-level advice, the foot was heavily put on the throat courtesy of a second-half hat-trick to Richie Woolf. It was an enormous win, made all the more special considering it was done without Lawrance Hunting being involved. On that note- nobody actually knows where he is, so if you’ve seen him, please comment below with his last known whereabouts. Any photos will also be well received.
The club also welcomes back Cam Clark, who scored a lovely little try on his return to the red and black. With Will Miller and Michael Wells also to come back home, we’re in for an exciting finish to the season.
Norths 51 (Tries: #11 Will Connelly, #10 Angus Sinclair, #8 Hugh Sinclair, #12 Harry Burey, #14 Richie Woolf 3, #23 Cam Clark; Goals: #10 Angus Sinclair 5), Easts 5
The colties had a tough day at the office on the weekend, going down in all three grades to give Easts the Sam Carson Cup.
Despite this, notable mentions must go to Ollie Hannell in 2s and Charlie Beatty in 1s who scrapped for everything out on the field.
It wasn’t all doom and gloom though, with Cody Edstein-Boyes winning the meat tray in the raffle. A fantastic achievement for a bloke that’s worked so hard for this. Well done mate.
Our girls were always in for a tough match, as Easts supplemented their 7s team with various players from the XVs side who had a bye. With some of these ladies having represented NSW and the ACT in the Super W comp, the game had a bit of extra hype around it.
Izzi Ha is a superstar in the making, scoring a great try after getting absolutely folded only moments earlier. It was one of those hits that made everyone around the ground wince, easily the biggest shot of the day across all games.
Despite two tries by our other Wolffy flyer, Susie, Easts managed to bring it home to win in a close one. Coach Jack Burey has told me that the girls will be doing a LOT of extra fitness training as per the request of the interested onlooker, Lochie Creagh.
TEAM OF THE WEEK:
1st grade. 50 points on a semi-finalist… at their home ground… on national television.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK:
Gary Bautz, 1st grade. The meme machine told me before the game he was excited and his performance clearly showed an enthusiasm that Big Kev would be proud of.
One more round left! Can you believe it?! This week is also special because two of my good mates and Brotherhood stalwarts, Josh Clifton (AKA Yob) and Dom Longhurst (AKA Bullant) are hitting 100 games for the club. It’s going to be a Super Saturday at home against the Wicks, so I encourage everyone to watch as many games as possible between North Sydney Oval and Bon Andrews, before sharing a few cold ones together at the Union afterward.